The Judges

It is with a heavy heart and profound empathy for the difficulty and uncertainty small businesses throughout New Zealand are currently facing that we have decided not to hold The David Awards 2020.

We know that small businesses will be facing enormous challenges and that what the future holds will differ for each of you. For some, the painful reality is that nothing will save your current business. For others, Covid-19 presents opportunities which didn’t previously exist and you may be struggling to adapt and keep up. Many will fall between these two extremes, but wherever your business sits, we have no doubt you have far bigger things on your mind right now - and rightly so - than entering awards. 

What we also know, from more than a decade of small and home businesses sharing their challenges and successes with us, is that small businesses are agile, resilient, creative and very necessary to New Zealand. Every year entrants have demonstrated how, after immense adversity, they have picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, taken a long, hard look at their situation, the challenges and opportunities, adapted what they are doing and stepped up to the mark. Their nimbleness, determination and perseverance have been invaluable in equipping them for the fray. And they have come out the other side stronger, wiser and having found ways to conquer the obstacles or circumvent the roadblocks they encountered along the way.

Like you, many of the judges and organisers of The David Awards are fighting fires in their own businesses and employment situations. We understand not only the stress of steering a business through this time of change and upheaval, but the huge toll it takes at a personal level too.

We would, however, like to share an observation with you. The high number of business failures in the small and home business sector is often cited - and misinterpreted - as a sign of how fragile this sector is. We say to you it is actually a sign of its resilience, because if one bothers to dig a little deeper the picture which emerges is not one of a business failing, but often of a business morphing into something else. Something which is built of sterner stuff and based on a little more experience.

We know you need time to evaluate, plan, tackle the challenges and even heal. In recognition of the extraordinary times we are facing together at present, we are dedicating The David Awards 2020 to all small business owners throughout Aotearoa.

And we want you to know each and every one of you is a true “David” in our eyes.

You are not alone, we know you are resilient and there is light at the end of the tunnel, whether you can see it now or not.

We salute you.

Finally, we encourage you to draw on help which is available.

Overview of support for employers and the self-employed
Overview of other financial support
Overview of some mental health support and tools here and here
Official Covid-19 information

We expect to be back bigger and better than ever in 2021 and look forward to hearing some amazing stories of triumph and fortitude then. In the meantime, be kind to yourselves and each other.

Kia Kaha.

Heather and the Team at The David Awards.

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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".

Diane Hurford

Diane Hurford is the founder of global bed wetting brand Brolly Sheets. As the start up’s sole employee she was responsible for product and website design, inventory management, order fulfillment and customer experience, she has the proven experience of what it means to run a small business.  

The Brolly Sheets journey began for Diane 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.  Diane’s principles embodied in Brolly Sheets are of products that are comfortable (cotton), look great and are functional.  Plus they must be both easy care and great value for money. 

These attributes bought Brolly Sheets attention beyond the market stall and early ecommerce website.  Brolly Sheets was the David Award’s Most Outstanding Transitional Business in 2010 and is a past winner in the Westpac Business Awards and has also been one of the Deloittes Fastest Growing 50 NZ companies.  

Brolly Sheets has further enhanced its reputation for quality waterproof bedding solutions by adding products for Seniors, people with a disability and pets. 

As a past entrant in the David Awards, Transitional Category she knows what it is like to be on the other side of the judging table.

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.

As a “serial connector” herself Pam understands the power of networking and referrals in a small country such as New Zealand.   She is a Director/Consultant for BNI which allows her to help businesses to get the most out of their networking experience. Pam also has a Health and Wellness business.

Pam has experience of entering business awards reaching the finals in the Westpac Enterprise North Shore Marketing awards and the Humour in Business Awards.  She recognises the value of entering the awards even if you don’t win as it gives you a chance to really assess what you have achieved and where your business plans to go next.

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

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.


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 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 15 years, and is also the editor of ExporterToday – an online resource for export companies – and the annual NZ Export & Trade Handbook.