Sari Hodgson 2011 - Savage and Savage

A Way Forward

It is now seven months since we lost Sari, time has just flown by but at the same time her loss seems so fresh. And not just for me, many clients worked with Sari as their financial and business advisor for more than 30 years so we know you all miss her guidance and friendly face as much as we do in the office.

While we can never replace Sari’s personality and client knowledge we can replace her skills. That is something I have had a real focus on when looking for the right buyer for the business.

I was determined not to sell the business to the highest bidder, I wanted to find someone with the same ethos as Sari and me when it comes to putting clients and staff first. Some of you will have already met Susan Cooper who has been working from our offices for the last six weeks or so; I have decided that Susan is the right person for us to work with. I say ‘us’ because it is a decision I have made with advice and guidance from the staff at Savage & Savage.

Susan is a Chartered Accountant with her own sole-practitioner business – Susan Cooper Chartered Accountants. Susan’s business has a very similar client profile to ours and it has grown to the stage she needs some office support, something we can help her with. Susan and I have agreed on the terms of sale and we expect her to take over the business on  the 31st January 2024 with a new brand to be launched a month or so later. There are many details she needs to take care of, things like new branding, new website, new signage etc so she is going to take her time rather than rushing things at this time of the year.

Susan has also asked me to remain with the business to help her manage the process of combining the two  businesses, so I will still be hanging around the office every day. You are all very welcome to contact me if you have any queries about the sale process, but it is our intention to make everything as seamless as possible for clients, both ours and Susan’s.

Susan and I will be hosting some client functions in the new year so you will have the chance to meet her, and her clients can be introduced to our office and staff.

Sari’s passing was the end of an era for the Savage family as we move forward with a new owner for the business. I have established a small annual prize in her name for the top accounting student at Waimea College where her father and founder of Savage & Savage, Noel Savage, was the chairman of the board back in the 1960’s and where Sari and her brothers went to school. Supporting students is something Sari has done for many years and it is a privilege for me to be able to continue this support in a small way.

Thank you all for your kind words about Sari and your support over the last seven months, I appreciate so much.

Kind regards


Sari Hodgson FCA 1960-2023

Firstly, thank you to the many, many people who have sent cards, emails and texts to me and our staff acknowledging Sari’s sudden and unexpected passing in April and the contribution she made to so many businesses and community organisations over a lot of years.

As a Chartered Accountant Sari’s focus was always on her clients first, she always had a smile for them and always made sure they got the best advice possible. While I knew this, I have been humbled by the many emails I have received expressing how Sari changed people’s businesses and lives, how important she was to her clients and how much they trusted her wisdom and judgement.

It goes without saying we all miss Sari a lot. Her guidance as a mentor to many staff over the last 35+ years, her advice to clients (many of whom thought of Sari as a friend as well as a trusted adviser), her tax knowledge and her bright, welcoming personality will never be able to be replaced. However, as a business we do have plans for a future without her.

But before I talk about that many people will be wondering what happened to Sari.

She never hid the fact she was a type 1 diabetic, but she also never let it rule her life. She would often say ‘it lives in my house, I don’t live in its house’. Because she was diagnosed with diabetes when she was just three years old she didn’t know any different and she just got on with life.

Her health issues in the last eight years stemmed from being prescribed methotrexate to help with the RSI pain in her hands. Unfortunately, this particular drug has a side effect she wasn’t aware of, Methotrexate Pneumonitis (pneumonia brought on by the drug) compromised her lung function. The result was she had only about 50% lung function since 2015 and this compromised her quality of life far more than her diabetes did.

Because of her compromised lung function we kept Sari at home to be safe from Covid, she was feeling as well as she had for some time and was getting ready to come back to the office at the end of May.

Sadly, as a result of the compromised lung function she had developed a clot in her lung that broke free and caused cardiac arrest.

Now and the future

To make sure we can provide the very best advice to our clients while also meeting the requirements of CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand) we have put a caretaker Chartered Accountant (Barry Signal CA) in place to check everything we do and sign off accounts etc. We have engaged the services of Geoff Falloon, a tax expert, to provide tax advice to our staff and clients. Both are people we have worked with before and who Sari had a lot of respect for.

