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Environmentally supportive businesses take 2018 Leading Light honours
Hokitika-based sphagnum moss distributor Coastpak Besgrow has taken the Supreme Award at the 2018 Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, held at Shantytown on 26 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 top 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 have managed to thrive by adopting leading manufacturing management processes, developing value-add products, and embracing scientific approaches to sustainably manage their resources.
“Awarding Coastpak the DWC Supreme Award was a fitting end to what is always a great night.”
The Leading Light 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 and or government agencies to run a successful business,” Mr Caunter said.
“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.”
West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat are eco-tourism operators based 4kms south of Hokitika by the beautiful Mahinapua Waterways. They offer cruises and freedom kayaking along the original routes used by pioneers, gold diggers and early explorers – allowing guests to cruise, stay and play in a paradise setting rich in history.
Mr Mackenzie also commended the winners of all the categories, saying the calibre of entrants was getting increasingly better each time the Leading Light Business Excellence Awards is held.
“There was such a diversity in finalists - from desktop CNC manufacturers, innovative tourism operators to hemp cookie manufacturers. Here on the Coast we have a wealth of innovative businesses we can be really proud of. For a region with just over 30,000 people we constantly punch above our weight.
“The beauty of the Leading Light Awards is being able to share with the wider community, and the country, exactly what a diverse range of businesses we have contributing to the region’s success. That diversity is something DWC works hard to support.”
Winners of all categories are as follows:
Duncan Cotterill Large Enterprise Award: Martin and Co Mitre 10
Crombie Lockwood Medium Enterprise Award: Coastpak Besgrow
NZME Small Enterprise Award: AgFest West Coast
Westland Mil Products Not for Profit Award: Tourism West Coast
Christchurch Airport Tourism and Hospitality Award: West Coast Wildlife Centre
ACC Workplace Safety Award: MBD Contracting
Department of Conservation Environment Award: New World Hokitika
Greymouth Star Rising Star Award: West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat
Development West Coast Supreme Award: Coastpak Besgrow