Friday, 18th October, 2019

Last call to enter Wanaka’s business awards

Local businesses are being reminded to enter Wanaka’s business awards as the highly anticipated biennial event draws nearer.

Tickets to the Ignite Wanaka Business Awards in partnership with Milford Asset Management go on sale on Monday, October 21 – the same day as entries close (entries close at 5pm).
Convenor of judges Wayne Hudson urges businesses thinking about entering to be brave and put their best foot forward.
“The awards help form a valuable ecosystem in a town and by entering you’re helping create that network of support. Looking at your business and being honest about the past two years is what makes a good entry. Taking the time is the hardest part about entering, but it is really worth the effort if for no other reason than you get to look at your business more objectively. And ask yourself this – if you win and take the stage at the gala dinner on awards night, will it be worth it? It will be.”
Hudson also encourages locals to openly encourage peers and other businesses to enter. “Sometimes people just need a little confidence boost to say “go-on enter, you’re doing great things”.
The popular People’s Choice category, supported by the Wanaka App, has had a re-vamp for this year. As part of the judging process, the independent panel of judges will shortlist the businesses they feel contribute the most to the Upper Clutha community. The finalists will then be profiled in the Wanaka App and all members in the community can vote for their favourite, with the winner being announced in front of a packed venue at the Gala Dinner on Friday, November 29.
The 2019 awards also have three new category sponsors - Outstanding in Innovation is supported by Aspiring Law, Outstanding in Trades & Infrastructure is supported Findex Wanaka and Outstanding in Retail & Hospitality is supported by Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Other categories are: Outstanding in Professional Service supported by Westpac, Outstanding in Tourism supported by Lake Wanaka Tourism, Outstanding in Sustainability supported by Queenstown and Wanaka Airports, the new Young Enterprise category supported by Air New Zealand, Outstanding Individual supported by Ray White, Outstanding in Innovation, People's Choice supported by the Wanaka App and the Supreme Business Award supported by Milford Asset Management
Tickets to the Awards Gala Dinner – to be held at a secret location – go on sale on Monday, October 21 at 9am. Tickets cost $135 per person or $1,350 (+GST) for a table of 10. Tickets include a drink and canapes on arrival, three-course meal and two bottles of Rippon wine on the table.
Entry forms can be downloaded from the Ignite Wanaka website and completed entries are to be emailed to
What you need to know:

  • Entries close at 5pm on Monday 21 October, 2019.
  • Finalists will be announced at the Ignite Wanaka Chamber AGM on November 6. The Awards gala dinner is on Friday, 29 November at a secret location.
  • There is no cost to enter the awards, which are open to all businesses in the Upper Clutha that have been trading for at least two years (aside from the Startup category which is for businesses in their first year in operation). All entries are completely confidential and only viewed by the independent judging panel.
  • Further details and application forms will be available on


For more information, please contact:
Wayne Hudson, Ignite Wanaka Business Awards convenor of judges
P: 64 21 688 192

Click here to download photos from the 2017 Ignite Wanaka Business Awards

About the judges
Wayne Hudson (Convenor of the Judging Panel)
Wayne Hudson has spent the last 30 years focusing on the technology sector, advising clients on commercialising intellectual property, buying and selling tech businesses, capital-raising and structuring start-ups.  He is a legal consultant through his company WHIPIT Ltd, which assists technology start-ups prepare for growth, investment and sale.  Wayne is also a trustee of Startup Queenstown Lakes and Alpine Community Development Trust, as well as being a mentor for several small business owners in Wanaka.
Anne Urlwin
Wanaka resident Anne Urlwin is a professional director with executive and governance experience across a range of sectors from energy, infrastructure, construction, IT, health and financial services.  Her current directorship roles include Tilt Renewables, Summerset Group Holdings, Steel & Tube Holdings and OnePath Life.  She is also Deputy Chairman of Southern Response Earthquake Services and the Independent Chairman of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu’s Audit & Risk Committee.  She is a former chairman of national commercial construction group Naylor Love Construction and of the NZ Blood Service.
Mark Verbiest
Mark is an experienced company director, currently serving on the board of Freightways (Chairman), Meridian Energy (Chairman elect), ANZ Bank NZ, and PE fund Willis Bond Capital Partners (Chairman). Mark is also a member of the advisory board to NZ Treasury, a Trustee of the Festival of Colour and the Southern Alps Rescue Trust (fund which supports Wanaka search and rescue). Mark has a law degree and has previously been Chairman of Spark and a board member of the FMA.
Ann Lockhart
With 20 years’ experience in senior management roles across both the private and public sectors, Ann Lockhart has played a significant role in growing New Zealand businesses. Previously CEO for the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, Ann is currently CEO for Great South, Southland’s newly established Regional Development Agency, 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 Wanaka.