Engel Fires takes home Horizon Small Business Excellence Award 2018


Saturday night was a big one for the Whakatane and Eastern Bay business community. Every two years the Horizon Energy Group Business Excellence Awards is a must attend event for local businesses. And 2018 was no exception. It was hosted again this year by the Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce and a huge amount of work was put into the event

The Whakatane War Memorial Hall was transformed into a glitzy, sparkling events centre with all manner of clever lighting and high tech screens. 450 people were seated and a range of entrees, mains and desserts were delivered by a very efficient team of local high school students.

However, the biggest draw were the announcements of a range of awards recognizing the very best business performances in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The entry process was a rigorous one that required a lot of self-analysis and careful explanations of the most inspiring features of each of the businesses.

Making it to these finals was a huge achievement and every business that was nominated and entered should be proud of their accomplishments.


The big takeaway from the night was that there are a lot of very innovative businesses and organisations in the Eastern Bay. These businesses are run and staffed by remarkable people who are doing great things for the area. A focus on service, innovation, people and sustainability came to the fore time and time again throughout the evening. And it was great to see how involved local iwi are in developing innovative and inclusive businesses and organisations that are bringing opportunities for future growth.

We were all on the edge of our seats when the Toi Ohomai Small Business Excellence award was announced. First up were the Highly Commended awards which went to Engineering Design Consultants and Motu Trails. Then came the big moment…

And the winner is…

O’Hagan Home Loans and Insurances.

Ahhhh… disappointment.

Wait a minute. An announcement. “Because the top two entries were inseparable there is a joint winner in this section”.

And the joint winner is…

Engel Fires Ltd!

Our table was in shock for a minute then Jude and Carl raced to the front to collect the award.

Talk about adding a bit of drama to the occasion!


We are super excited to be recognised by the Eastern Bay community as one its top local businesses. We are humbled by the way we have been welcomed in to the local community and are grateful that we can grow our business in an exceptionally beautiful and inspiring place.

Congratulations to all of the other winners and to those who didn’t leave with a trophy or certificate. We were all winners on the night.


Here is the list of award winners.

Horizon Energy Group Supreme Award Winner

Murupara Four Square

Nova Energy Excellence in Business Large Business Award

Disabilities Resource Centre

Focus Accountants Excellence in Business Medium Business Award

Murupara Four Square

Highly commended

Pohutukawa Preschool

Willets Funeral Services

Manawa Honey

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Excellence in Business Small Business Award

Joint winners

Engel Fires Ltd

O’Hagan Home Loans and Insurances

Highly Commended

Engineering Design Consultants

Motu trails

Julian’s Berry Farm Emerging Business Award


Highly commended

Drift Store

Waiataha Contracting

The Lightning Hub

Bay of Connections Excellence in Sustainability Award

Trident High School

Toi-EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award

Whakatohea Maori Trust Board

Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi Business Entrepreneurship Award

Manawa Honey NZ

LinkUp Toi-EDA Award  

Work Pathways Opotiki College

Highly commended

YTWO Te Pou Oranga o Whakatohea and Opotiki

New World Whakatane Emerging Leader of the Year Award

Amanda Kirk

Highly Commended

Charelle Stevenson

Disabilities Resource Centre Excellence in Service, Creativity and Positive Attitude

Diane Maxwell

Sun FM Leadership Award

Robbie Peterson and Richard Claydon


The team at Engel Fires would also like to sincerely thank the sponsors for these awards. We appreciate your big contributions to business in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.


Horizon Energy Group

Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology

Nova Energy

Focus Chartered Accountants

Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi

Bay of Connections

Bullseye Productions

Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce

Eastern Bay Energy Trust

Event Impressions

Julians Berry Farm and Café

New World Whakatane

LinkUp Eastern Bay of Plenty

SunFM 106.5


Whakatane District Council

Disabilities Resource Centre

Waste Management


Many thanks from the Engel Fires team.

The Engel Fire is an exceptional, precision engineered outdoor fire that also operates as a barbecue, wood fired pizza oven, smoker, rotisserie and char grill. Find out more about our outdoor fires here.

NewsJude Engel