2018 Rotorua Chamber CE Annual Report by Allison Lawton

16 August 2018


As I write my second report, many things have progressed. The first notable change was my move from the interim, to the permanent Chief Executive. This was an easy transition providing the opportunity to drive a range of positive initiatives consolidating the chamber’s strategic position.

Success is achieved when there is a united vision and we have powerful and bold vision for our city. I would like to thank our operational team, which while small, is high in energy, dynamic and work incredibly hard to support achievement of our strategic priorities.

Three year focus and operational KPI’s

In 2017 the board reset the three-year focus providing a medium-term view of how we would work towards our vision, mission and goals. For year one, the operational results are noted below.

Focus year one

Connecting (membership, staff and governance) and systemising operations


The primary objective for year-end 2018 was to achieve financial stability, following years of vulnerability in this area. It is with pleasure I report the chamber achieved the best ever net profit achieved in five years, reporting a profit of $50.4k and therefore achieved this objective as shown below:


As identified in our focus for year-end 2018, it was important we looked at every aspect of our operations to improve efficiency, in order to get the productivity gains, which have in turn flowed into the reported net profit. This required us to analyse every area as noted below:

Operational Excellence:

  • Reviewed all processes and systems
  • Reviewed the organisation structure including roles and responsibilitiesMarketing:• Improved the integrity of the data


  • Developed an integrated media and communications plan
  • Developed a 2017/2018 product development plan
  • Reviewed all events and developed a 2017/2018 event and networking plan
  • Refreshed all collateral with a more professional “look and feel” which reflected our city
  • Developed and executed a sales and retention plan
  • Developed and introduced a new training and development offer for our members which offered staircased training from;
    • Getting Inspired (for everyone)
    • Getting Technical (for front-line staff)
    • Getting Serious (for managers)
    • Getting Global (for governance)

2017 Westpac Rotorua Excellence Business Awards (WREBA)

A critical component of our operational review was ensuring the 2017 WREBA was the best event that we could produce. To that end, we spent time developing a system wide process that could be utilised in years to come. This included;

  • Developing checklists, and at each juncture critiquing every action point
  • Developing a theme that resonated with our community and reflected our aspirations
  • Working closely with Event Impressions, to ensure every aspect of the event was worked through to ensure a smooth and enjoyable event
  • Ensuring the entrant and judging process was smooth, seamless and transparent.It is pleasing to report the event was hailed a success, with some citing it is the best Business Awards held in the previous ten years. The attendance was 570, and in fact we only had one table left to sell, which would have resulted in a “sell-out” event.As part of the post business award wrap-up we held two functions: one with the sponsors to thank them for them contribution and participation, and the second event was for the sponsors and the winners to celebrate and network. As a result of this feedback, changes for the upcoming 2018 WBREA will be made to ensure we continuously improve this fantastic event, which is a celebration of our city.

2017/2018 Strategic Workplan

At the beginning of this financial year, we set up a strategic workplan to ensure we delivered strategic value to our members. The strategic workplan included:

  1. Air New Zealand Scheduling
    • Outcome: To develop a city-wide business case to present to Air New Zealand to reinstate the red-eye from Rotorua to Wellington; and direct flights from Queenstown to Rotorua
      • Result: Achieved red-eye from Rotorua to Wellington
  2. Rotorua Eastern Four Lanes – Transport Solution
    • Outcome: To secure full financial funding to develop a corridor from Tarawera Road to the Airport
      • Result: Not achieved due to change in Government. To note, if National were successful in the government the funding was secured for this transport corridor
  3. EstablishingSectorGroups
    • Outcome: To engage with eight sector groups by chamber Board Members taking responsibility for aligned sectors
      • Result: Sectors group meetings have been held with
        1. Primary Industries, Forestry and Iwi
        2. Retail and Wholesale
        3. Finance, Legal and Professional sector group
        4. Education, Training and Technology
        5. Tourism, Hospitality and Accommodation
        6. CBD Revitalisation Phase II
        7. CBD Capital Investment

The engagement was valuable and as follow-up sector sessions occur, the momentum and activities will increase.

In Summary

As I reflect on the year, I am satisfied we achieved significant outcomes with very limited resources, including myself as a part-time CE, and our small but dynamic team. It has been a rewarding year and one which makes me proud to be living in this city. When I stepped into this role, I felt we did not celebrate our city enough. We have worked hard to celebrate our city; to engage with key business leaders; and to offer a wide range of networking and training opportunities to give our members the choices which best suit their needs.

Nga mihi Allison