Export Southland Recognition Dinner

One of the highlights on the Southland Chamber of Commerce calendar is the biennial Export Southland Recognition Dinner. Organised by the Export Southland Committee, the dinner has become a prestigious and popular event. It features a variety of quality local export food, an evening of entertainment and award presentations. Formed in 2000 as ‘The Southland Export Forum’ and re-branded in 2012, Export Southland works to achieve four main purposes:

  1. Represent exporters’ views on policy issues
  2. Promote networking, educational and social events
  3. Recognise significant business and individual contributions to the export sector
  4. Assist start-up export orientated businesses

The awards offer the exporting industry a chance to acknowledge exporters who best characterise the values of the exporting industry. The presentations include the announcement of recipients of the HSBC Southland Export Trust Grant and three Recognition Awards. In past years the grant has assisted many local export businesses towards developing their products and chosen international markets. The evening also provides an opportunity to recognise individuals who have made a significant contribution within the Southland export sector.

The awards recognise the value of export activity to the Southland economy and celebrate the role leading individuals and businesses make to the region’s economic well being. The awards dinner is an excellent opportunity for exporters and supporters to come together and celebrate a vibrant export sector.

Nominations can be made by members of the public, and individuals and companies can also nominate themselves. Nominations are not guaranteed to be recognised, but they will be considered for the reasons put forward to the Export Southland Committee.

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Past Events

22 September 2018

Southland Export Business Award Winners

The Export Southland Recognition Awards were held tonight, Friday 21 September at the Ascot Park Hotel. The Export Southland Trust hosted the Minister for Trade & Export Growth Hon. David Parker and over 250 other dignitaries, export businesses and their supporters at the prestigious awards dinner, a record number of attendees.

Export Southland Chairman Graham Dick said “The awards are a fantastic night to recognise significant export contribution from Southland and encourage new and potential exporters which aligns with the theme for this year – Taking Southland to the World.”

A record number of applications for the various categories is evidence of the intense interest and enthusiasm in the export sector. My congratulations to all recipients of awards and to the two recipients of cash grants from the Export Southland Trust and HSBC, good luck as you move onto the international stage.

The highlight of the evening was the awarding the Corporate Recognition Award to Blue River Dairy for their contribution to the Southland economy from exporting sheep milk infant formula to China and the Individual Recognition Award to Mark O’Connor, former CEO of Southport for his decades of contribution to the export sector with the development of South Port and of freight logistics.”

The Export Southland Recognition Award winners are:

Export Southland; Innovation in Export Recognition Award

Finalists; Blue River Dairy, Lillipad, Southland Disability Enterprises, FI Innovations.

WINNER: FI Innovations

AIR NZ National Cargo; Service to Export Individual Recognition Award

WINNER: Mark O’Connor

HSBC; Organisation Recognition Award

WINNER: Blue River Dairy

Recipients of the 2018 HSBC Export Southland Trust Grant are:

  • Say It Clearly – Miriam McKenzie $9,000
  • Gathered Game – Chris & Sally Thorn $5,000

The purpose of the Trust Grant is to assist Southland businesses involved in export to aspire towards a sustainable environment, which supports the employment of a skilled workforce through the involved of training, promotion, and education up-skilling, as well as research and development.

At their discretion, the Trust Committee offers a grant/s to the applicant/s who demonstrate that their exporting activity will enhance skills, employment, and development in the Southland region within the export sector.


The Export Southland Recognition Awards are a biennial event alternating with the Westpac Southland Business Excellence Awards and have become a prestigious and popular event.

They are facilitated by the Southland Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Export Southland Trust.

The four main purposes of Export Southland are:

  • Represent exporters’ views on policy issues
  • Promote networking, education and social events
  • Recognise significant business and individual contributions to the export sector
  • Assist start-up export orientated businesses