Kāpiti businesses shine in Wellington Gold Awards

Kāpiti Business: Digital gaming company Garphill Games (see above), creative entity [Māoriland] and beverage company [Koakoa] are Finalists in the Wellington Gold Awards.

Three Kāpiti companies have been announced as finalists in the Wellington Gold Awards which highlight the contribution businesses make to the region’s economy, and showcase talent and capability in the sector.

Digital gaming company Garphill Games, creative entity Māoriland and beverage company Koakoa were selected from the largest group of entrants in the Gold Awards’ 22-year history.

Both Garphill Games and Māoriland are finalists in the Creative Gold category for film, media and creative content. Koakoa is one of only seven finalists in the Emerging Gold (products) category.

Koakoa have since grown their unique brand of limencello and liquors into a booming business, taking out both national and internal awards. They are now recognised as makers of some of the most popular liqueurs and spirits in the capital, using premium local ingredients.

For Koakoa owners Bec Kay and Chris Barber, living and working in Kāpiti makes striking a work/life balance possible, because it’s so easy to get around.

“This morning, I walked from our house to the factory along the beach,” says Ms Kay. “Where else in the world can you do that?”

Both Bec and Chris are no strangers to challenges and have moved to pivot their business in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We quickly saw how important hand sanitiser was and realised we had the base ingredients and know-how to fill a gap in the market. After obtaining a permit from Customs we converted our limoncello and gin factory into a hand sanitiser HQ within 36 hours,” says Mr Barber.

As well as supplying local growers, the couple filled urgent orders for Palmerston North Hospital which had run low on supply. The sanitiser, sold in 10 and 20 litre containers, wasn’t really about making money.

“It’s been great to pay off some bills but the main thing for us was that we were given the opportunity to do something to help others and local suppliers, who we bought ingredients from,” says Mr Barber.

Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan is proud to see three of the district’s innovative businesses being recognised in this year’s awards.

“Māoriland are going from strength to strength and now hosts the largest international indigenous film festival in the Southern Hemisphere, and Garphill Games are at the cutting edge of the digital gaming sector in Wellington, publishing hugely popular titles such as Raiders of the North Sea.

“I’m thrilled to see Kāpiti so well represented, and wish them the best of luck at the ceremony next month,” says Mayor Gurunathan.

The winners will be announced at a dinner held at TSB Arena in Wellington on 17 September.