The new Pacific Islands Business Mentoring Programme has been launched in Samoa. Five volunteer mentors from Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) landed in the country on Monday.

Samoa is one of 11 Pacific island countries to be included in the BMNZ managed project over the next three years with funding provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Samoa is the third country to have welcomed the initiative. The first two recipients were the Cook Islands in May and Tonga in June.

The programme aims to assist small and medium sized businesses in the Pacific to manage and grow their businesses in a way that supports sustained increases in production and employment over time. It is hoped the programme will be a catalyst for identifying other business needs such as training, and create opportunities for partnerships and joint ventures, and increased Pacific exports, including to New Zealand.

Litia Brighouse, Executive Officer at the Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the BMNZ agent for the scheme, says: `The economy in Samoa is slowly picking up, after the impact of the global recession, but it will take a while for business confidence levels and productivity to return to the levels they were at. Sitting down with an experienced NZ mentor will help our business owners spot weaknesses and opportunities for growth that they may not have considered before. It will also enable them to widen their skill sets so that they can get through these more difficult times and move forwards, in a positive direction.’

Ian Furlong, Pacific Manager at Business Mentors, adds: ‘The things that Samoan business owners need assistance with are quite similar to elsewhere in the Pacific Islands. Human resources, business planning, use of financial information and I.T are all areas that many would appreciate some help and guidance around.

'We’ve had a fantastic response from local businesses in Samoa and have received applications from a very diverse cross section of industries,’ adds Ian. ‘As well as the positive response from business owners, there has also been strong government support, especially from Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Misa Telefoni Retzlaff. It has been really encouraging to see them put their full weight behind promoting the initiative and making sure that company owners are made aware of the benefits of mentoring.’

Prime Minister John Key announced the development of the new Pacific Business Mentoring Programme last year to provide practical support for Pacific businesses, explaining: ‘Many of the Pacific business people I have met recently have told me how useful it would be for them to have greater access to business advice and mentoring from New Zealand.’


Comins Care Chemist, based in Cambridge has become the latest store to join Care Chemist, New Zealand’s fastest growing community pharmacy group.

Cliff Comins, owner of Comins Care Chemist explains: ‘The Care Chemist offer appealed to me as it means we will receive valuable assistance with our systems, staff training and marketing. Yet we will still be able to retain our individuality. We will also benefit from group buying discounts and the high profile of the Care Chemist brand. It was definitely the right decision for us and I’m looking forward to working with the group and taking the business forward.’

‘At the end of the day, it’s all about providing the people that come into the store with the best experience possible,’ adds Cliff. ‘Being part of a group will enable us to spend more time doing what we are good at; looking after our customers.’

Care Chemist spokesperson, Anthony Yee, says: ‘We are delighted with the new addition to the Care Chemist team. Cliff has a very warm and welcoming personality and is exactly what we look for in a Care Chemist. Both he and his employees enjoy interacting with their customers and helping them to discover ways to manage their medical conditions or stop them occurring in the first place. They are all very enthusiastic about their role as ‘health coach’ to the local community.

‘Comins Care Chemist embodies everything that we strive for, focusing on the customer and providing them with a superior professional healthcare service.’

Comins Care Chemist can be found at 67, Victoria Street, Cambridge.

For more information on Care Chemist, visit the website here


Taking the message that men need to be more aware of the importance of looking after their health, directly to the workplace, has just received a major shot in the arm thanks to TOWER Limited, one of New Zealand’s leading investment and insurance companies.

Men’s Health Trust New Zealand has signed a three year corporate sponsorship with TOWER, which will help fund the Trust’s workplace programme.

Men in New Zealand live on average, four years less than women, and death rates for Maori men are double that of non-Maori.

Nearly a quarter of men smoke, over 50 percent are overweight, 27 percent indulge in potentially hazardous drinking, and two die each day of preventable illnesses.

It’s these unacceptably negative statistics that the Men’s Health Trust New Zealand is committed to improving by talking directly to men in their workplaces.

"New Zealand men go to see a doctor three times less often than women, and men in general lack awareness of the importance of health screening to help detect preventable diseases and deaths, from conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” says Dr Graeme Washer, Trustee and medical consultant to the Trust.

Men are also over represented in the areas of high cholesterol and suicide. The suicide rate for Maori males is 30 percent higher than the rest of the population.

The chairman of Men’s Health Trust New Zealand, Colleen Thurston, says the corporate sponsorship with TOWER is critically important to the success of the Trust’s workplace initiatives.

“This is a wonderful and very significant step forward as it helps the Trust take its workplace awareness program to more companies, which is a major goal for us,” Colleen Thurston says.

Rob Flannagan, TOWER’s Managing Director, says “this sponsorship sees TOWER enhance its social responsibility within an important segment of our society. It is very well aligned to the company’s workplace markets in which we offer life and health insurance as well as Kiwisaver to employees of over 700 companies, many of which have predominantly male workforces.
TOWER’s association with these companies makes us an ideal partner to assist the Trust raise the awareness of men’s health within the workplace,“ Mr Flannagan says.

