Celebrating 25 Years of Creativity at Downings

The year is 1994, Sony releases the PlayStation One; Lieutenant Dan gets new legs; Friends makes its debut and Tony Downing starts a design studio out of a small flat in Tahunanui. Twenty five years later, that business is a bit bigger!

Downing Creative is the leading Marketing and Branding creative business in this region and we are proud to have been part of their journey.

Congratulations to Tony, Vanessa and everyone at Downing Creative and thanks for the work you do for us and for trusting us as your financial advisers

Check out their new website to see how they can help you and your business. Click here for some great ideas

Excellence in Bed & Breakfast Hosting – Award Winners

Congratulations to our long-term clients Brian and Anthea Harvey who have just been awarded the 2019 Supreme B&B Business of the Year at the recent B&B Awards

The Awards Programme celebrates excellence in hospitality in the bed and breakfast and hosted accommodation sector.  They provide a benchmark of excellence and inspiration to other bed and breakfast hosts along with showcasing the best of New Zealand hospitality within the B&B accommodation sector.  Rayma Jenkins, President, said “the Awards honour, recognise, encourage and reward our members who are the very best bed and breakfast properties in New Zealand.”

Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand and Vision Insurance are pleased to announce Bellbird Lodge, Kaiteriteri, owned by Anthea & Brian Harvey, has been awarded the 2019 Supreme B&B Business of the Year.  

The Bed & Breakfast Association Award programme is made up of three Awards – Supreme B&B Business of the Year, Emerging B&B Business of the year (open to those who have been operating two years or less) and B&B Host of the year.

Supreme B&B Business of Year winners Brian and Anthea care for and about their guests.  In their words “it is not about what we think the guests want but what they actually want”. 

2019 Emerging B&B Business of the Year Award Winner is Acacia Heights Gardens, Taupo, owned by Heather & David Bridson.

2019 B&B Host of the Year Award Winner is Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia, Barb & Paul Linton.

 “The calibre of entries in all categories this year is extremely high, each one deserves the highest praise,” said Rayma.  “A hallmark of a stay in a hosted bed and breakfast is a personalised experience for our guests.  There is no one formula for operating and this is certainly true of our entrants”.

The programme is judged by Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Chris Roberts and the Association’s President and Vice President.

Other winners were:

Supreme B&B Business of the Year 1st Runner Up – Whakaipo Lodge, Taupo

Supreme B&B Business of the Year 2nd Runner Up – Morepork Riverside Lodge, Paihia

Emerging B&B Business of the Year Highly Commended – Willows Green, Blenheim

Emma Heke in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine October 2018

Our client, Emma Heke, is featured in the NZ Lifestyle Block magazine this month. With great photography by Daniel Allen this article tells Emma’s story about making teas from her home in Nelson.

Buy your copy to find out more about this very successful small business making its mark in NZ and click here to enter the NZ Lifestyle Block competition to win 10 packs of delicious Heke Homemade Herbals teas, these teas are favourites in our office.

Volume wins big

The old saying that nice things come in small packages couldn’t be more apt in the case of another client who has been successful, this time at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards.

The very small shop in Church Street that is home to Volume – The Space for Books belies the stature of this perfect little bookshop. After opening just over 18 months ago Volume has quickly gained a reputation as one of the very best independent bookshops in New Zealand and this was recognised recently when they won the People’s Choice Award for BEST PROVINCIAL RETAILER at the 2018 Retail Hotlist Awards – not just for bookshops but for all retailers

This is proof that customers want great service and that is just what Thomas and Stella deliver everyday to every customer

 

Hopgood’s & Co win big

We are delighted our client, Hopgood’s & Co, has had huge success at the Silver Fern Awards. They were named Best Restaurant in New Zealand, Aaron Ballantyne was named as the Best Head Chef and they won the award for Best Dish in the competition.

Think about all those top restaurants in Auckland and from other parts of New Zealand and you will realise just how special this achievement is.

Hopgood’s & Co chefs Aaron Ballantyne, left, and Kevin Hopgood

Congratulations to Kevin Hopgood, Arron Ballantyne and the rest of the great team at Hopgoods.

Here are some links to articles about both Kevin and Aaron that Neil Hodgson wrote for his Taste of Nelson column, their extensive backgrounds, hard work and total commitment to quality have rightly been recognised with these awards..

 

 

 

 

 

Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards

At this year’s Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards hosted by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce two of our clients won awards; Emma

Heke won the Innovation Award for her range of specialty herbal teas and Shane & Annette McCrae from McCraes Blinds and Drapes were awarded a special Business Excellence Award in the large business category.

