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HOKITIKA-BASED SPHAGNUM moss dis­trib­u­tor Coast­pak Bes­grow won the Supreme Award at the 2018 Devel­op­ment West Coast Lead­ing Light Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Awards, held at Shan­ty­town in Oc­to­ber. The 30-year-old fam­ily-owned com­pany also took out top honours for medium-sized busi­nesses, win­ning the Crom­bie Lock­wood prize.

Coast­pak was com­mended for its sus­tain­able prac­tice of man­ag­ing, har­vest­ing and pro­cess­ing sphagnum moss from West Coast swamp­land, be­fore sell­ing its prod­uct to cus­tomers across New Zealand and around the world.

The sphagnum moss is pri­mar­ily used for orchid grow­ing but is also used in floristry, and many other in­dus­tries where water re­ten­tion and hu­mid­ity are im­por­tant. DWC chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Macken­zie says the hon­our was well de­served. “At the peak of the sphagnum moss in­dus­try there were close to 40 ex­porters in the re­gion. Most of them are no longer op­er­at­ing, yet Coast­pak is not only sur­viv­ing but go­ing from strength to strength. They’ve man­aged to thrive by adopt­ing lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing man­age­ment pro­cesses, de­vel­op­ing value-add prod­ucts, and em­brac­ing sci­en­tific ap­proaches to sus­tain­ably man­age their re­sources.”

Chief judge Stephen Caunter de­scribed Coast­pak Bes­grow as a stand­out, along with the win­ner of the Grey­mouth Star Ris­ing Star Award: West Coast Scenic Wa­ter­ways Re­treat.

“Both busi­nesses are us­ing re­sources from the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. They demon­strated the es­sen­tial need to work with land own­ers an/or govern­ment agen­cies to run a suc­cess­ful busi­ness.

“They also took se­ri­ously the need to pro­tect what they are us­ing, so have be­come guardians of the en­vi­ron­ment in the world in which they op­er­ate.”

Macken­zie was im­pressed by the cal­i­bre and di­ver­sity of the fi­nal­ists. “For a re­gion with just over 30,000 peo­ple we con­stantly punch above our weight.”

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