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Gisborne and Wairoa take two awards

GisVin's Mike Jones was honoured with an Unsung Heroes Award at last night's ExportNZ Hawke's Bay Awards.

The sold-out event was a dinner held at the Toi Toi Hawke's Bay Arts and Event Centre.

True to the name of the award, unsung hero Mike said it was all about the team -— the reason he loved working there, and the reason he won the award.

Mike is the operations manager at GisVin. His role involved “winery logistics” and covered the day-to-day running of the winery, the generation of work orders and making sure everything went to the right place.

He had been full-time at the winery since 2013, but had done 13 harvests with the GisVin crew.

Mike said he was “absolutely surprised” by last night's win.

“I was a bit embarrassed by the situation, but gracefully accepted it. We've got a great team and place to work at GisVin.

“It's great working with the team and I am a people person so harvest time is always good, and I love employing and training staff.”

The Unsung Heroes Award recognises work behind the scenes of exporting companies. Mike shared it with Simon Beale, of T&G Global, and Fidel Russ, of Wood Mallets.

The judges said they couldn't single out anyone, so decided to recognise the three businesses and individuals “who, in their own way, each make a significant difference to exporting in the region”.

The Judge's Choice Award, a discretionary category, was won by Ilana Cheiban of NZ Mecates in Wairoa. The judges said she had done “a supreme job” in carving out a company from scratch, and unanimously wanted to acknowledge NZ Mecates.

They are a small family-owned business, specialising in the manufacture of Californian-style tack for horses, that includes things like saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins and more.

They are of a contemporary design and hand-crafted from natural New Zealand materials.

A win for GisVin: Napier Port chief executive Todd Dawson (left) presents GisVin operations manager Mike Jones with the Unsung Hero Award at last night's ExportNZ Hawke's Bay Awards. Right, the Judges Choice Award was a unanimous vote to acknowledge Ilana Cheiban of NZ Mecates, who is pictured holding the award, with the team from Wairoa District Council and Mayor Craig Little (far right). Pictures supplied
'SUPREME JOB': The Judges Choice Award was a unanimous vote to acknowledge Ilana Cheiban of NZ Mecates, who is pictured holding the award with the team from Waiora District Council and Mayor Craig Little (far right).