Rural Women NZ has announced the finalists for its third annual Enterprising Rural Women Awards.
The South Island winner, sponsored by Telecom, is Lisa Harper of Sherrington Grange.
Lisa supplies accommodation, food and educational experiences to a niche market on her farm in the Marlborough Sounds. Lisa has built on family tradition and the skills she learned as a child, and now produces some of the best cheeses in New Zealand.
She has developed a wide range of goats’ and cows’ milk cheeses, including full strength European-style cheeses that are not common here. Deliberately cross-marketing her products and services, Lisa also caters for the growing market of travellers who seek experiences, rather than simply accommodation. Many visitors come to take one of Lisa’s cheese making classes as part of their Marlborough Sounds’ stay.
The North Island winner is Nestling, a business run by sisters Maria-Fe Rohrlach and Bernadine Guilleux.
Based in Mamaku, Rotorua, Nestling produces organic merino and cotton baby wraps and slings. The judges were impressed by Nestling’s use of New Zealand materials and their commitment to manufacturing onshore, as well as their innovative designs, where modern fabrics and colours are fused with the traditional methods of wrapping and carrying babies.
Judges were Liz Evans, Rural Women New Zealand’s National President, Tina Symmans, Telecom’s director of corporate relations, and John Ayling, chairman of Access Homehealth.
The awards aim to celebrate rural business women and promote their achievements. Among criteria judges consider are: innovation, rural enterprise, points of difference; product and service quality, meeting compliance requirements, environmental awareness; marketing and promotion, including evidence that the business is progressing; financial performance and economic inputs into the rural community; staff management and/or personal development.
The North and South Island winners will attend the Awards ceremony at the RWNZ national conference on Friday 20 May when the overall winner will be announced.