A huge congratulations to both businesses and the very hard working owners.

It is worth noting that Emma completed the year-long Barbican Training business course before she started her business, this meant she had a full business plan, finance plane, marketing pan and the skills to manage her new business. It just goes to show if you start off on the right track with a new business success can be just around the corner.

 

Heke Homemade Herbals – Nelson Mail 04.07.17

This is a column written by Neil Hodgson and first published in the Nelson Mail, about one of our clients Emma Heke and her business Heke Homemade Herbals. These herbal teas have become firm favourites in our office and we think you should try them too.

 

I have known Emma Heke for many years, I have always been hugely impressed with the way she has approached her business ventures and she brings the same enthusiasm and attention to detail to her latest venture, Heke Homemade Herbals. 

 

Heke Homemade Herbals produces a range of outstanding herbal teas with the vast majority made using herbs and flowers she grows at home. The only ingredients she buys are those that don’t grow in New Zealand and come from an organic supplier. 

 

While the teas are fantastic much of the business success can be put down to her going about things the right way; firstly, she has a business she is passionate about and she has the background and business skills to turn that passion into a great business. 

 

Emma’s journey started as an artist with a fine art degree from Dunedin Art School after which she set up her first business, a papier maché venture. People would commission all sorts of custom-made sculptures from lemon trees to mini red Cadillacs! 

 

“I got to make a huge fairyland grotto to go under the staircase in a museum, it was a huge amount of fun and I loved seeing the kid’s reactions.”  

 

After running her small business in Dunedin for two years she moved to Sydney where she worked in a professional photographic lab for the next two years, “I was already really interested in photography and had been teaching myself but learned heaps working in the professional lab 

 

After Sydney it was off to England, where she was born before her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was seven. “For two years I couldn’t get any type of work that I wanted so ended up working in a bar and a boarding school for a pittance, I realised I didn’t want to live on minimum wages and had to do something with my skills. I just wasn’t selfish enough to give up everything and live life just for me as an artist.” 

 

So Heke returned to New Zealand and spent a year training to be a high school art and photography teacher before she worked at Whangarei Girls High School for 12 years, “I loved it, I ended up being the Check Moderator for NCEA levels 1-3 Art for New Zealand and was probably destined for Wellington and well paid jobs but had my son and everything changed” 

 

“Connor was very ill as a baby he was having allergic reactions to many things so while I tried to go back to teaching I couldn’t do both and gave up teaching. We moved to Nelson knowing it would be a good, safe place to bring up a young boy. It’s been fantastic for both of us” 

 

Heke says she had to reinvent her career, she wanted to have her independence and make her own way in life. When Connor was four she had great ideas for films and saw there was a gap in the market for kids films that weren’t all cutesy, something more with an education focus. 

 

“I also realised if I was going to have a successful business I had to get some business skills too so enrolled in a course at Barbican Training called Small Business Management, one night a week for a year and lots of homework but it changed my life. 

 

“I developed the confidence and skills to know I could succeed. During the course you work on your own business, all facets from business planning to financial planning and marketing, as the course progressed I could see the idea I had could work.” 

 

She had never picked up a film camera until she did the full time six-month TV production course at NMIT while completing the Barbican course.  

 

“My mum, Dawn, came down from Thames and she looked after Connor and took him to kindy while I was at tech, if she hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have been able to do many of the things I have.” 

 

Loaded with business skills and video training Heke created her first film Ours, NZ Nature for Children, “ It was huge for me, it sold really well and Air NZ picked it up for their inflight entertainment, many early childhood centres bought it and I won a Green Ribbon Award for it.” She then made a second DVD called Our Creative Children about art and creativity using nature as the inspiration. The third film, Our Green Roadie involved a tour around NZ to showcase eco-entrepreneurs and all the films have been available as DVDs until recently when Emma made the switch to fully digital downloads. 

 

This suits the modern market and fits really well with her marketing strategy that has been highly focused on social media, the videos can be sourced at www.facebook.com/redhekeproductions  

 

So how did she get into producing herbal teas? “After Connor and I had been travelling around the country I was keen to do something based in Nelson and wanted to make the space we had really productive. If I could create a business out of a steep south facing section it would also help other people, I wanted to break some myths people have about not being able to do a lot with small, colder south facing plots of land and wanted to create something viable . 

 

“Because I love herbal teas it was an obvious option for me to choose, something I could do at home without needing a huge amount of land but the micro climate of the garden meant I needed to use sturdy plants that would withstand the frosts, it was difficult to buy great organic teas that were affordable, I really wanted to showcase organic produce.” 

