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Business sales set to grow: LINK Business

Low interest rates, retiring baby boomers, returning expats, migration and growing business confidence as New Zealand remains Covid-19-free is contributing to a “cautiously optimistic” Canterbury business community, according to LINK Business Brokers’ latest market update.


LINK Business Brokers at the recent REINZ Awards


LINK Christchurch Sales Manager Katherine Shepherd says local Canterbury businesses have found themselves in a better position than they were twelve months ago, despite the uncertainty and fear experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown.

In fact, the company recorded the busiest year in its 24 year history to October 2020.

LINK also had a clean sweep at the latest REINZ awards – winning all available business brokerage industry awards. The Christchurch office won Small Business Brokerage of the Year.

So what’s fuelling the activity? Key indicators include: Low interest rates; government policy creating potential for more focus on business lending; baby boomers retiring and selling up; returning expats looking for small business ventures over employment, and business confidence building the longer we remain Covid-19 free.

Other factors include: Migration (especially to the South Island); the lack of a Capital Gains Tax, and a growing attitude to the security building equity by running your own business can bring.

Katherine says New Zealand is very much the envy of the world at the moment.

“If you are looking to sell up and retire or buy that perfect business, 2021 could just be the year to make it happen.”


The Influencers: John Bridgman

Ōtākaro Limited
Chief Executive

Because Ōtākaro Limited was born out of the response to a natural disaster, we’ve never lived in a “business as usual” environment.

This inherent agility has enabled us to continue to make good progress on Christchurch’s Anchor Projects in a year that ranks right up there with the most unusual the world has known.

To regain momentum, contractors got back to work post-lockdown quickly, successfully implementing social distancing measures on sites where nationalities and languages are as numerous as the façade tiles on Te Pae.

This rapid return to work allowed us to keep funnelling millions of dollars into the community through a nervous construction sector, at a time when many people were worrying about their jobs.

So, while the doors may not have swung open at the convention centre this year as planned, it has still served us well.

This year the Metro Sports Facility has sprung out of the ground.

It’s a towering steel skeleton reminding all who travel along Moorhouse Ave that Christchurch will be home to one of the country’s top sports and recreation facilities.

The South Frame is now close to 90 percent complete and 95 percent of the first 172 homes in the East Frame have been sold.

There’s also a 100 percent chance the award-winning Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct will be finished next year, when we open the North Frame pedestrian bridge.

So even though it may be through a mask, there has still been plenty of progress to smile about this year.
Happy holidays.


Carving out change: Ricoh Pandemic Pivot

What do you do when all your business instantly stops? For one Christchurch business, Moko Pounamu, it meant completely changing business models and moving from a wholesaler of beautiful greenstone and bone carvings – to a retailer.



The greenstone and bone carving specialists have supplied beautiful New Zealand keepsakes for the country’s souvenir gift shops since the early ‘90s. When the Covid-19 pandemic saw the end of international tourism, founder Deane Moreton knew he had to act quickly to save not just his business – but the jobs of his carvers, sales reps and distribution staff, too.

“When the announcement was made that borders were closing, everything just stopped dead,” he says. “People stopped ordering; the orders just stopped.

“Over lockdown I put a lot of thought into what I was going to do next and how I was going to keep the business going for my staff for the next year or two until the tourists come back.”

And so, a retail website and store were born. Moko Pounamu now sells directly to consumers online and at a bricks and mortar premises on Durham Street.

“There is a lovely sense of patriotism in New Zealand at the moment to support New Zealand businesses and New Zealand-made products, and we have seen that people want a piece of pounamu to give to their family members.

“It’s not just in New Zealand either, though. We have had orders from Switzerland, Hungary, England, Australia and the US.”

The shift has also meant the business has been able to employ more local carvers making more bespoke, one-off pieces.

“We’ve always had production in New Zealand, but one thing we have found is there’s lots of talented carvers who don’t have their own marketing or sales channels, so now we can provide that for them while offering customers beautiful one-off designs.”

Visit the Moko Pounamu retail store at 340 Durham Street, or online at


Ricoh Pandemic Pivot

All in the family: North Canterbury Energy Centre

It has built its reputation as being one of the most trusted names in cooling and heating solutions because it is a family owned and operated business dedicated to delivering a high standard of customer service.



North Canterbury Energy Centre (NCEC) is headed by Tracey and Joanne Brown, with sons, Joshua and Jarrad, and daughters, Hollie and Zoe, making up the engineering, installation, operations and communications team.

“A family business makes for a better business; it makes for a higher morale. Everyone gets stuck in,” says Operations Manager, Hollie.

