Media Releases

2019 Wellington Region Hall of Fame Opening Speech

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

As the President of the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce it is an honour to welcome you to this year’s Wellington Region Business Hall of Fame event to celebrate and acknowledge the superb achievements of 8 local businesses.

The Awards are a prestigious endorsement of Wellington Region businesses that have demonstrated long term, sustainable business success, and of the contribution they have made to our region. Thank you all for being here tonight to help us celebrate that success.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors … for their kind support … without which we would not be able to host these awards.

Over the course of this evening, 8 inductees will be added to our Regional Business Hall of Fame. Originally launched in 2015, tonight is the fourth time we have hosted this event. Tonight’s inductees will join an impressive line-up of 24 previous inductees and together they show case what is the very best about business in Wellington.

Our inductees this year come from a diverse range of industries – from Manufacturing to Retail to Transport. They are based in Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, the Wairarapa and Kapiti.

What is similar to them all however is the spirit of resilience, innovation and commitment that they have all shown.

Tonight is about celebrating their success stories.

In contrast to the success we are celebrating tonight, there are parts of our business community going through tough times, and business confidence surveys are showing a consistent downwards trend.  But tonight is proof that despite the external environment - businesses that choose to progress, can and do adapt to variable economic situations, they tackle challenges in front of them, they evolve their business model and strategy and push through.

All of tonight’s inductees have been in business for more than 20 years (and in some cases for more than a century). They have all been through economic highs and lows, they have all experienced dramatic changes to their industries, to technology, to the demands of their customers, and in many other ways.



They have also all adapted to those challenges and now stand in front of you as leaders in business in their region.

It is something that they should be rightly proud of, and that we can all take inspiration from.

Tonight’s inductees are proof that we can build a bright future for our businesses throughout economic times that are good and bad, throughout periods where confidence is high and when it is low.

And that is a story that needs to be shared more frequently and with greater volume.

In fact – it is one of the key reasons that we created these awards 5 years ago. We wanted then, and we still want, to counter the seemingly continuous stream of bad news stories, and negative forecasts and stories of ‘rich or unscrupulous’ business owners that apparently take advantage of the underdog.

We want to share more of the truth. We want to create stronger, louder stories of success and of optimism and contribution and of a brighter future.  

Bad news has a habit of becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.




But I sense a mood of optimism and confidence from those of us here tonight – both inductees and guests.

We here tonight are the voice of small and medium business pushing against the flow of pessimism and scarcity.

Our goal is that our voices are heard loudly both tonight, and ongoing throughout the year, between now and the next awards…

We are the voice of:

  • The people creating and maintaining the very jobs our region depends on
  • The people that have vision and courage, and that work hard to achieve their goals
  • The people taking risks and investing in the future
  • The people responding to challenges and not just complaining about them
  • The people contributing to their local communities
  • The people who quietly just get on with making their businesses and their region a success

Let tonight, and the new group of inductees, be an example to everyone in business in our region. Let them be a reminder that can be looked towards when others are having their own challenges.

Let them be a vote of confidence.

So to tonight’s inductees I say:

“Congratulations – and thank you. Thank you for demonstrating to all of us what perseverance, grit, adaptability and courage can create. Thank you for leading the way for all of us”.

Thank you everyone!