Moving forward I intend to take care of our clients and staff in the same way Sari would have. While I have inherited this business I can’t own the firm and it remain a Chartered Accountancy business, something that was important to Sari.

I will need to sell it in due course but rather than selling a client and fee base to a larger firm, as we are seeing a lot of at the moment, I am looking for someone with the right experience and personality to buy the business over time. I will retain a small shareholding and the new person can just buy the business over a few years. I will also stay involved in the business, I’m not going to just sell it and walk away.

My hope is that this will give a younger person the opportunity to own an established business. Creating an opportunity for someone is something Sari would have wanted to do.

Another option is to merge with another small, client focused, Chartered Accountancy business that shares a similar sense of supporting our community.

First and foremost, I intend to make a decision with the help of our staff, sometime in the next few months, that is in the very best interests of our clients.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I am in the office every day from about 8am until about 1.30pm or later as needed and can be contacted by email anytime.

Neil Hodgson


Business Assist and Mentoring

Some of you may not be aware of a service that supports businesses in the area and is subsidised by  councils. Nelson Tasman Business Trust (Business Assist) is exactly what it says – they exist to help businesses, small and large.

You simply make contact through their website . You will be offered a free consultation and they will outline how they can help. They hold workshops on subjects such ass Digital Marketing, Wellness, Leadership and Succession planning on a regular basis. There are many more subjects covered besides. Most of these training sessions are either free or have a small cover charge.

Business Assist also have a Networking morning tea every month. So you can meet other business owners and share any wins, problems, or successes. Meeting other business owners makes you much less isolated.

NZ Business Mentoring

If you need more personalized help they can offer business Mentoring in conjunction with Business Mentors NZ. Call Business Assist or register at online for a mentor. Gina will assess your needs and find a match of skills that you are missing. Sometimes it is easier to work with someone who is less emotionally involved with your business and give you good practical help.  “The experienced and independent viewpoint of a Mentor is invaluable”.

It may be that you need to grow your business and need direction as to how; or you may be a newbie to Digital Marketing and need some help with that; you may need help with a specific project.

“Having a Mentor inspires confidence and gives clarity on the direction of the business.”

Having been in business myself and used the services of a Mentor, I can highly recommend them.

Just remember you are not alone in this journey, use the services of lawyers, accountants and places like Business Assist to help you along in business.

Spotlight on 185 Hope

185 Hope is a market garden and farm shop owned by Gavin Williams and Angela Penman since 2003 – 20 years ago!

Gavin and Angela originally had market gardens and a farm shop established by Gavin’s family on Main Rd Stoke near Placemakers. When industry started to expand, they bought land at 185 Main Rd Hope and relocated everything to there, including glasshouses.

They saw a niche where people wanted to shop for good quality, locally grown fruit and vegetables. The farm shop has grown from strength to strength and is the worst kept secret amongst locals who want to buy locally grown quality fruit and veggies at great prices.

You simply arrive at 185, located at 185 Main Rd Hope with plenty of parking available, pick up a wheelbarrow (no fancy trolleys here!!) and peruse the fantastic array of locally grown veggies available. At certain times of the year, you can go and pick your own, or fill your own bucket or bag with succulent already picked tomatoes, onions, or other pickling ingredients.

Our staff at Savage & Savage enjoy shopping at 185 and some of us source all the ingredients for some lovely preserves each year. The shop is open Fridays till 4.30pm all year around and in peak season – December-April – 9am-5pm Weekdays.

Take this great opportunity to support locally grown produce employing many local people. Check out their Facebook page. PYO@185Hope

Karin has given us her favourite (and easy) pickling recipe for Pickled Zucchini. It is delicious!!!

Karin’s Pickled Zucchini 

6 medium – large Zucchini – sliced to about 4-6mm thick. I use a small mandolin. 

