Porirua’s resilient and innovative small businesses and a range of exceptional young employees were recognised at Porirua’s Small Business and Young Employee Awards ceremony at the Whitireia Library in Porirua last night.

"These awards is a way to recognise and celebrate our innovative and adaptive small business sector in Porirua, who rose to the challenge during Covid-19 and not only survived, but thrived," says Clare Nolan, Senior Commercial Advisor, Porirua City Council.

"Held in conjunction with the Porirua Chamber of Commerce and Partners Porirua, these awards celebrate the successes of our young people and small businesses based in Porirua City.”

“We asked our community to nominate a local business that embodies excellence and grit and has a track record of strong leadership, innovation and the ability to rise to the challenges businesses have faced in the last year. We also asked employers to nominate a young team member who had made a significant contribution to their employers’ business.  I’m happy to report that the judges were spoilt for choice.

Among stiff competition, Get Fixed Bicycle Café was awarded the Porirua Small Business Awards winner for 2021. The popular Tuk Tuk Thai restaurant received the Highly Commended Award and the other finalists in the running were Poi Creations, Runway Studio and Yum Jar.

"Get Fixed is a much-beloved local business that ticks all the boxes for this award," Ms Nolan says.

"It started as a home-based business, moved into a pop-up container space on the Harbour’s Edge and now they have a multi-faceted business with a workshop and a coffee shop as well as selling eco-friendly household products. They are passionate about biking, good coffee, giving back to the community, and are committed to being a sustainable, eco-friendly business.

Ms Nolan says Daeng and her team at Tuk Tuk Thai has helped transformed our inner city in Porirua with their beautiful restaurant and even better food.

"They opened their doors a few months before Covid hit and had to scramble to find a way to stay afloat and also keep her vegetable suppliers afloat, so they started to do vegetable boxes with her sauces during lockdown. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength and even opened a bubble tea and ice-cream sister shop.

"It has been inspiring to review all the entries and see how these small businesses in Porirua rose to the challenge of Covid-19. They found new ways of serving their customers, went the extra mile in delivering service and all had a focus on their community at the heart of what they do. I look forward to see what they will achieve in the years to come."

“The past year has been tough, but many businesses found ways through the uncertainty, and have innovated, grown, and given back to our community," says Hamish Mexted, Porirua Chamber of Commerce Chair. "As part of the judging process, we read many stories of resilience, perseverance, and leadership. We’re looking forward to sharing some of the five finalist’s stories over the coming weeks, and congratulate our winner and finalists."

Exceptional young employees were also honoured on the night as Partners Porirua announced their Outstanding Young Employee 2021 award winners. Local businesses could nominate outstanding young employees in their staff that show initiative, leadership and who were role models for others in the business.

“The future of Porirua continues to be bright,” says Michelle Robinson, Chief Executive of Partners Porirua. “These awards promote our young talent within the city, bringing both business and community together to acknowledge the contribution our rangatahi play in our city’s businesses and organisations. Our three winners, Nai Mullane-Ronaki, Rex Thompson and Tyla Misky, exemplify the best of how our young people are making a difference.”

Below are the winners and their citations.

Winner of the 2021 Small Business Award: Get Fixed Bicycle Café

Runner up of the 2021 Small Business Award: Tuk Tuk Thai

Finalists 2021 Small Business Award: Poi Creations, Runway Studio and Yum Jar

 

Winner of the 2021 Young Employee Award: Nai Mullane-Ronaki

Nai is an Administrator with Kia ora Hauora, Māori Health Workforce Programme at the CCDHB. Along with this she is also completing her fulltime Bachelor of Health Studies, majoring in population health, policy and service delivery. Nai is also a Māori Student Ambassador for Victoria Uni.

 

Winner of the 2021 Rising Star Award: Rex Thompson

Rex is a talented and enthusiastic Team Leader at Edwards & Hardy Roofing. He is a great role model, showing new apprentices how to behave for the best outcomes of the company. He’s punctual, calm under pressure and gives his all to any given task.

 

Winner of the Dale Carnegie Leadership Award: Tyra Misky

After a year of working as a Youth Ambassador between Tū Ora health and Partners Porirua, Tyra was offered the position as Piki Health Promoter for mental health counselling at Tū Ora health. Tyra is a great communicator, an effective worker across several teams, a true asset and very generous of her time. Tyra’s personal growth has been immense, she has shown commitment to the Pacific communities while embracing a professional approach.