The Men’s Health Trust New Zealand was formed three years ago to address these serious men’s health problems, and to actively encourage New Zealand men to take more personal responsibility for their own physical and mental well being.


The latest international research confirms that tooth decay is an infectious disease passed from mothers to their children reinforcing the message that oral health should be a family affair, according to Dr Andrea Shepperson, lead dentist at City Dental, Quay Park in Auckland, part of Lumino The Dentists, New Zealand’s only national dental healthcare organisation.

Dr Shepperson, an international lecturer in dentistry explains that the new research from the University of California published in the Journal of Dental Research shows that: `untreated decay in mothers almost doubled the odds of one of their children having serious untreated decay.

‘Dental decay is an infectious disease which is vertically transmitted from parent to child. Babies are born without the bacteria which cause dental decay but pick this up from their mothers. The bacteria become established on new teeth as they erupt. Mothers with high levels of Mutans Stretococci (a common decay causing bacterium) were likely to place their children at risk of high levels of decay. Left untreated, this infection can continue throughout life.

`We are encouraging mothers to be conscious of their own dental health because it is clearly shown now to be a family affair. Testing for this bacteria is a simple test which allows us to alert parents to the potential risk of decay. I can take a swab and tell my patients within 15 seconds if they are at risk from this kind of tooth decay. Then we’re well armed to help them counteract it. We offer a wide range of products for all ages to mitigate the risk.’

The new study warns that the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from person-to-person, including mother-to-child. Almost half of the mothers studied and more than a fourth of the children and adolescents had untreated tooth decay. One means of transmission could be from a mother tasting a child’s food and then using the same spoon to feed her child.

The findings underscore the need for family dentists to ask about the oral health of other family members. The authors stress that dentists should encourage all family members to get treatment, especially if a child already has tooth decay, and provide the family with the preventive measures, knowledge and skills to help prevent future disease.


Thousands of New Zealanders give up their jobs to work for themselves and end up living a life of misery, according to leading business development adviser, Daniel Batten. But writing in his latest Ebook `How to build a million dollar business in as little as 365 days’ he claims a few simple steps at the outset can make all the difference.

Mr Batten who is the keynote speaker at the New Zealand Institute of Management’s Young Executive of the Year Award Ceremony later this month says: ‘Quitting your job and setting up on your own is the dream of so many Kiwis. It is one of the most popular searches on the internet, but it is so sad the number of people who are struggling in business. For the vast majority, there is a huge toll on their families, they make incredible sacrifices and end up being burnt out. Yet they have killed the quality of their lifestyle unnecessarily.

`With the recession ending people are thinking again about leaving their job instead of hunkering down with something they are not happy with. We are a nation of SMEs but although most people start with passion and wanting financial freedom, two years down the track most find they have less freedom than when they were in a 9-5 job. The reason is they hadn’t prepared properly for the transition.’

In the new book Mr Batten advises that having a support network is critical and that this should include a business mentor. He also advocates time spent each day de-stressing.

`I’ve run successful businesses and those that haven’t been as good too and know how it works. In the book I show how the so called ‘soft’ features can turn into a ‘hard’ benefit for the business. Stress kills any relationship and that includes the one with your business. Remember that things such as difficult cash flow, inefficient staff or marketing challenges are not the problem, they are the result. The problem is normally in the business mindset and with help that can be changed for the better.’
For more information visit the following link


Kiwi businesses recovering from the recession could be putting themselves at risk by overlooking statutory liability insurance, according to TOWER Insurance, one of the country’s oldest providers, and not-for-profit mentoring organisation, Business Mentors New Zealand.

They are encouraging SME business owners to include a re-examination of their business insurance in their recession recovery plan, to assess any risks and to check that they are sufficiently protected.

According to Julian Lough, National Manager - Commercial Sales at TOWER Insurance, it is vital that companies are aware of the possible consequences of operating without statutory liability insurance.

‘Many small to medium companies may not be able to keep going if they were hit with a large, one-off cost. If they had to pay legal fees or fines associated with unintentional breaches of many Acts of Parliament, it might just finish them off,’ explains Julian. ‘Statutory liability insurance can cover you should you unintentionally breach acts such as the Resource Management Act, the Health and Safety in Employment Act (legal fees only) or the Fair Trading Act.’

‘Every business is susceptible to the risk of unintentionally breaching Acts of Parliament. However, some will be more vulnerable than others so make sure you carry out a full and detailed risk assessment,’ adds Julian. ‘Your insurance plan should be tailored to your own individual needs and requirements. It is well worth contacting an experienced insurance representative who will be able to help you decide what level of coverage your particular business needs.’

Business Mentors provides access to 1,600 volunteer mentors (who provide their experience, skill and knowledge free of charge). The focus of the organisation is on developing capability, profitability, and employment generation. Since the organisation was established in 1991, Business Mentors has assisted over 50,000 small to medium businesses. It is funded largely by patrons from the private sector, with additional support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It provides a mentoring service to businesses that have been operating for at least six months and provide the owner's main source of income.