The business focuses on both the commercial and home sector, as specified below.

• Heat-pumps/air conditioning
• Ventilation
• Heat transfer systems
• Log burners

The NCEC showroom at 694 Lineside Road, Rangiora, showcases heat-pumps and premium log burners, and the team will happily discuss customer requirements and offer expert advice.

With a branch also at Kaikoura, booking a consultation with NCEC is your next greatest move.

Phone (03) 313 0531 or 0800 NC HEAT for Canterbury and (03) 319 7559 for Kaikoura.


Do you need Devine intervention? Michael Devine Insurance

Independent and professional advice. That’s what clients receive when they discuss their insurance needs with Michael Devine.



“It’s forming strong personal relationships with clients so they know they can trust us and the insurance solutions we develop for them. A real empathy for each client and their individual circumstances is key to creating the right portfolio for them. It’s not a one-size fits all situation.”

“I’ve been in the industry for more than three decades. That longevity coupled with being a qualified QFE Advisor with a diploma in financial services are vital to understanding clients’ needs and finding the best selection of insurance products to secure their family, their home and their lifestyle against any misfortune.”

“We offer advice on all personal and business insurance and can provide clients with a package that fits their current concerns. Personal insurance ranges from life insurance, health insurance and income assurance to trauma assurance and mortgage repayment assurance. Business insurance might be partnership assurance, key person assurance or disability income protection.”

They can call me on (03) 341 0000 or 027 437 9119.


Local business stories on show

Stories of hospitality, social enterprise, horticulture, healthcare, tech and art are amongst those shared as part of a campaign which highlighting business growth in Waitaha Canterbury recently.



Westpac and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce’s Canterbury Business Champions campaign is a digital evolution of the organisation’s annual Westpac Champion Business Awards.

People were encouraged to give a shout out to a local business, team or individual or share their own story throughout October and early November.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the initiative aimed to create a place to share the “best kept secrets” of the region and reinforce the role that business plays in our wider community.

“Throughout the last few months, we have talked to thousands of businesses and have heard some amazing stories of innovation, nimbleness, determination, collaboration and kindness, so we wanted to provide a platform to share those stories and celebrate our business champions who contribute to the strong quality of life the people in Ōtautahi Christchurch and Waitaha Canterbury enjoy,” says Leeann.

One business nominated was 27 Seconds wines (pictured). The Chapman family donate 100% of the profits of their Canterbury-grown wine to end child slavery.

The business is named after the UNICEF statistic that estimates that 1.2 million children are sold into slavery every year. When you break that down it works out to be one every 27 seconds.

“While in a normal year, we could showcase some of those businesses at our annual awards ceremony, this year we decided to take the celebration online, given the uncertainty of running events during Covid-19, and focus on collectively championing all businesses – as there has never been a better time to share positive stories about our business community than right now.”

Westpac was the lead sponsor for the campaign, and South Island Area Manager Commercial, Mark Forward, said the initiative provides an opportunity to recognise the resilience, determination and creativity of Canterbury businesses.

All individuals who shared a story went in the draw to win $18,000 worth of prizes.


The business of discovery: The Vintro Room

The excitement of the chase and discovering unique and collectable pieces is what drives Maddie Hatton who opened her shop, The Vintro Room, just two weeks before the country went into lockdown.



“The timing wasn’t great,” says Maddie. “And I admit I had my doubts about whether we could make this work, but we had a lot of support from neighbouring retailers and are starting to build a regular base of customers and thanks to them, it has gradually built up.”

It has been many years since Merivale had an antique shop, art gallery or a shop full of unique and vintage collectables so The Vintro Room, which combines all three, is a welcome addition.

Maddie has always been a hunter and collector of art and antiques, and puts the blame firmly on her parents for her inability to pass up going to auctions or sorting through estates in search of the perfect piece.

“They are collectors too, and my brother has his own business in Perth as a designer and manufacturer of art in steel, so The Vintro Room was probably an inevitable and very happy outcome for me.”

Based at 186 Papanui Road, beside the Nurse Maude Hospice Shop, The Vintro Room is open from 10am to 2pm Tuesday to Saturday with new stock arriving every day.

“We deliberately keep the prices very reasonable and rely on a fairly quick turnover so there’s always something new to see. We also have people coming in and asking if we buy, which we do if it fits.”

Success in this field takes a good eye and a whole lot of research, and Maddie says a large part of the attraction of this business is the constant learning.

“There will always be pieces you’ve not seen before or haven’t got much information to go on,” she says. “So good research is important. You also need to be aware that art, antiques and collectables go in and out of fashion cycles like anything else, so what’s highly desirable one year can fail to achieve a good price the next.”

