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Porirua Business Awards: Celebrating growth, grit and community spirit

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Proud owners of Get Fixed Bicycle Cafe, Angela and Simon Bendall accepting the Porirua Small Business Award from Mayor Anita Baker.

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 on Wednesday night.

"These awards are 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 Porirua Chamber of Commerce and Partners Porirua, 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 and I’m happy to report that the judges were spoilt for choice in both categories."

Among stiff competition, Get Fixed Bicycle Café was announced as 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.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says it was inspiring to see so many small businesses in Porirua rise to the challenge presented by Covid-19.

“We’ve heard inspiring stories from our local people and it’s great to see a number of them on show at these awards. The resilience and optimism being displayed is fantastic.”

Ms Nolan says Get Fixed Café is a beloved local operator that started as a home-based business, moved into a pop-up container space on the harbour’s edge and now have a multi-faceted business model.

“They are passionate about biking, good coffee, giving back to the community, and are committed to being a sustainable, eco-friendly business."

She 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, going from strength to strength and even opening a bubble tea and ice-cream sister shop.

Chamber chairman Hamish Mexted says businesses found ways through uncertainty to grow and give back to the community.

“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.

Mayor Baker says young people “bring fresh energy and perspective, absorb training and technology well, and are agile in an ever-changing world”.

“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.”

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.

15 Jul 2021