Wednesday, 17th November, 2021

Ignite Wānaka Business Awards finalists announced

Finalists for the Ignite Wānaka Business Awards have been announced, with judges impressed by resilience and innovation despite the challenges of Covid-19.

More than 60 businesses from around Wānaka entered the biennial awards, sponsored by Milford Asset Management.

Finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Outstanding in infrastructure/trades (supported by Findex): Batchelar McDougall, Dunlop Builders, Mega Mitre10, R&R Plumbing, Uppercut Firewood 

Outstanding in professional services: Batchelar McDougall, The Film Crew, Ocula

Outstanding in tourism (supported by Lake Wānaka Tourism): Hook, Lavender Farm, Wild Wire  

Outstanding in retail (supported by Logic 1): Lavender Farm, Mega Mitre10, Ocula  

Outstanding in hospitality (supported by Drive Accounting): Lavender Farm, Pembroke Patisserie, Red Star Burgers 

Outstanding in innovation (supported by Aspiring Law):, R&R Plumbing, The Film Crew 

Outstanding in sustainability (supported by Queenstown Airport): Manage My House, Ripe, Wild Wire  

Outstanding young enterprise (supported by Air New Zealand): The Next Chapter, The Napery, Village Gift 

Outstanding not-for-profit (supported by Queenstown Lakes District Council): WAI Wanaka, Community Networks/LINK Upper Clutha, WAO 

Resilience and Diversification Award (supported by Todd & Walker Law): Pembroke Patisserie, The Film Crew, Wild Wire

Outstanding employer (supported by EASI NZ): Breen Construction, Manage My House, Ocula 

Outstanding individual (sponsored by Cardrona Alpine Resort): Anna Van Riel, Waste Free Wanaka; Bridget Legnavsky, RealNZ; Mandy Bell, Wai Wanaka

People’s Choice finalists (supported by the Wanaka App): Dunlop Builders, Lavender Farm, Mega Mitre10, The Next Chapter, Ocula, Pembroke Patisserie, R&R Plumbing, The Film Crew, Village Gift

Winners, including the Supreme Business Award (supported by Milford Asset Management), will be announced at a gala dinner at a secret location on April 30, 2021. The function – normally held in November – has been postponed due to Covid alert level restrictions.

Convenor of judges Wayne Hudson says: “It was great to see so many businesses entered despite the impact of Covid and the various lockdowns we have had to endure. The quality of entries was excellent. Judges were impressed by so many businesses’ ability to adapt with Covid.”

Tickets to the awards gala dinner are on sale via the Ignite Wānaka website here. Priced from $135 per person, tickets include a drink on arrival, wine at the table and a three-course meal. 

The Ignite Wanaka Business Awards are also sponsored by Raspberry Creek, Rippon Wines, Entertainment Solutions, Wanaka Marquee & Party Hire, The Messenger, Scope Media, Radio Wanaka, The Film Crew and Wanaka App.


About the independent judging panel

Wayne Hudson, Convenor

Wayne Hudson has spent the past 40 years working as a technology lawyer, advising clients on commercialising intellectual property, buying and selling tech businesses, capital-raising and structuring start-ups. He now operates through his company WHIPIT Ltd, assisting technology start-ups prepare for growth, investment and sale. Wayne is also a trustee of Startup Queenstown Lakes, and Alpine Community Development Trust, a committee member of Mt Barker Residents Association, as well as being a mentor for several small business owners in Wānaka through the Flying Kiwi advice clinics.

Ann Lockhart

With 22 years’ experience in senior management roles across both the public and private sectors, Ann Lockhart has played a significant role in growing New Zealand businesses. Previously CEO for the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and CEO for Great South, Southland’s newly-established regional development agency, Ann has most recently been the acting CEO for Destination Queenstown. She was previously a member of the board for Destination Queenstown, a trustee of the Wakatipu Community Trust and former board member of the Otago Conservation Board. Ann is a disputes resolution mediator and resides in Wānaka.

Charlie James

After 20 years as an accountant focusing on business sale/purchase and litigation support, Charlie became a self-employed consultant focusing on strategy and in particular its execution (which increasingly morphed into life and business mentoring) for 10 years. Charlie then became an Angel Investor, initially joining Ice Angels, then in 2013 co-founded Flying Kiwi Angels (FKA), a NZ-based international angel investment group focused on Kiwi Startups) where until recently he chaired the Board. As part of angel investing and mentoring, Charlie has served on a variety of boards. For the five years since moving to Wānaka he has run FKA’s “Angelic Drop-In” Sessions (free business mentoring) in Wānaka and Queenstown with the support of other mentors and Startup Queenstown Lakes. He mentors several small businesses in the district.

Meg Taylor

Meg Taylor has had a varied career in small business ranging from retail and tourism to farming. She headed up marketing for Kathmandu at its inception in Australia (her husband John Pawson co-founded Kathmandu). Returning to New Zealand, Meg and John built a successful luxury lodge, Riverrun, near Wānaka. In 2010 Meg co-founded a tourism marketing group promoting activities, accommodation and destinations to inbound and offshore agents. Since selling the lodge in 2016 she has run a small merino sheep farm, focusing on fine wool p


For more information, please contact:

Ignite Wanaka Business Awards Convenor of Judges Wayne Hudson
P: 021 688 192