 

She started giving the teas to friends and family first and they kept asking for more, “I realised I had a potential business and created a Facebook page to see if there was a demand beyond friends and family, I harvested my herbs, dried them, made my four favourite blends and sold out in two days, two weeks later I harvested that last of my herbs and they sold out in two days as well. 

 

“We dug up all the lawns, planted lots of herbs and haven’t looked back.” 

 

Heke Homemade Herbals now has a range of 32 blends, “I have tried to keep a deliberately low profile so I can grow the business in a controlled way and manage the growth but people have approached me wanting to stock the teas, Morri Street Café have two teas on their winter menu, that have really taken off.” 

 

McCashins successfully used one of her herbal tea in a recent competition, “they used my white tea that I grow, called it Heke Herbal Tea IPA, took it to Auckland and it went down very well so they are keen to experiment further.”  

 

Heke sells her herbal teas at the Nelson Market on Saturdays and a lot of domestic travellers who buy at the market now order online so she has an ever-expanding mail order client base. 

 

She also runs children’s art classes at home and always has pots of herbal tea for them, “kids really get in to it, their favourite is peppermint, they go in to the garden and we make a big pot of it.” 

 

It is time you discovered Heke Homemade Herbals too, they are wonderful teas packed with flavour and made right here in Nelson and can be contacted through www.facebook.com/HekeHomemadeHerbals . 

 

Victory Primary School benefits from $15,000 donation from local business

Below is a recent article from the Nelson Mail about one of our clients, Vortex Spas making a very generous donation to help local kids. Photo is courtesy of Nelson Mail & Fairfax Media

Congratulations Andrew, what a great initiative.

 

A generous donation from a local business has helped Victory Primary School provide food for disadvantaged pupils.

The school had applied for the help of charitable trust KidsCan, which provides food, clothing and other basic needs for those in need.

But KidsCan has a waiting list because they’re already helping 500 schools and more than 115,000 children around New Zealand.

Victory’s large role of 400-plus pupils also meant it faced a long wait, potentially years, to get into the programme. That’s when Vortex Spas came in.

Managing director Andrew Pullen said the company didn’t know about the school’s application when he approached KidsCan about becoming “more proactive” in their support of local charities.

“We wanted to support our own community first and foremost, we wanted to support the most disadvantaged section of the community and we want to support basic needs first.”

Vortex Spas donated $15,000 cash to KidsCan, which saw Victory Primary School accepted into the programme providing lunches for pupisl.

“It’s the teachers and the staff here that really do the heavy lifting,” Pullen said.

The school and the spa business are now organising a raffle to raise $10,000 in funds with the aim to get raincoats for all pupils and shoes for those that need them.

“What we’re really looking for is for the whole of Nelson to be supporting this. If we receive some great success, we’ll be extending out outside of just the Victory area,” Pullen said.

Tickets for the raffle are $5 and available from Benge & Co greengrocers, Stacey Clothing in Richmond, Victory School reception and at a stall at the Nelson Market.

The first prize is a Vortex Spa pool valued at over $11,000. The second prize is a Weber BBQ valued at $1000. Other prizes include Stacey Clothing vouchers, Pestell’s meat vouchers and Benge & Co green grocer voucher.

The winning ticket will the drawn at Victory Primary School on July 8 at 10am.

The top five ticket sellers from Victory Primary School will go on a training run with the Tasman Makos, Pullen said.

School principal Helen Taylor-Young she was quite overwhelmed by Vortex Spas generosity.

“The great thing for us is that it means can get on with the teaching and learning,” she said.

“I feel very privileged that Andrew chose us first.

“The great thing here is that we got a good infrastructure with the community centre and the school partnership, it’s a great place to roll it out and to trial it here.”

Tax Refund Services

Tax Refund Services are advertising heavily at the moment. Rest assured, that if you are a client of ours that we prepare tax return(s) for, we will calculate your tax refund/payment due. If you believe you are owed a tax refund for past years, before you became a client but within the last 5 years, we can look this up for you too.

If you are a client, please contact us first if you have any queries as applying online with another company will cause you to be delinked from our tax agent list with IRD and linked to theirs. When it comes time to prepare your accounts and/or tax return, we will need to relink you to our list, causing an unnecessary charge.

 

Nelson College student cooks like a champion

Nelson College student M’Chakkapong Klahan has once again been part of a winning team at the secondary schools culinary challenge for the third year in a row. He and team mate Louis Clarke won a Gold medal at this year’s challenge finals.

Mentored by Kevin Hopgood at Hopgood’s Restaurant where he works part-time M’Chakkapong is obviously an up and coming young culinary star.