In New Zealand we see great profiling sporting heroes and public servants.
However, business people – in particular successful business people – often go without the recognition they deserve and in some cases, receive negative stigma as a result of their efforts and achievements.
The Northern Advocate and New Zealand Chambers of Commerce Northland recognise that the efforts of individual business people are actually the fuel that keeps the economy running. Business people through their individual efforts risk capital, provide jobs, and oil the wheels of the economy.
The Northern Advocate Business Hall of Fame is therefore designed to recognise those who have, during their business career, demonstrated service both to their industry and to the greater Northland community.
Any member of the public can nominate someone for The Northern Advocate Business Hall of Fame. Self-nominations and posthumous nominations may also be accepted. To nominate please contact us with your name and contact details, who you are nominating and why.
2012 – Mike Simm
Mike Simm chairs the board of Competenz the New Zealand Industry Training Organisation for engineering, manufacturing, baking and food and beverage manufacturing industries, the Brightwater Group, a Nelson-based engineering contracting company with strong commitment to youth training and providing opportunities for school-leavers.
An accountant, he worked at Rheem in New Zealand and Australia and at McConnell Group before becoming executive director and shareholder of Fullers Bay of Islands in 1989.
After selling Fullers in 2001, the following year he became a professional director and continued to be active in the tourism industry, serving as a director for the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association and as deputy chairman of Jason Travel Media. He has also served on the board of Enterprise Northland.
He is deputy chairman of Far North electricity lines company Top Energy, which was named New Zealand 2012 Lines Company of the Year in August; and a trustee of the Northland Youth Development Trust and of training sailing ship R Tucker Thompson. The vessel runs courses to develop confidence, teamwork, new skills and leadership in young people.
The trust has also coordinated a number of one-off projects during the years, such as the Northland Enterprising Teachers Conference, The Great Education Property Auckland, and the E4E (education for enterprise) Awards.
Simm is also a committee member for the Northland branch of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, which works to encourage the appointment of Northlanders to boards rather than people brought in from outside the region, and to improve the standard of governance skills in New Zealand business.
2011 – Dave Culham Dave Culham began Culham Engineering in 1958. It was originally a three man business on a labour-only contract to the AFFCO Freezing Works at Moerewa. Today, Culham Engineering is one of the largest fabrication facilities in New Zealand employing around 150 staff (over 200 at its peak). It specialises in the Heavy Engineering and Marine Industry and enjoys an enduring reputation of quality workmanship.
Dave has been the heart and soul of Culham Engineering. He built its reputation through sheer hard work and a commitment to overcoming challenges, of which there have been a few over the years. His catchphrase was ’Illegitimum non carborundum’ (never let them get you down) and the success of Culham Engineering is testatment to this principle.
Culham Engineering has provided stable employment for many tradespeople for over 50 years. In an area of fluctuating employment, the flow on benefits to Northland are significant. Dave’s continued success as a businessman has been recognised through awards and his appointments to various organisations. He is considered a leader in our city and a role model for Northland businesses. (Photo Northern Advocate)
2010 – Monty Knight Monty gained employment firstly in the sign writing business, but quickly became Kaitaia’s first entertainment agent, and opened the first nightclub in town – Sgt Peppers. Monty’s Disc Inn followed, sating the towns appetite for the music of the day, on vinyl of course, and then came Retravision, which is now 100% Monty Knight. Not content with all of this he also dabbled in video hire, and took over the family jewellery business.
1984 saw Monty embark on what many had thought to be a foolhardy and almost impossible venture in planting vines at Okahu estate and becoming a wine producer. However, once again Monty proved his calibre and those sceptics were forced to admit defeat when Okahu’s Kaz Shiraz 1994 won gold and the trophy for other reds at the 1996 Auckland Royal Easter show. Since that success the vineyard has gone onto have great success with countless awards and produces wine from their own estate, and contract grown fruit from around the country.
2009 – Michael Hill From humble beginnings Michael Hill built one of the most recognised brands in Australasia, and left behind them a trail of success and inspiration. From a single store in Whangarei in 1979 they now boast over 1700 staff and 250 stores across New Zealand and Australia, and more recently, in the USA and Canada.
2008 – Tom McKay Tom established McKay Electrical in 1936 and this company has operated throughout NZ and the Pacific. He was active in business continuously apart from 4 years war service and did so for over 70 years. Tom was a distinct individual was well known in Northland for his business acumen and community participation. His business provided growth and economic benefit for Dargaville, Whangarei and Northland. Tom passed away in 2010 aged 103 years.