Fijian businesses who are interested in improving their businesses  performance can now take advantage of the free Pacific Islands Business Mentoring Programme from Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) which kicks off this month with an introductory briefing in Suva on 5th March.

Fiji is the latest of 11 Pacific island countries to be included in the BMNZ managed project with funding provided by New Zealand’s Aid Programme. The ten strong team of mentors is twice as large as the usual contingent because Fiji is a much larger economy than most of the other Pacific Islands.

There will be two one hour presentations for Fijian business owners at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Suva starting at noon and 5 pm on 5th March and all business owners are invited to attend.

The Pacific Business Mentoring 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.

Suka Salusalu, Training and Research Coordinator at the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation who is the Business Mentors’ Agent in Fiji says: `The Mentoring programme will encourage upskilling of our business people and undoubtably will lead to a boost to profits for our smaller and medium sized enterprises. I am so excited to be part of the coordinating team and am sure its going to make a tremendous difference.’

Ian Furlong, General Manager of the Business Mentors Pacific Programme adds: ‘Experienced Independent NZ business mentors bring a fresh perspective and approach to analysing existing business performance and opportunities in smaller business communities. Often the range of expertise provided by the NZ mentors is simply not available in many pacific island countries.
Ian has a wealth of corporate experience with General Foods, Watties and Coca Cola Amatil where he was a member of the leadership team for many years and the CEO of Coca Cola Amatil in Fiji for three years returning to NZ in 2008.

He explains: ‘The situation in the Pacific over recent times has seen many business owners under pressure and having  to cope in  a very challenging business environment. Many lack the experience to get through and this is where a business mentor can help.

Countries benefiting from the BMNZ Pacific Mentoring Programme include the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tokelau.

For more information on Business Mentors in the Pacific visit


 23rd February 2012

ALSCO, supplier of rental linens, mats and uniforms, has opened its new state of the art commercial laundry in Palmerston North to service businesses across the lower North Island.

The purpose-built central Hub was completed in December and officially went live this week. It is designed to provide an efficient level of service to customers, using the latest technology, with a much reduced effect on the environment. The development will handle production for service centres in Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Wellington and Napier.

ALSCO NZ Chief Executive, Tony Colenso explains: `We are pleased to bring this centre online as part of our continuing investment in New Zealand. This development allows us to bring a more efficient, high quality service to our customers. Not only that but we further improve our ability to achieve compliance standards, which is particularly important for our food service clients due to regular industry auditing.

Key environmental benefits of the Hub include:

§    Enhanced natural lighting, energy efficient systems that utilise heat recovery, specialised roof insulations and central ventilation systems.

§    Water consumption reduced by nearly 40%.

§    Gas consumption reduced by the purpose built hot water generator.

§    A trade waste system that incorporates two separate treatment stations, will lessen the risk to the environment.
§    Heat will be recovered from water discharge and used to pre heat incoming water.

§    Electricity demand will reduce due to the use of modern efficient equipment equipped with inverter drives.

Further Information:
ALSCO, originally the New Zealand Towel Supply Company, has been providing services to New Zealanders for over 100 years. It specialises in providing fully managed rental, leasing and laundry services for linens and uniforms, washroom and hygiene products, business consumables and managed first aid systems.
The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of ALSCO Inc, a family owned company which employs 2500 people in Australasia and 15000 people worldwide.
Contact: Peter Boyes: Boyes Public Relations 0275 540 500


Media Release

Date: 17th February 2012


ALSCO, supplier of rental linens, mats and uniforms, is to offer free no obligation audits to small and medium size New Zealand enterprises to help reduce the impact of workplace accidents and ensure businesses are compliant with ever more stringent Occupational Safety and Health first aid requirements.

Workplace injuries happen to 600 people every week, and kill one New Zealander a week[1]. Apart from the significant human toll, the effect on a small or medium sized enterprise can be terminal.

According to Gavin Smith, the designer of a tailor made “managed” first aid system, although New Zealand workplaces are getting safer, the requirements for businesses to comply with Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) are getting tighter and more robust.

Gavin, New Zealand manager of ALSCO First Aid, specialists in managed first aid systems, says an increasing number of Australasian businesses are now opting for this type of system. They elect to contract their first aid kit management to an “all in one rental service” because the DIY approach doesn’t meet the stringent OSH or Australian state requirements.

Gavin adds: ` We have grown this Kiwi developed service so that we are the only true national provider. We have started to pick up regional and national organisations, as well as smaller owner operators, because of their need or desire to standardise systems. We do offer peace of mind, but at the end of the day it’s about doing what’s right.’

He explains: `Many businesses will have bought a kit a few years ago and forgotten all about it. Secondly, they will most likely have put it somewhere and in an emergency no one can find it. Thirdly, you’d be amazed at how many still have a red cross on them. But most significantly, when we do a first aid kit audit we find that most kits have not been checked recently. The rules have changed too; everything in the kits needs to be single use. You can’t just have a bottle of eye wash for example. There has to be single, sealed, sterile packs.’

Gavin explains: ` A lot of businesses don’t realise how much they spend managing their kits overall. It’s false economy just to consider supplies alone. They don’t know if their kit is being serviced to the correct standards if it has been allocated to a staff member, or how robust their internal auditing ability is. But many businesses now prefer to have it all done for them, and know that they are meeting relevant OSH requirements. A rental programme for around a dollar a day per kit removes the need to supply and check the kit yourself. Servicing of our kits onsite only takes a few minutes for one of our trained service team.’

