According to one of the country’s leading event and catering companies, Urban Gourmet, New Zealand businesses have not stopped holding client and staff functions, despite the tighter economy. Instead, organisations are getting increasingly creative with
their budgets.

‘We have definitely noticed companies becoming more innovative,’ says Sophie Lister, Events Manager at Urban Gourmet. ‘For example, we have seen a massive jump in the number of businesses choosing a fork food style of catering for their events, instead of the more expensive formal sit down dinner.

‘Businesses are also altering the structure of their events, making them shorter but more compact. They are striving to use their time more effectively.’

The downturn in the economy has also caused businesses to become more discerning about event locations:

‘Companies are realising that there a large number of venues around, with a variety of different price points,’ explains Sophie. ‘It pays to shop around and make sure you get the best value for money.

Sophie is pleased that New Zealand businesses are still recognising the importance of staff and client events, despite the tougher times that everyone is going through.

‘It is very important to companies that they keep holding events,’ explains Sophie. ‘They have to be seen to be out there, working for their clients and keeping them happy.

‘Employee events are equally as important,’ adds Sophie. ‘They keep morale up and demonstrate that the company acknowledges how vital good employees are to the success and future of the business. If a company has always held a particular event and then stops completely, it can come as a nasty shock. Staff members will understand if the event is scaled back and the company can’t spend as much but it is important to still have something.’

On top of this, New Zealand based event and catering companies are realising that they need to make their own adjustments to cater for tighter budgets. Urban Gourmet has adapted a number of its menus to suit customers that might not have a huge amount of money to spend but still desire good quality food and a superior level of service. A recent addition is the rustic Bistro Menu which includes a selection of high quality, innovative dishes but is $10 a head less expensive than Urban Gourmet’s other menus.

For more information on Urban Gourmet, visit


New Zealand’s unique climate and botanicals have put it at the forefront of a boom in natural sun and skin care, according to up and coming health and beauty company, Oasis Beauty NZ.

Co-founder of Oasis Beauty, Stephanie Kimpton, says: ‘Here in New Zealand we are faced with some harsh climate conditions, with sun damage to skin being especially prevalent. We’ve developed a particular understanding of sun and skin care solutions that will effectively help people to repair their skin and protect it from the elements, as well as being affordable and a pleasure to use.’

Global sales of natural and organic cosmetics are increasing by over US $1 billion a year, with most demand concentrated in Europe and North America. Preliminary research shows that European sales exceeded US $2 billion for the first time in 2008.

Stephanie points out: `Research shows that in comparable markets sales of natural personal care products nearly doubled between 2002 and 2005, with the market for natural and organic products increasing by more than 20% a year. It’s expected that the natural cosmetics market will report the highest growth in the coming years.

Oasis Beauty has launched a new publicity campaign to support its popular range of professional New Zealand made sun and skin care solutions. The new look PR and advertising is being led by Auckland based communications consultancy, Intermediary Communications.
The Oasis Beauty sun and skin care line consists of a wide selection of naturally inspired products that have been designed to be highly effective in enhancing the skin’s condition and appearance.

Stephanie believes that the Oasis Beauty sun and skin care products are ideal for anybody wanting to protect their skin and improve how it looks and feels:

‘We are dedicated to providing our customers with exactly what they want. Years of listening to feedback has helped us create the professional Oasis Beauty range. We are very excited about relaunching the range and bringing the collection to more people across New Zealand.’

Sun and skin care solutions in the Oasis Beauty range include:

· Oasis Sun SPF30 – Uncoloured and un-fragranced, Oasis Sun is a non-greasy, non-whitening sunscreen that is safe for the whole family, aged 6 months up, to use, including those with sensitive skin

· An Apple a Day Moisturiser- a SPF 25 day moisturiser that harnesses the power of natural apple AHA's to help the skin maintain its youthful glow by smoothing away rough-textured skin to make way for new cells. The broad-spectrum SPF25 sunscreen protects the skin from cellular damage and premature ageing caused by sun exposure

· Rhino Repair Cream - a potent healing remedy for excessively dry skin, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, bites, bruises and where skin requires serious soothing and healing. Formulated for use on face and body

All Oasis Beauty products are formulated from the highest quality organic, natural and ethical ingredients. No harsh chemicals, dyes or carcinogens are used and none of the products are tested on animals. The products are available online or from selected stockists and beauty therapists nationwide.

For more information visit


I've just found this rather nifty new online tool called What Does the Internet Think? It somehow calculates the number of positivity and negativity surrounding a particular word/phrase/place on the internet. I'm not sure how accurate it can be but it's fun to play with if you need to rest your brain from the media release or communications plan you're working on.

Oh yeah. I typed advertising and public relations into the 'WDIT' search function. Public Relations came back 87.9% positive, 7.5% negative and 4.6% don't care. Advertising came back 57.9% negative and only 33% positive! I'm not sure what this tells us about the state of the PR industry but it made me chuckle all the same!


Our client, Lumino The Dentist, spoke to the Herald on Sunday late last week, warning New Zealanders that cutting back on regular dental care when times are tough could prove to be a false economy :

To help people out, Lumino is offering a number of interest free deals and payment holidays, through such cards as Q Card and Farmers Card. You can find out more about these options by clicking here.

For those that are still keen to indulge in a bit of luxury, Lumino has slashed the price of tooth whitening. They are offering the Opalescence Tooth Whitening System for a limited period only for $299 for a take-home formulation (around half the usual price).

For more information on Lumino The Dentists, visit


Leading private education provider, New Zealand Management Academies (NZMA), has launched a drive to boost the numbers of international students coming to New Zealand, claiming there’s never been a better time to benefit from studying in one of the safest countries in the world.

NZMA has started an integrated marketing campaign across student-centred media using, advertising, public relations and web based programmes to present information about studying in New Zealand in ways which are relevant to the new technology savvy generation.

Managing Director, Tim Cullinane explains: ‘New Zealand is officially the safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual ranking of the world's nations on the basis of how peaceful they are but it is also an extremely exciting, interesting and beautiful place to visit. The cost of living is low compared to a lot of similar countries and standard of living is high. Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant city and the base for NZMA, was recently identified as fourth best city in the world for quality of living.’

Central to NZMA’s international campaign is a highly interactive, user-friendly website ( The website offers in-depth information about the Business, Hospitality and practical, career focussed English Language courses on offer at NZMA, as well as a guide to life in New Zealand. A discussion forum, blog and details of how to apply for study programmes also feature on the website.

‘Studying with NZMA in New Zealand can provide an excellent opportunity to learn valuable English speaking skills and get to know other cultures,’ explains Tim. ‘Students can also study towards vocational qualifications, in Business and Hospitality, which will hugely enhance their employment opportunities anywhere in the world.

Past student, Zhao Zhen Paddy believes that studying towards a National Diploma in Hospitality Management at NZMA provided him with the skills and confidence that he needed to pursue his rewarding career in China.

‘I have my dream job,’ says Zhao. ‘I don’t think I would have been offered the position without my English language skills and my NZMA hospitality management diploma. NZMA have fantastic industry functions which help us to practice, gain confidence and showcase our skills to the industry. Also it’s like one big family, because everyone makes you feel so welcome.’
For more information on studying in New Zealand visit