Good handful of plain salt

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

150ml White vinegar

3/4 C Caster sugar

1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 tsp ground Turmeric powder

Slice the Zucchini and place in a colander and mix the salt through thoroughly. Leave for 30 – 60 mins. Have a glass of wine.

Rinse off salt and pat dry, then squeeze as much water as you possibly can out of the zucchini. A muslin cloth works well or just an old teatowel. Pack the squeezed zucchini into sterilised jars (about 3 or 4 peanut butter size).

Put a small pot on to warm and add the mustard seeds and dry-fry until they just start to pop. Quickly add the vinegars, sugar and turmeric and bring to the boil. Pour hot liquid into the jars over the squeezed zucchini right to the brim and put the lid on. Leave for a couple of weeks. I use these in salads, sandwiches, cheese boards and platters. Always a big hit!!!

Have another wine….


Planning for Taxation for Savage & Savage Clients

Planning for Taxation for Savage & Savage Clients

Death and taxes are the two guaranteed things in life, and we’d like to help  our clients to plan more successfully for taxes. (death is a bit beyond us 😊) We are happy to sit down with you and discuss your individual needs.  Make an appointment with Pauline or Sari and the first half hour will be at no charge. You will only get charged for any time over the half hour.


Pauline or Sari will go over your known tax situation if your 2022 tax return has been has been filed. They will factor in things such as your personal circumstances, any major asset purchases you anticipate, any positive or negative changes to your monthly income, etc. We can also show you how to monitor your monthly Xero or MYOB Profit & Loss. That way we’ll  recommend  an appropriate amount to put aside each month for tax. Hopefully, this will take some of the stress re tax planning away from you 😊.


Pauline is available by phone (03 548 4894), e-mail ( or Zoom.  Sari is still working from home and is available by phone (03 548 4894), e-mail ( or Zoom.  Give one of them a call today to make a time.

Buy & Shop Local This Summer

Christmas Day is just around the corner and I’m not sure what has happened to 2022, but for me it seems to have evaporated. However, when you think back about the changes in the last 12 months the biggest impact on families has been the unrelenting price increases in absolutely everything, especially food.

Hopefully as new season produce becomes more readily available prices for some nice-to-have items will drop a bit so we can all treat ourselves this Christmas, maybe to help draw a line under what has been a difficult 2022.

Now is the time to prepare for the silly season by stocking up on a few things each week rather than relying on one very expensive shop the day before Christmas, and I think you should start by thinking about locally produced products that will make your Christmas and New Year celebrations just a little bit special.

Of course you can always buy things like Proper Crisps range of crisps, crackers and tortilla chips all year round, as you can with Pic’s Peanut Butter and jams, Moutere Strawberries and the jams they make, Chia Sisters range of drinks, Mad Melon juices, Pete’s Natural range of soft drinks, herbal teas crafted by Heke Homemade Herbals and of course cheeses, Craft French Pate, hand crafted sausages and Skipper’s Choice sauces.

But now is the time to put a few of these locally made products in your shopping trolley, not only to spread the cost to suit your budget but to support local businesses, businesses that need our support as they too struggle with increasing prices while trying to make sure their products remain affordable.

There are plenty of retailers selling local products but for me The Nelson Farmers Market, Nelson Market on Saturdays and the various markets around the region are the perfect place to talk with producers to find out about the effort they put into growing and making a wide range of things for you and me to enjoy. These producers almost always have samples for you to try before you buy to make sure you make great choices.

185 in Hope will be a very busy place in the week before Christmas but heading out there to get fresh summer berries and vegetables is a must-do for many Nelsonians, for us we always pick up a huge basil plant so we have plenty on hand to add to a tomato salad or to turn into freshly made pesto.

If you want some specialty advice then drop in to Prego where you will find a range of wonderful Nelson made cheeses and European Christmas treats as well as things like pasta and their house-made spicy pork and fennel sausages for the barbeque. Another stop for specialty advice is The Junction where you will find one of this country’s finest cheese selections, they were recently names as one of the top 10 cheese shops in New Zealand. They also have a cheese master on hand to give you great advice.

