06 Nov 2023
Rotorua businesses came together for a huge evening of celebration and recognition, on Saturday night (4 Nov), as the Rotorua Energy Events Centre hosted the 2023 Tompkins Wake Rotorua Business Awards.
Delivered annually by the Rotorua Business Chamber, these high-profile awards set out to celebrate innovation and creativity in the business sector and have been a highlight of Rotorua’s business calendar for well over 20 years.
With dozens of businesses and around 500 of Rotorua’s biggest movers-and-shakers in attendance, the glitzy black-tie occasion – draped in black and gold and under the sparkle of fairy lights – became an arena of anticipation and excitement.
Following a rousing whakatau, which embodied the spirit of Rotorua, her worship Mayor Tania Tapsell addressed the room and the formalities began.
The format sees sixteen awards given on the night, with six of these belonging to the Excellence category, including the Retail award for which Mountain Jade were nominated. The finalists for the Supreme award are made up of the respective winners of each of the Excellence categories. A best-of-the-best ‘Overall’ winner.
As each award was introduced, the finalists stories were heard and applauded. Each victory proceeded with tension and greeted with cheers of joy, as tables rose to their feet punching the air, as energetic music filled the room.
Themes of resilience, of gratitude and the Rotorua way weaved likes threads through the acceptance speeches, and as the evening moved over the half-way point it was time for Mountain Jade’s nomination.
Winners of the Deloitte Retail Excellence Award
The Deloitte Retail Excellence Award had six finalists, making it one of most highly-contested categories on the night.
Mountain Jade were represented on the night by staff from the Rotorua retail stores and artists from the carving studios. A tight team who’ve all contributed to the phenomenal retail success of the last twelve months, and when the winner was announced, “MOUNTAIN JADE!”, they rose to their feet as one, and emphatically shared the moment.
A delighted Chief Executive, Sam Hulton led the acceptance on stage, congratulating the other finalists and thanking the sponsors.
“Our focus on excellence means that we often shine the brightest light on the amazingly talented artists that call our studio home, but my hope is that our success in the retail category can go some way toward acknowledging the unsung heroes of our business, our front line retail team.”
Winners of the Tompkins Wake Supreme Award
With the Retail Excellence Award confirmed, it brought a fresh excitement to the evening for the team as we drew to the climax of the event. Mountain Jade were now in contention for the Supreme Award, given to the Overall Business winner.
And beyond our expectations, we claimed the award!
Sam Hulton reflected on the accolade:
“In our success, we need to thank and acknowledge the many contributors that have helped us along the way. From the Rotorua Chamber helping us to upskill our leadership team, RotoruaNZ for guidance and support to grow our tourism network through to local legend Ngahihi o te ra Bidois, who joined our recent team day to inspire our whanau to be the best versions of themselves.
This award is the culmination of a multi-year transformation of our business as we moved away from conventional travel retail and moved towards a new brand of experiential retail that will captivate all who walk through our doors. We are incredibly lucky to have a talented team of artists and retail professionals that came along on that journey with us, and the awards we have achieved is the culmination of the mahi that everyone poured in. We are incredibly lucky to have a talented team of artists and retail professionals that came along on that journey with us, and the awards we have achieved is the culmination of the mahi that everyone poured in.
Mountain Jade started as a small family owned business based in Rotorua all the way back in 1986. Despite many of the founding family members moving on to carve their own paths, whanau remains a core value to us, and a pou that we build our business around.
Going into the awards night, we knew we had some tough competition in the retail category and simply being a finalist was a huge and humbling honour. Never in a million years did we think we would be in a position to take home the prestigious Supreme Award.
We also wish to acknowledge our board and shareholders who empower us to dream big.”
Mountain Jade have two retail stores in Rotorua, both located on Fenton Street. They also have a wholesale and eCommerce team located on Depot Street as well as a prominent artist studio, housing renown jade carvers Tamaora Walker and Akapita Scally.