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Awards flow in for New Zealand businesses in August and September 2009.

Nationwide reports - 07/10/09

Emails to NZine in August and September have brought news of many awards to New Zealand businesses. The staff who work on NZine congratulate the people involved in these successful enterprises and want to share the news with readers.

August was the month for news of Wanaka's successes.
Nicole Fairweather sent the following news.

Wanaka Operators Voted Number One in Independent Traveller Awards
Three Wanaka tourism operators have been voted best in New Zealand by independent travellers through the national review website,

Deep Canyon, Skydive Lake Wanaka and Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World are all winners in the website's Traveller Voted Awards 2009. Deep Canyon won the canyoning category, Skydive Lake Wanaka beat off strong competition as the country's favourite skydive operator and Puzzling World was voted the number one theme and leisure park.

Results were taken from all reviews posted to between June 2008 and May this year. In its citation, the website states, "A Traveller Voted Award is quite different to any other. Over 5,000 votes were cast by the most important critic of all - the independent traveller. These businesses have shown they look after their customers by going the extra mile. It's about people looking after people."

For further information visit

Wanaka Operators Achieve Green Tourism Benchmark
Twelve Wanaka tour operators have achieved Tourism New Zealand's Qualmark Green rating for environmentally responsible tourism, including four attaining the highest possible Enviro-Gold ranking.

Accommodation providers Cardrona Terrace Estate, Edgewater Resort Hotel, Maple Lodge and Minaret Lodge gained the top standard within twelve months of the programme's launch. All four are already highly rated under the existing Qualmark quality accreditation programme, setting them apart as among the best in New Zealand.

Operators gaining the Enviro-Silver award are Skydive Lake Wanaka, Treble Cone, Wanaka River Journeys, Wanaka Springs and Wanaka YHA while Classic Flights Ltd, Te Wanaka Lodge and Tiri Tiri Lodge are awarded the bronze rating.

Qualmark recognition also reflects the Otago resort town's efforts in building an environmentally responsible tourism infrastructure. In particular, local organisation Sustainable Wanaka has led the country in a number of sustainable tourism initiatives.

For further information, visit and

Private Retreat attains tourism's exceptional mark of quality
Luxury accommodation provider Release Private Retreat has achieved a high-scoring five star Holiday Home rating after just one year of operation, confirming its position as a leading accommodation provider in Lake Wanaka.

Co founder Nick Frame is delighted with the award and said it reflects the high-level of luxury and first-class service provided for guests at the retreat. "Release is about unique and memorable experiences. We can tailor the ultimate holiday, whether it's making the most of our amazing adventure activities heliskiing, backcountry motorcycle touring or fly fishing, to enjoying a gourmet dinner prepared by a private chef.," he said.

Nestled in native bush with commanding views across Lake Wanaka to the mountains of Mount Aspiring National Park, Release Private Retreat is an architecturally-designed luxury retreat with a strong commitment to eco-friendly tourism practices.

For further information, visit or view online video at

The lounge with stunning view beyond
The lounge with stunning view beyond
Credit: Fredrik Larsson
Click here to view a larger version

Also in August Janna Hamilton reported on an Oxfam success.

Oxfam Trailwalker wins top NZ event awards
Oxfam New Zealand's annual fundraiser Oxfam Trailwalker scooped the accolades at the Event Industry Awards last night, winning Best Environmentally Sustainable Event and Best Partnership awards for the Taupo-based 100km team challenge.

Oxfam Trailwalker attracted 1500 participants in April 5-6 this year, with more than 3000 support crew involved in the event where teams of four walk or run a 100km off-road trail in under 36 hours to raise money for Oxfam's work.

The judges hailed Oxfam Trailwalker as an event that 'walks the talk' when it comes to environmental sustainability and clearly demonstrates the keys to successful partnerships.

Some of the measures that contributed to the Environmental Sustainability award included: sticking to the basics of 'reduce, reuse, recycle,' developing internal 'green events guidelines', developing systems to tangibly measure energy and water consumption, waste water and landfill volumes; and importantly communicating this to the participants.

For more information visit

Also in August from Southern PR came the news of awards to Blanket Bay lodge at Glenorchy.

Blanket Bay wins the title of "New Zealand's Best Regional Property" at the coveted HM Awards 2009.
Blanket Bay's reputation as New Zealand's ultimate alpine escape and finest luxury lodge continues to be upheld with its win on 14 August 2009 at the hotel industry's prestigious HM Awards.

Spanning Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands the HM Awards are this region's only independent benchmark for excellence in hospitality management, voted on by a panel of judges consisting of leading travel writers, hoteliers and travel industry professionals.

Blanket Bay is consistently featured amongst the world's best. Along with last Friday night's HM Award win, Blanket Bay was one of only two resorts in New Zealand to earn a place on the prestigious Forbes Traveler list of the top 400 accommodation properties worldwide for 2008. The highly respected Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report names Blanket Bay amongst the Top 20 International Hideaways, whilst the property was also recently named Co nde Nast Traveller's Gold List Winner for Best Cuisine.

Blanket Bay chef wins prestigious award

Blanket Bay chef Daniel Reynolds was awarded the prestigious NZ Commis Chef of the Year in Auckland recently, his third culinary success this year.

Chef Reynolds began his campaign for Commis Chef of the Year when he won the South Island Commis Chef of the Year Award earlier this year. He also picked up an award in the Southern Lights competition.

To achieve the title NZ Commis Chef of the Year, Daniel had to compete in a four-part event and achieve a minimum standard of silver medal in every class.