If you need to stock up on some treats to enjoy over the summer the Rustic Cuisine on Rutherford St has some classic French foods for you to choose from. Made on the premises by Chef Greg Auphin and frozen for you to finish cooking at home, are things like their delicious edam cheese galettes,  beef bolognese, croissants and lots of other treats including their irresistible lemon meringue tarts (large or small). These are perfect to have on hand for days you don’t want to make dinner.

When it comes to gift giving why not make something, homemade relishes, chutneys, jams and even chocolate treats are always appreciated by the recipient. If you want some inspiration drop in to one of my favourite book shops, Volume, and pick up a cook book. You may even find one to give as a gift for the foodie in your life.

Back to local products, we are incredibly lucky to have talented people in this region who make a wide range of world-class products. Some of my favourites are the sausages from The Sausage Press, Doris and Heck’s but when it comes to cheese then you simply can’t go past Thorvald Sheep cheeses, Little River A2 Milk cheeses or Kervella Cheeses from Golden Bay, these are all widely available and they also appear at markets around the region.

For treats to make your Christmas special make sure you buy some local chocolates; Hogarth’s have a range of award winning chocolate bars that they make starting with raw beans that they roast and process into hand-crafted deliciousness. Aroha Chocolates and Chocoloco are also an award winning local chocolate makers who pour their love and passion for what they do into filled chocolate treats.

When it comes to drinks Nelson producers have something for you. From the award winning Pete’s Natural who reinforced Tasman Nelson as one of New Zealand’s top artisan regions by scooping four medals at the 2022 NZ Artisan Awards 2022

Pete’s Natural Kola and Raspberry Kola both took out Gold, plus Pete’s Lemon Manuka Switchel and Hemp Manuka Goodness, both from Pete’s no-added sugar range, picked up Bronze awards so you can serve these at your Christmas and New Year celebrations, not just with confidence in the quality but pride in the fact they are another local, high quality producer.

Of course summer means beer around the barbeque and we are blessed with some outstanding brewers in the region, from award winning Eddyline to handcrafted perfection from Townshend Brewery and the tasty drops made at the Stoke Brewery to name just a few.

Then there are local wines to enjoy with your meal or to celebrate with. I have said this many times but some of the finest wines in New Zealand are made right here in the Nelson Tasman region. From the internationally acclaimed Neudorf Vineyards to the re-focussed Anchorage Wines there is a wine made here to suit every preference. These also make great gifts for your wine loving family and friends who live out of Nelson, there’s nothing better than sending a bottle of Nelson sunshine as a gift.

There are so many options to talk about when it comes to Nelson food and beverage producers I can’t mention them all here but when you’re choosing things for Christmas and New Year at home or for the office shout make sure you choose as many local products as you can, you won’t be disappointed in their quality.

Published in the Nelson Mail 2022-11-23

Spotlight on business : The Framing Rooms

The Framing Rooms and Quiet Dog Gallery

Making your artworks look really special is what Gill Starling and James Taylor aim for at The Framing Rooms.  The skills of five people combine to give customers a fabulous service.  They frame everything you may want to hang on your walls. They frame fine art through to posters, certificates, photography, memorabilia and sports jerseys. The Framing Rooms are the preferred framers for many of the region’s collectors, galleries and local artists.  Two of the team are Guild Commended Framers so you can be sure that your valuable pieces are in safe hands.  The business occupies an amazing warehouse space facing the Wakatu Car Park and customers can see the team at work.  Also in the building is the Quiet Dog Gallery (their sister business) which specialises in contemporary art by artists from around New Zealand.  Exhibitions happen every month so it’s well worth calling in on a regular basis.  Check out their website or better still, Call in and see the fantastic art they have on display

Neudorf’s growing legacy among the Moutere vines

As Neudorf Vineyards celebrate the release of the 40th vintage of their iconic Moutere Chardonnay I can’t help reflect on how impressed I am by the way Tim and Judy Finn have allowed the business to evolve so it can prosper into the future, hopefully for the next 40 years.

I use the term ‘evolved’ because many successful businesses just keep to the same winning formula, but in the case of Neudorf, Tim and Judy recognised the need for a controlled, planned evolution rather than being reactive to market changes.

