The Judges

Judging awards is always a difficult, time-consuming and challenging task, and it's emperative for us that those entrusted with this process are experienced and knowledgeable with regard to all aspects of running a small, micro and home business experience, and can carry out the process with the utmost integrity, objectivity and sensitivity. We are fortunate to have a committed group of fantastic judges on our panel who have given their time voluntarily to helping find New Zealand's heroes in small business ... our "Davids".

Glenn Baker

Glenn Baker's career has generally involved writing, first as a radio creative writer, then as a writer/producer for television, and more recently as a magazine contributor/editor.

Glenn was a business owner in Taranaki for six years, and during this period continued to write for magazines, primarily on business and technology issues.

After exiting the business in 2004, he was offered the position of editor for NZBusiness magazine. "Having experienced the emotional roller-coaster ride of buying into a business and endeavouring to build it up in an extremely tough market sector, I have a real appreciation of what business owners are looking for when it comes to support," he says. The magazine is designed to inform, educate and inspire owner managers.”

Glenn has been editor of NZBusiness now for 12 years, and is currently editor of Exporter magazine (published three times a year) and the fortnightly Exporter Today e-newsletter.


Diane Hurford

Diane Hurford is currently a Director at Brolly Sheets.

Diane’s career started in the ANZ Bank both in NZ and London.  After travelling for 7 years she moved back to NZ and started in travel where she moved from consultant, to manager, to Head Office in the marketing department.  

Once she started her family – she looked at ways she could work and be at home and so started her first business setting up as a rental property company and then onto Brolly Sheets.

The Brolly Sheets story began when she designed a solution to make it very quick and easy to change her daughter’s wet bed in the night during toilet training.  From children she then went on to design and manufacture products for the special needs and senior markets.In business now for over 10 years, Brolly Sheets are sold around the world.  

Diane and her team of six are based in Devonport.  She was the winner of the Transitional Category in the David Awards in 2010 – so she knows what it is like to be on the “other end” of being a judge.

Diane lives in Devonport with her husband Glenn and their two children. 

Pam Martin

Pam Martin

Pam set up her first small business in 2004.  Since then she has experienced many of the challenges that small businesses face.  She has also tasted the success and the satisfaction of working for yourself.

Pam’s current business is Serial Connector.  As a “serial connector” herself Pam understands the power of networking and referrals in a small country such as New Zealand.   She has been a Chapter Development Director for BNI which allowed her to help businesses to get the most out of their networking experience.

Pam has experience of entering business awards reaching the finals in the Westpac, Enterprise North Shore Marketing awards and the Humour in Business Awards.

In 2009 Pam published her book “Beneath the Knowledge Wave”.  This is a collection of stories and observations on the impact poor computer skills have on both individuals and businesses.  Pam believes that our productivity is leaking out through the holes in our skills.

While times have changed there is still a need to help business owners understand the importance of having good systems and effective technology

Pam contributes to a number of training and networking events for small businesses.  She is also involved in the running of the NZ Small Business Summit which aims to give small businesses a voice.


Richard O'Brien

Richard O’Brien is an online business operator who has a production engineering and marketing background. He has worked in a wide range of businesses from small engineering companies to large energy sector corporates. He commenced his career with a General Engineering company in Christchurch where at a young age he went on to run his own business unit. After travelling overseas and doing some work in the UK Construction industry, he moved to Wellington as a commercial engineer with Electricorp Marketing in their wholesale pricing group, later moving back to Christchurch into sales and management roles with the local energy retailer. Richard has started, owned and co-owned a number of small businesses. In 2000 he founded the NZ Business for Sale website - nzbizbuysell, which specialises in listing business opportunities and providing information to help business buyers and sellers get it right. “I always believed it was a very brave person who took a punt on us and paid to put up the very first listing on the internet 16 years ago”. Richard values business innovation, processes and getting results.  

Glenn Smith 

Glenn Smith

Glenn Smith has a background in professional company directorship and management consultancy.

He has worked for clients in New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia, the U.S.A and U.K.   He has been a Director of public and private companies in New Zealand and has held senior positions in large international corporations,  NZ Government agencies and SME’s.

Nowadays, Glenn is the owner and Director of a business consultancy company based in Auckland, and he is an active Director of diverse businesses such as a home renovation firm, a private investment company, and a web-based marketing company.

When he's not working on his own business, Glenn offers his time freely to support a number of small firms as a business mentor.