Chef Reynolds was awarded gold medal and second place in the Hot Main Course Presented Cold class, gold medal and first place in the Static Cold Dessert class, silver medal and second place in the Live Akaroa Salmon Main Course, and silver medal and second place in the Live Main Course and Dessert class.

8 September 2009

Blanket Bay named as among the world's greatest hotels

Readers of one of the world's most influential travel magazines have named Glenorchy's Blanket Bay lodge as the best leisure hotel in Australasia and the South Pacific. The luxury lodge also achieved 10th spot in the list of highest scores, irrespective of category, in the Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards 2009. Among the world's great hotels, only two scored marginally higher than Blanket Bay, India's Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, Italy.

Blanket Bay from the north
Blanket Bay from the north
Photo source: Southern PR
Click here to view a larger version

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said winning an award of this calibre was a coup for Blanket Bay, and for New Zealand.

"Overall, New Zealand came second in the 'Favourite Country' category, Air New Zealand came second in the 'Best Long-haul Leisure Airline' category and Blanket Bay took top ranking as 'Best Overseas Leisure Hotel' in Australasia. That's a pretty good result for a small country on the opposite side of the world from those voting," Mr Hickton said.

At the end of August Brenda Saunders reported a Bayers Innovators Award to Rod Walker of Simcro.

Rod Walker, Simcro executive director, was awarded the 2009 Bayer Innovators Award for design and engineering at a ceremony in Auckland in August.

Hamilton-based Simcro is a design manufacturing company that specialises in providing customised animal health delivery solutions to the pharmaceutical industry.

Mr Walker won the award for his work in developing a revolutionary new sheep drench delivery system. Mr Walker challenged the design of the traditional pistol-grip style drench gun, which had not changed from its basic form in 30 years.

The inherent design flaw of the pistol-grip gun is that the drench nozzle points away from the operator, requiring them to rotate their hand through 180 degrees to administer the drench into the sheep's mouth.

The resulting incompatible bio-mechanics create significant operator fatigue and discomfort, and with sustained use, injury to the wrist, forearm and back.

The OptilineTM drench gun overcomes these problems by having the drench nozzle protruding from the base of the operator's hand, allowing for a natural presentation of the drench gun with precise control, thus greatly minimising stress to the operator and animal.

In September Jocelyn Ritchie reported an award to Novotel Hotel Brand.

Novotel Hotels is the first hotel brand in New Zealand to gain the highly coveted Green Globe certification.
Established by the World Tourism and Travel Council in 1992, Green Globe is the premier international environmental certification programme for sustainable management and operations in travel and tourism.

According to the Green Globe certification process, Novotel Hotels were assessed according to eight performance criteria that will guarantee recycling and better waste management, reduction of greenhouse gases emissions, less pollution and energy and water consumption control.

Also in September John Ellegard reported an award to the Jeep Woodhill 4WD Adventure Park.

Jeep 4x4 Park A Big Hit With Visitors
Just one year after opening to the public, the Jeep Woodhill 4WD Adventure Park is proving to be a big hit with visitors and has just been voted the top off-road venue in the Auckland region.

A survey carried out by the Auckland Regional Council saw the Jeep park gaining significantly more support and recognition than any other local recreational 4x4 venue.

The off-road venue was created in mid-2008 with support from Jeep, the world's foremost four-wheel-drive brand, to cater for the thousands of 4x4 owners who live within easy reach of Woodhill, half-an-hour to the west of Auckland. There are more than 100 kilometres of 4x4 trails over 2250 acres through the forest, ranging from easy driving to tough tests on the sand-based terrain.

As well as attracting individual owners, the park also caters for groups and clubs and is the official venue for the Jeep 101 training courses run through Jeep dealers, where Jeep owners are instructed on the safe and enjoyable way to enjoy the legendary off-road capability of their vehicles.

Word of the Jeep Woodhill 4WD Adventure Park has even spread beyond New Zealand shores, with tourists from the UK seeking out information on the website and making bookings as part of their holiday experiences in this country.

Enquiries have also come from cruise ships calling at Auckland and wanting some fun activities for passengers.

The venue is a working forest that is planted on sand and is designated as an official recreational area.

Visitors can find out more by calling 0800 40 60 10.

Two further September successes were reported by Southern PR.

Mondillo red wins more gold

The 2008 Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir produced by Bendigo-based Mondillo Vineyards has been awarded a gold medal in New Zealand's largest international wine competition.

This latest award tops off a year-on-year medley of accolades honouring Mondillo since the establishment of the 12-hectare vineyard in Bendigo in 2001.

The New Zealand International Wine show judged more than 2,000 wines, with only 19 Pinot Noir receiving the coveted gold award, under the guidance of Bob Campbell, New Zealand's leading wine educator.

As an accredited member and one of Central Otago's founding members of SWNZ Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Mondillo ensures every step is taken to employ environmentally responsible processes in the vineyard and winery.

Every Pinot Noir grown by Mondillo has picked up awards and recognition.

Queenstown helicopter company awarded safety honours
Queenstown's locally owned and operated Over The Top Helicopter Company has been recognised for its gold standard safety records.

Over the Top picked up four awards at the recent Aviation Industry Association Conference which also signalled the official launch of the New Zealand Helicopter Association (NZHA).

The conference recognised those companies that provided superior safety performance within the industry with a Gold Award for consistent safety records. The Gold Award recognises 15 years of continuous service without accident to self, passengers or crew and is awarded to companies as well as individual pilots.

Over The Top helicopters' continuous safety performance record is 20 years plus. The latest round of awards reflects Over The Top's commitment to safety and reinforces the company's award history. Over The Top has received safety award honours from the Helicopter Association International (HAI) annually since 1999.

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