It was a colourful scene, with sweet-scented ei katu, fairy lights and welcoming bubbles on arrival creating a great atmosphere.
Guests enjoyed the view of the tranquil blue lagoon as they took part in a night of recognition for young entrepreneurial Cook Islands women under 35 years old, living in the Cook Islands. It was specifically for women who had started their own business from grassroots and made a success of it.
“We wanted to celebrate these fine women,” said MC and local businesswoman Julia Evans. “And we wanted to celebrate their success. In fact, every nominee here tonight was a winner in their own right.”
Eight women were nominated by the wider community of Rarotonga and were interviewed by two judges: Pamela Marshall, wife of New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall, and Vaea Melvin, well-respected local businesswoman and co-owner of Island Craft Ltd, with husband Fletcher Melvin.
Each nominee was given a 30-minute interview and was judged on a number of business development and entrepreneurial criteria. These include their product, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the longevity of their venture and its business integrity. Three finalists were chosen, with the overall winner taking home a prize valued at more than $4,500.
“We reiterate that all those nominated were winners, and we look forward to giving young business women here the opportunity to vie for these awards next year, said Evans. “Running a business here is no easy feat and these women are to be applauded for what they have achieved, despite great obstacles.
“We also want to acknowledge the families and friends that supported these women tonight and have supported them since they first started on their business journey.
The BPW nominees were Vaiana Dance (21.3 Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro), Pareariki Paitai (Sugar Crush). Temanava Macquarie (Laylo Creations), Tevairangi Napa (Vain Studio). Brie Zeman (Turama Photography & Salt Café), Krystina Kauvai-Tatuava (Muri Shore Villas), Ana File-Heather (Fave Designs & Red Door Café) and Fiona Matutu (Tauariki Wear).
The finalists were Vaiana Dance, Fiona Matutu, and Ana File-Heather and an excited File-Heather took out the top award.
BPW thank BSP, The Computer Man, Air New Zealand, The Bond Store, Muri Beach Club Hotel, City Style & Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce for their tremendous support, and the judges for their time.
Thanks also to the family and friends who came to support their nominees.
- Juanita Wynne