The Prospa Local Business Hero Awards recognise those locally owned businesses that are essential parts of our communities. All of the entrants are nominated by their customers, and receiving those entries is one of the best parts of our year – we love hearing from locals about why they’re nominating the fruit shop, cafe or nursery, and about what makes the local community loyal to a small business.

Here, four Local Business Hero Award finalists share how they connect with their communities and create momentum to meet new goals.

Michaela, Full Cycle Bikes, Whakatane

Full Cycle Bikes


How have you built community support for your business?

We love being involved with the Whānau on Wheels initiative. We fix up bikes and offer our expertise, then schools and organisations nominate kids for the bikes to go to. It’s important to supply bikes that a kid can be proud of – then they’ll really look after it.

We also use Facebook to encourage people to nominate someone to receive a bike and the community has really stepped up, buying scooters and bikes for us to give away.

And we’re on the committee and members of the local mountain bike club, and always help out where we can with school races or supporting weekends away.

We’re lucky to be part of an amazing, supportive community.

What actions are you taking to build on your business success in the coming financial year?

I’m a realist – the supply challenges are likely to be with us for a while yet. I like to be direct and honest with my customers and in turn, they’ll come back and support us when they can.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to a bit more consistency as things start to return to normal. We had a fantastic week last month – hopefully there’s more of those to come and we’ll be able to take on some staff again.

It’s very important to us to find exactly the right person for our business.

Peter, Victoria Gardens, Motueka

Victoria Gardens

How have you built community support for your business?

Great customer service, and fresh, beautifully presented, spray-free produce continues to be the backbone of our business. Many of our customers know Caroline and I very well – we’ve been running Victoria Gardens for 14 years – and word of mouth is very important to us.

During the pandemic, we introduced an online shopping service for our immediate community, and continued to keep them informed via the website and social media.

When the Boxing Day tornado and hail storm hit our property in 2020 and wiped out the growing side of our business, we discovered that this community has our back. The local support for the shop was overwhelming and so appreciated.

What actions are you taking to build on your business success in the coming financial year?

We’re concentrating on completing our rebuild by the end of April which will allow us to concentrate more on the growing side of the business.

We’d like to find the right people to staff our shop so Caroline and I can focus more on our customers and on providing a greater range of spray-free produce. And we are looking forward to returning to a bit of normality!

Paul, Aorangi Bulb Nurseries, Fielding

How have you built community support for your business?

We donate to several local groups including the Cancer Society to whom we give daffodil flowers each year. We also have a local school come to pick flowers to sell to their family and friends each Daffodil Day. And we employ around 30 local people which contributes well over a million dollars to the local economy each year.

What actions are you taking to build on your business success in the coming financial year?

The past two years have been tough so we are looking forward to catching up and getting back on schedule. We’re lucky to have a great team of staff who go the extra mile to get tasks done.

Cash flow for a seasonal business like ours is always challenging. We are always looking for new crops to produce that will slot into our schedule and provide income during the harder months.

With an annual cycle of production it can take several years to learn the nuances of new crops and get them up and running. We have many plans for expansion with new equipment and greenhouses, and will proceed gradually as we have the time and funds available.

Tracey – Or Near Offer Village Boutique, Hikurangi

How have you built community support for your business?

The boutique was previously a Red Cross store so had a good community connection already. Now, as a secondhand store, we supply everything from high-end labels to vintage pieces to fit all incomes and tastes. A local mum painted the shop and another decorated the planter drums as a way of enhancing the street for the whole community.

It is a grassroots business that supports the community through creative, sustainable and efficient ways of using resources through upcycling and recycling. Remember – one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure!

What actions are you taking to build on your business success in the coming financial year?

I attend a weekly meeting to exchange ideas about business advertising and marketing, and am looking forward to being involved in some programs around health using activities and music.

2022 National Prospa Local Business Hero Winner

Fenwicks Pharmacy

Congratulations to all the finalists this year and thank you to those who nominated their favourite local business. We are pleased to award Robert Fenwick, owner of Fenwicks Pharmacy in Canterbury, the national winner of the 2022 Prospa Local Business Hero. Robert has been recognised for his ongoing service and support for the community through some of NZ’s toughest times. Fenwicks pharmacy remained open throughout lockdown, and despite this challenge the community recognised the friendly greetings, conversations and smile!