What past entrants say

As a small business owner it’s very easy to forget and celebrate how far you’ve come because we often think about the future, what’s next and take time to stop, pause and reflect. Also entering the awards allowed us to assess all our systems and processes as to how effective and efficient they are, and by spending time “on the business” rather than “in” allowed us to further tighten our systems and foster new ideas that can be used.

Oh – and winning the Supreme Award and the trophy was terrific too!!!

Sachie Nomura
Sachie's Kitchen, Supreme Winner, The David Awards 2012

I would recommend any small business to enter the David Awards. Winning the Supreme Award was both an honour and surprise, it’s great to be recognised for doing what you love every day.

The whole Pure SEO team gathered in the boardroom to watch the results on the big screen, the reaction when we won was amazing – the entire team were extremely proud.

We have since used momentum from the win to build and grow our business even more.

Richard Conway
Pure SEO, Supreme Winner. The David Awards 2013

Entering the awards allowed us to look at our business from a different angle, celebrate our success and identify areas for improvement. We've come a long way from a suburban garage in Palmerston North... We still both work from home, enjoying the flexible lifestyle rewards; but also the challenges of running what is now a multi-million dollar business with pre-school aged kids sitting underneath the desks and playing in the offices.

The Supreme award was a delightful addition [to the Lifestyle and Transitional awards] and we're sure that we will receive incalculablebenefits from receiving the award

Joe Hesmondhalgh
GroutPro, Supreme Winner, The David Awards 2011

Firstly, it allowed us to apply for an award in the true context of our present situation, that of the little battler struggling to emerge from amongst giants. With most awards this aspect is downplayed. In the case of the David Awards it is celebrated.

Secondly, the categories are reflective of the genuine stages faced by startups. Like the above, this allows us to present ourselves frankly and candidly and be judged in a small business context absent the pressure and sophisticated PR of larger operations. […] That we are privileged to have received this award means we can, on our website and other marketing material and in conversation, drop in the fact that we are 'winners'.

To have been externally judged and found meritorious, especially in a place as small as NZ, is very valuable. We will lean on this honour for years to come.

Andre Prassinos
Bio Brew, Winner: Most Outstanding Transitional Business, The David Awards 2012.

Winning the 2010 Supreme Award secured us some great publicity as well as additional credibility with new customers.

The whole David Awards experience also gave me confidence and impetus to really push forward in overseas markets. As a result we have recently experienced some encouraging success breaking into the Australian market and we’re building a successful relationship with a UK partner.

Jackie Rive
Brookby Herbs, Supreme Winner, The David Awards 2010.

We are just so humbled by this result. We never expected to win both the categories we entered, let alone the top prize. We are blown away by this recognition, and by the feedback we are receiving from our community.

Just entering The David Awards was an opportunity to reflect on what our team has done in our short time as a company, and celebrate many small achievements where we have helped people. It’s brought our team closer together and reminded me personally why I started this business.

To be a finalist was an honour in and of itself. To win Most Outstanding Fledgling Business and Most Community-Minded Business is so humbling. To win the Supreme Award as well… I’m almost at a loss for words.

Blair Ashdowne
Heat Pumps NOW, Supreme Winner, The David Awards 2015.

I think the entry format is great. the informal nature of the awards ceremony (some of them are just money-making spinners and all a load of hype). Can't wait to get my subscription of NZ Business!

2015 post-Awards survey

It's great that there is an awards group for small-medium businesses around NZ where everyone has a chance to show their stuff. It's not industry specific and it's easy to enter. Don't change that aspect.

2015 post-Awards survey

I can confidently say the David Awards for us was great in terms of great PR, new clients (even this week we got a client who saw our article in NZ Business after we won), and of course the thrill. But for me, the best part was seeing how my team felt about us winning this together and watching them grow in confidence of who we are and how we do things.

It was an amazing boost within the first two years of business – like any business owner, even when things are going well, there is a huge responsibility to deliver to both your team and to your clients. To celebrate that hard work and know others have seen your success is just the best feeling.

Rachel Klaver
Identify Marketing & Consulting Ltd, Supreme Winner, The David Awards 2016
We are so thrilled and excited to find out that we are the winners!  Can't put in words how highly we appreciate your trust in us!
Ana Lyubich
I just wanted to send a quick email to that you so much for my Lifestyle Business Award and for the judges comments and feedback.  

I am just so thrilled and this is such motivation to continue to grow my flexible business model to help other in achieving a greater life balance.

Katie Rogers
Kate the Gardener