Maddie is also mother to a very active two-year-old and busy six-year-old – so running a business can be quite a juggling act.

“Having the support of family and friends is what has made this possible,” says Maddie. “Even my husband has stopped raising an eyebrow when I come back with yet another car-load of stock. Although I suspect this is only because he knows it will be going straight out again.”

While every business can have its moments and life is certainly being lived at a breakneck pace at the moment, Maddie can’t imagine doing anything else.

This will no doubt come as very welcome news to her customers.


Getting down to business: NAI Harcourts

For many, 2020 has proven to be a gamechanger, with lockdown providing the opportunity for a lifestyle reassessment.


“We’re finding a lot of people are looking for employment alternatives,” NAI Harcourts Grenadier Business Sales Manager Athol McCully says.

“They may have gone through lockdown and reassessed, they’ve lost their job and they’re looking to get into a business of their own and there are vendors who have decided it might be time for them to move on, particularly if they’re nearing retirement.”

With the largest team of NAI Harcourts business brokers in New Zealand, Harcourts Grenadier can guide you through the buying and selling process, ensuring everything is simple and straightforward.

“We have a huge amount of experience within our team and sell a wide range of businesses,” Athol says.

“We’ve also got a lot of qualified purchasers looking for businesses right now.”

Athol has the hands-on experience of 25-years of business ownership and operation and more than 15-years as a business broker.

“We have such a strong team of 10 here, with a huge amount of experience – three of our business brokers each have over 15 years’ experience in business sales. We cover business sales from cafés to motels to agricultural businesses and everything in between.

“If you’re considering buying or selling a business, get in touch with myself or our team and we can take you through the process. It’s a well-worn path, but it’s a process we go through to get a successful outcome for buyer and seller.”


Thinc-ing big

Artificial Intelligence, aerospace technology and acid recycling are some of the local Canterbury business startups benefitting from a recent partnership between the University of Canterbury and economic development agency, ChristchurchNZ.



ThincLab is a startup incubator at UC’s Centre of Entrepreneurship (UCE) and part of Callaghan Innovation’s Founder Incubator, focusing on propelling locally grown business ideas with global ambition in the aerospace, future transport, food, fibre and agritech, healthtech and high tech services sectors.

A recent memorandum of understanding was signed with the Christchurch City Council’s economic development agency, ChristchurchNZ to help grow these ambitious local ideas by connecting them to the business community, and commercialising research.

ThincLab provides startups with space to work and with mentors and investors in Australia, Singapore and Europe. It also provides programmes and webinars and in time, students and ThincLab members may get experience working in international markets.

Three student startups developing under ThincLab Canterbury are already benefitting from the partnership.

Vxt, a mobile app which uses AI to manage and automate voice messages; Zincovery, which recycles spent acid and recovers pure zinc, and Kea Aerospace which is building the largest unmanned solar powered aircraft in the southern hemisphere to take high resolution, large area aerial images for precision agriculture, environmental monitoring and disaster management.

UCE director and ThincLab Canterbury Programme Director Dr Rachel Wright says Canterbury is in a unique position to reposition itself “as an innovative and agile city ready and able to respond to changes in our business environment”.


Best business resources

These last few months have been tough for everyone. But it’s arguably our local small to medium enterprises that have felt the strain of quarantine the most. Thankfully, there are some resources available for support and we’ve collated a list of places you can go for help, advice or support.


CANTERBURY EMPLOYERS’ CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Collates all of the official information on COVID-19 as it relates to business operation and puts it all in one place. Their team of experts also offer great business advice during these unusual times.

OTHER BUSINESSES: Sometimes the best people to turn to are the those that are in the same boat as you. Reach out to other companies in your trade and see how they’re coping and what you can all do to support one another.

SOS CAFÉ: This not-for-profit initiative was set up to support local businesses, specifically cafés, restaurants, bars and eateries, through the purchasing of vouchers. These can be redeemed later, when it’s safe to do so.

MINISTRY OF AWESOME: This is the starting point for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in Christchurch, which means they’ve got the support, guidance, capability training and networks entrepreneurs need to succeed.

COVID COLAB 20: A public Facebook page that was set up to support the community and the business industry, it is all about collaboration and bouncing off each other creatively.

CHRISTCHURCH SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE CENTRE (CSBEC): CSBEC offers a range of services to start-up and existing micro and small business owners. These include business facilitation and consultancy, marketing advice and reports, management planning and budgeting, finance advice and training courses.