Last week I caught up with marketing and sales director Rosie Finn and Todd Stevens, Neudorf’s general manager and winemaker.

Rosie told me that Tim and Judy live on site and have taken on an oversight or board level role to guide the strategic direction of the business.

“They leave the day-to-day running of the business to Todd and me, but they’re there as sounding boards when we need some advice,” says Rosie.

“They have been doing this for more than 40 years, so they have an incredible depth of knowledge about the industry.”

Tim and Judy have always had a future focus for their business, from buying land years before it was needed to expand their vineyard plantings, to planting small research blocks to see which varieties will deliver the best wines on their land all the way to installing solar panels that provide all the power the business needs during the day.

Todd says solar power is one aspect of preparing the business for the future, producing enough power to run the whole operation.

“The overall goal is to store the power we generate in order to be fully self-sufficient. Battery technology will get better and more cost-effective allowing us to do that in the future.”

Looking to the future

A significant commitment Neudorf made several years ago was to convert to organic production rather than being a sustainable winegrowing operation.

“We’re totally organic across all 20ha of the home vineyards that include the original Home Block around the winery, the adjoining Tom’s Block and Rosie’s Block located just around the corner” says Todd. “We do buy in some fruit for our Tiritiri (to grow) range and that fruit isn’t always organic, but they are certainly sustainably grown grapes.”

Neudorf Vineyards produce some of the finest Chardonnay wines in New Zealand and the variety is the backbone of the business, however, Todd says “we recently expanded the plantings at Rosie’s Block to include more Albarino and a little more Chardonnay.

“We’ve always been known for Chardonnay, but especially for the Home Block Moutere Chardonnay (previously called Moutere Chardonnay).”

Rosie said “we think of ourselves as a chardonnay house rather than a producer of one well-known Chardonnay. Our other blocks produce some fantastic fruit and after farming it for a number of years we understand what each vineyards gives us to work with.

“That means we can identify the best parcels of fruit within a block, and even within rows, that in turn gives us the ability to make different styles of Chardonnay.”

As the winemaker Todd says they actually use very similar winemaking techniques across the range.

“We want the vineyards and natural fruit characters to shine, so it’s our job to guide the fruit through the most appropriate winemaking process to allow the finished wine to express the very best characters of the vineyards.

“Our chardonnays are 100% barrel fermented (with the exception of the Amphora Chardonnay),” he says.

“Over the years we have pulled back on the use of new oak barrels as we felt that it sat on top of the wine and as a result you saw something from France … not Upper Moutere.

“We still use some new oak but it’s at the lower levels. We want to create a wine experience that is so much more than just one vineyard, we want to express particular elements of each block in our wines.”

Becoming Iconic

A couple of years ago, the team at Neudorf restructured the portfolio of wines they produce.

“We wanted more definition around the wines we produce. Just saying ‘Moutere Chardonnay’ doesn’t differentiate the special characters of the Neudorf vineyards,” says Todd.

“There are other producers of chardonnay in the Moutere so we wanted to ensure our wines are identified with specific pieces of land, especially the three home blocks. Then we put an additional focus on the Tiritiri brand to differentiate those wines from our home block wines.”

Another reason for the planned evolution of the Neudorf business is the need to manage production as vines are either replanted or replaced with other varieties.

It takes about four to five years to get a full crop from young vines “and a lot can happen during that time, especially as we only get one chance a year to see the results of our trials,” says Todd. “

You need to have a pretty good idea of what you want to achieve in the long term.

“Changes in the vineyard take a long time so there needs to be a future-focused planting and replanting programme.”

Ensuring they continue to deliver the Neudorf Vineyards characteristics in every wine the team make doesn’t mean they have stopped trying new things to extract the best wine experience from the grapes they grow.

New Techniques

Over the last few years they have been using clay amphora (egg-shaped fermenters) that bring a different dimension to the flavours and textures of the wines. This is all part of the planned evolution of Neudorf Vineyards.

