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Pacific entrepreneurs’ excellence recognised at PBT Awards

Pacific entrepreneurs’ excellence recognised at PBT Awards

  • 14 Nov 2022
Mr Fiso John Fiso ONZM Pacific Legacy Award Winner

(Picture caption: Fiso John Fiso (ONZM) accepts the Pacific Legacy Award at the 2022 Pacific Business Trust Awards.) 

The 2022 Pacific Business Trust Awards winners have been announced at Auckland’s Due Drop Events Centre, Manukau, Auckland. 

The Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony extravaganza held on November 11 revealed 10 Pacific business award winners. 

In what was an emotive evening, dignitaries Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon William Aupito Sio gave keynote addresses to the 675 attendees.   

Awards were presented to Pacific business leaders for innovation, achievements and success, and there were inaugural recipients of three new awards which recognised Excellence in Construction and Trades, Leadership in the Pacific Community and Pacific Creative Enterprise. 

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples proudly sponsored the Arataki Award for Leadership in the Pacific Community, which was presented to Pasifika Medical Association Chief Executive Debbie Sorensen. 

Pasifika Medical Association is the largest Pacific NGO in the region, with a network of 7,000 members, 180 staff and stewardship across the Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency Pasifika Futures and the ETU Primary Care services. 

The organisation’s vision is to enhance prosperity for Pacific peoples and ensure Pacific children live as long as anyone on earth. 

Other winners of 2022 Pacific Business Awards, judged by an independent panel, include: 

Tautua  Alofa Pasifika Award for Pacific Social Enterprise (sponsored by Pasefika Proud, Ministry of Social Development): Filipo Saua – Zenith Fitness and Snapback Gym.

The heart and soul of commercial gym Zenith Fitness is their social enterprise, a charitable trust named Snapback ‘toe a’e se tofa’ which contributes to positive health, exercise and wellbeing outcomes for Pacific people in Aotearoa. 

Fetu’u Fo’ou Award for Young Pacific Entrepreneur (sponsored by Deloitte New Zealand): Alexia Hilbertidou, GirlBoss NZ. 

As the only girl in her digital technology class at school, Alexia was inspired to create GirlBoss New Zealand, the largest Young Women’s community in the country with 13,500 members. Their programmes are now in more than 100 schools and help to close the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, entrepreneurship and leadership. 

Mataka Vou Award for Pacific Business Enterprise (sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade): Eli Tagi, WE MANA. 

Multi award-winning innovative business advisory in New Zealand and Samoa, WE MANA are a catalyst for change within the accounting industry. WE are leaders in diversity, encouraging Pacific and Māori businesses to thrive. They are role models, helping business be proud of who they are and where they come from. From coaching to governance of boards and providing financial literacy to communities in need, WE are doing everything to help people to realise their own dreams in business and their vision of impacting the lives of 10 million people in the Pacific. 

Kanumea Afine Loto Toa Award for Pacific Woman in Business (sponsored by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited): Nora Swann, Nora Swann Ltd. 

Nora is a successful businesswoman, pioneer and creative entrepreneur in the Pacific region’s fashion industry with her finger on the ever-changing pulse of the fashion world. Nora directs major fashion shows including the innovative Pacific Fusion Fashion Show and gives back by empowering female youth with the Dressed in Confidence Wellness Programme. Nora also advocates for diversity in the fashion industry with The Swann Modelling Agency. Headquartered in South Auckland, Nora has created opportunities for more than 500 aspiring Pacific and Māori creatives. 

Galu Fou Award for Pacific Innovation (sponsored by Spark New Zealand): Dain Guttenbeil, LifeStone Ltd. 

This 100 percent Pasifika Māori pastoral care entity, LifeStone offer a unique and authentic way to honour and celebrate those who have passed. LifeStone’s technology and app allows families to tell the full story of their loved one, brimming with videos, music, photos and written reflections to their memorial, headstone or plaque, activated by a smart phone. They are also reducing carbon footprint by crafting headstones locally with the goal to create jobs for Pacific nations and protect our own island nations. 

Langa Fonua Award for Pacific Excellence in Construction and Trades (sponsored by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment):  Rau Tangiiti, Independent Traffic Control

Specialising in the delivery of traffic management solutions to their clients ITC is one of the largest traffic management companies in New Zealand, with 400 employees. ITC are in the health and safety sector, keeping clients, workers and the general public away from potential hazards while operating on the road network, from diverting motorists away from an accident to controlling the crowds attending a major sporting event, their role is vital in keeping people safe. 

Tū Rangatira Kama’atu Pacific Award for Pacific Business Entrepreneur (sponsored by Industry Partnerships – Ministry of Social Development): Orion Tiatia, Trust and Loyalty Security. 

Trust and Loyalty Security is a 100 percent Pasifika locally owned professional security firm providing a range of security services led by the expertise of founder, Managing Director and entrepreneur, Orion Tiatia. They are proud of their workforce, who are 95 percent Pasifika and Māori and have created hundreds of jobs and employment opportunities for other businesses to enter the industry. Servicing clients across the nation from their HQ in South Auckland, they have expanded into ten regions and have an eye on international expansion. 

Moana Creative Enterprise Award (sponsored by Creative New Zealand): Neil Ieremia ONZM, Black Grace. 

One of New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance companies, Black Grace makes us proud not only as a Pacific community founded organisation, but also as master craftsmen at the top of the game nationally and globally. Founded by Neil Ieremia in 1995 who draws from his Samoan and New Zealand roots to create innovative dance works that reach across social, cultural and generational barriers. 

Pacific Legacy Award (sponsored by Pacific Business Trust):  Fiso John Fiso (ONZM), The Fiso Investment Group Ltd.   

Fiso John Fiso (ONZM) has achieved significant milestones over the last 30 years in the business, education and sport sectors operating in regional, national and international arenas. He has developed the largest private Pacific investment fund aimed at supporting business initiatives in the hospitality, wellness, education, property and health sectors.

Fiso is a visionary has always been focused on excellence and accepts nothing less from himself and his staff. He can bring together diverse ranges of people to work for a common goal, and he is driven to achieve goals, solve problems and execute strategy. 

Visit the Pacific Business Trust website for more information.