New Zealanders could help stave off memory loss by making a few simple lifestyle changes according to Care Chemist, New Zealand’s fastest growing community pharmacy group. Care Chemist has launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of dementia and memory loss and to provide information on how to slow down the process.

‘Memory loss is an increasing problem with an ageing population but fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to keep the brain in tip top condition,’ explains Care Chemist CEO, Nicolette McDonald. ‘For example, a recent neurology study found that eating fish rich in omega-3 can help lower the risk of memory loss and stroke by 26% . This benefit was only found in fish that was baked or grilled though, not fried, so be careful about how your fish is prepared.’

According to Alzheimer’s New Zealand, there are currently around 40,746 New Zealanders with some form of dementia and it is estimated that by 2026, 74,821 people will have developed the condition. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form, affecting approximately 20,000 to 28,500 New Zealanders.

Nicolette adds: ‘Exercising both the body and the brain and staying socially stimulated can help improve memory. Research has also shown that supplementing the diet with high-folic acid pills could help slow the decline in memory and other brain functions as you age .’

Nicolette also points out that it is not just the older generation that should place importance on brain health.

‘Dementia and memory loss is often something associated with individuals over the age of fifty,’ says Nicolette. ‘However, it is important that younger people look after their brains as well. Taking the right steps early on can help support and maintain healthy brain function through an individual’s entire life.’

Care Chemist will be providing advice on how to improve brain health both in-store and through their monthly healthcare brochure. On top of that, Care Chemists pharmacists are always on hand to discuss any issues and possible solutions with their customers.


Leading scaffolding and temporary structure company, Camelspace, has been recruited by the Northern Gateway Alliance to work on the Newmarket Viaduct replacement project. At least six Camelspace employees will be required onsite fulltime to solve numerous temporary access problems daily.

'We are so pleased to be involved in such a fascinating and high profile job,’ says Phil McConchie, Commercial Director and co-founder of Camelspace. ‘This is one of the most complex motorway flyover replacement projects ever undertaken anywhere in the world, and it is being done while keeping the motorway open at all times. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to work on such a unique feat of engineering.’

‘Camelspace was chosen for the project because the company has the experience, the necessary access structure and scaffold equipment and a proven track record in solving access challenges that others can’t,’ adds Phil. ‘We’re looking forward to working alongside the Northern Gateway Alliance and other suppliers over the next couple of years to improve this vital road transport link.’

The Newmarket Viaduct (flyover) is being replaced to provide better earthquake stability and cope with increasing traffic demand. Other factors were the very low safety barriers and the fact that the existing viaduct is a prohibited route for overweight vehicles, forcing more trucks through the city streets. The new design will be able to withstand an earthquake with a 2,500 year return period.

The Newmarket Connection project will see the existing Newmarket Viaduct replaced with a wider, stronger, more sustainable new motorway bridge through a carefully orchestrated sequence of construction and deconstruction stages. This innovative staged approach will enable the New Zealand Transport Agency to keep this vital link in the country’s motorway network open at close to full capacity throughout the four year replacement process. It is estimated that the entire project will cost around $195 million.


The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association is warning parents that excessive time in front of computer and television screens this winter could mean an increase in back pain, neck and shoulder pain and headaches for their children.

A new study published in the BMC Public Health Journal has found a link between the amounts of time adolescents spend using computers, watching television and playing computer games, and back pain and headaches. The study's authors think that the link between back and head pain and screen time might not be related to the kind of screen activity the teens were engaged in, but to the amount of time they spent doing it and how they sat or stood while screen-engaged.

Dr. Hayden Thomas, spokesman for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains:

‘All the research shows that teenagers are spending an increasing amount of time participating in screen-based activities, such as TV, computer games, and other types of computer based entertainment. During winter, as the weather worsens outside, this is likely to increase even further.

‘Screen time is fine in small quantities but longer periods sitting down, hunched over in the same position for hours on end can be seriously detrimental to a persons health. Not moving for extended periods causes the muscles in the neck, arms and back to stiffen up and become sore. On top of that, slouching increases the amount of compressive force through the spine. This increased force may, over a period of time, fatigue the spinal muscles and cause pain, or may lead to early degenerative changes.’

Despite the health risks associated with the overuse of computers and television, Dr Thomas emphasises that it is not necessary for teenagers to give up their technology entirely.

‘It’s all about moderation. Computers and TV can be a valuable source of entertainment and education for young people and you’re never going to convince them to give it up altogether,’ says Dr. Thomas. ‘However, it is important to make sure they understand the dangers of excessive screen time and how to avoid painful back pain. Encourage them to sit up with their shoulders back and their feet on the floor when they’re at their PC or watching television. They should also have their chair pulled close enough to the computer screen so that they’re not tempted to lean forward, putting stress on the lower back. Finally, advise that they take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch. This will stop muscles getting tight and strained.’

‘Of course, it is also preferable that teenagers try to get outside and do some exercise, even over the winter months,’ adds Dr. Thomas. ‘Regular exercise, whether it is by participating in a team sport or going for a quick walk, keeps body fat and high blood pressure down, and reduces the prevalence of depression and anxiety. It also helps prevent back pain by increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture.’