Rosie says “we can use different techniques like the amphora to add another wine style to our portfolio. These are all still Neudorf wines, we just use slightly different winemaking techniques to highlight the characters of the fruit and the land.”

She also says that during the Covid pandemic there’s been a real appreciation of how lucky the region is.

“After Covid, we have a new-found focus on customers through the cellar door, we’re producing slightly less but are focused on really high quality.”

And that tells me Neudorf Vineyards is in the right hands to guide it through the next 40 years until eight-month-old Freddy is ready to take over from Rosie, his mum.

Latest releases of Neudorf Chardonnay

Neudorf Rosie’s Block Amphora Chardonnay 2021 RRP $50

Fermented in clay amphora vessels this is a beautifully textured wine with an elegant palate weight. Ripe acidity adds freshness to the finish while a mineral character holds everything together.

Fermenting the wine in an amphora is about texture in the wine, the heat convection that occurs naturally in the amphora during fermentation keeps the yeast lees suspended in the wine, and that gives a different dynamic to the lees-to-wine contact. This wine is simply delicious with classic Neudorf characters. 4.5 stars

Neudorf Home Block Moutere Chardonnay RRP $90

I have seen the style of this wine evolve over the years as consumer tastes changed and Neudorf put more focus on expressing the vineyard characteristics of the original vineyard block, I have to say the 2021 vintage is an exceptional wine.

The 2021 vintage was very small in the region but the concentration from a smaller crop shines in this wine. The aromas are refined and elegant while the full palate weight and elegant fruit flavours are enhanced with linear acidity that carries through the palate. I always find exceptional wines difficult to describe but the underlaying power and balance of this wine creates a wine experience rather than just a nice glass of wine. 5 stars

Changes in GST record keeping

Good news for the trees, the planet and your storage cupboard!! IRD are introducing changes in GST record keeping in two stages that will reduce the amount of paper storage required for businesses.

There have been some smaller changes regarding GST effective 30.3.22

Buyers of goods had to keep a physical tax invoice to be able to claim GST for anything over $50. With the changes, a bank statement, contract, supplier agreement or electronic tax invoice is sufficient for expense claims.

Sellers still need to produce tax invoices over $50.

There are also changes to Buyer-created invoices (where the buyer determines the price perhaps by weight of the goods etc.) and also shared tax invoices. These are more detailed, and do not apply to many, so if this applies to you, click on the link above.

More changes are coming….

Many more changes are coming in April 2023, these changes mean no more invoices for purchases under $200. You can use a bank statement line to show who you paid and when. However, remember to note on your payment what it was for.

For purchases between $200 – $1000 you will need to keep a record as before, but an electronic record is sufficient. For those who use Xero, there is already provision to store your invoices in Xero. No more printing out! The buyers details are not required.

Over $1000 a full copy of the supply with all details are needed. No paper required.

Of course these are all proposals. IRD have yet to fully explain all the changes, so we will keep you up to date as changes are finalised.

These changes in GST record keeping are a step in the right direction in reducing paperwork and compliance. Let’s face it, the trees on the planet can be used for better things than tax invoices.

Trust Tax Return Rules

The rules have changed for information required when filing a Domestic Trust tax return.

At the time of filing a trust tax return we are now also required to provide detailed information (name, address, IRD number etc.,) to IRD on the following:

  • “Settlors” (people contributing to the Trust assets)
  • “Beneficiaries” only if they have received funds from the trust in the financial year
  • “Power of appointment” persons – Details of the person/s able to appoint trustees
  • Details of the amount and nature of settlements made in the financial year
  • Details of monies put in/taken out through the Beneficiary(ies) Current Account
  • For assets in the trust such as land and buildings, the method of valuation e.g. cost price

This means we need a lot more information from you and if you don’t know these details for the above, we, or you will need to contact your lawyers for the information because we MUST have this information when we are filing tax returns.

Obviously, if you are able to supply this information to us directly, you will save yourself some lawyers’ fees.  If you cannot provide all this information, it may lead to increased fees from us and the lawyers to obtain the information.

Click here to go to IRD’s website