In New Zealand there are four versions of kit available; large for up to 50 employees; small for up to 15 employees, plus a food version of each (with upgraded product  that is both “blue” visible and metal detectable). There are supplementary kits for small off-sites, vehicles, and specialist workplaces. The company also offers additional equipment such as AED’s (defibrillators) and eyewash stations
Further Information:
ALSCO, originally the New Zealand Towel Supply Company, has been providing services to New Zealanders for over 100 years. It specialises in providing fully managed rental, leasing and laundry services for linens and uniforms, washroom and hygiene products, business consumables and managed first aid systems.
The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of ALSCO Inc, a family owned company which employs 2500 people in Australasia and 15000 people worldwide.
Contact: Peter Boyes: Boyes Public Relations 0275 540 500


CSR needs to be evaluated to exclude ego. Does sponsorship of rugby, opera or golf say the right thing about your brand if you are in financial services or insurance? How do you connect with the communities that matter to your brand? Emerald | European Journal of Marketing | DUAL NATURE OF CAUSE- BRAND FIT: INFLUENCE ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PERCEPTION

Marketing Communications needs integrated strategy

According to the European Journal of Marketing, Revitalising brands through communication messages: the role of brand familiarity research shows that the effectiveness of consistency among messages depends on brand familiarity. For familiar brands moderately consistent messages improve their awareness (recall), enrich their network of associations, and generate more favourable responses and brand attitudes. However, for unfamiliar brands, no significant differences are found between high and moderate levels of consistency, except for brand recall, being higher when highly consistent messages are used.

For unfamiliar brands, brand managers should focus on consistent brand messages to build awareness for these unknown brands. By contrast, for familiar brands the goal of the communication strategy must be to revive the interest in them through moderate consistent messages that can excite consumers and make them think again about these brands.

At BPR we develop bespoke programmes designed to drive global awareness, clear understanding, differentiation and affinity for your brands among the most influential media, thoughtleaders, and decision-makers.

This is vital if you are looking to improve alignment within your key geographical regions and local agencies so that they speak with one locally relevant voice and implement a driven PR strategy. Our approach uses your stories, thought leaders and initiatives to more fully elevate your brand. 

    Peter Boyes writes about business mentoring in the Pacific

    Business mentoring, where an experienced senior business person coaches a developing enterprise, is a well established part of the commercial landscape in New Zealand, with thousands of owner managed companies drawing on the programme for support.
    The model of a free service, manned by highly skilled volunteer professionals has been so successful that the New Zealand government has chosen to use it as a vital centre piece of its Pacific aid programme.
    Since May 2010, Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) has operated a Pacific Mentoring Programme to provide practical support for businesses in eleven Pacific Island countries with funding from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
    Former Canterbury farmer and co-founder of Agrifax, the rural business information service, Rod McKenzie, was one of the first people to join the scheme as a mentor.
    Rod was awarded the Membership of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to agriculture. He explains: `Before joining the Pacific mentoring scheme I was involved in mentoring in Christchurch for two years. Mentors were asked to apply for the Pacific scheme about two years ago. I have done a lot of travel in the region over the last 30 years and have a high degree of empathy for the people. While I have a strong agricultural background, I have also developed interests in tourism, car rentals and internet marketing.
    `Around 120 mentors applied and 15 were accepted for the first intake.  I was allocated to Samoa, which was one of the Pacific countries that I had not been to so I was pleased with that.

    `I went up for the first visit in June 2010. There were five mentors as well as the BMNZ Pacific Programme GM, Ian Furlong. We went for a full week and were allocated five clients each. There was a big range including hospitality,  tourism, IT, real estate and agriculture.’
    Mentors visit the islands every six months, which means that each client gets two visits a year in June and November.
    Rod points out: `I’ve just been on my fourth visit. It is quite challenging but interesting and has become very rewarding as you see your clients begin to change and progress. For example, I introduced new marketing techniques and promotional initiatives to two tourism clients  which have transformed their visibility. Although there are some similarities with small businesses in New Zealand the issues are different. Many have basic capital inadequacy and profitability issues related to poor marketing, accounting and staffing.’
    At the first meeting Rod aims to develop a set of action points with his clients which they undertake to do before he returns for the second visit six months later. In between he keeps in touch by email.
    He says: `As you help them through the issues the clients are able to go on their own and new ones come on the programme. I’ve only got one client from my first visit.’
    It’s clear that the BMNZ Pacific Programme has earned a special place in the island business environment.
    Rod explains: ‘Although there are a lot of other agencies in the region and aid is offered from other countries, there is an excellent attitude towards our programme and NZAid. Confidentiality is very important in the Pacific islands and they are very reticent about talking to their own countrymen about business but they are much happier talking to us.’
    Tokoroa based business adviser, Dianne Turco has brought a lifetime of commercial experience to the people of Vanuatu through the Pacific mentoring programme.

    Dianne was born in New Zealand, has a background in teaching and then thirty years in the US in business where she held a variety of management and leadership roles in five different states.
    As general manager of the South Waikato Economic Development Trust she established and developed the Business Development Centre for the South Waikato and has worked with over 900 businesses across all sectors in that role. A special moment was winning the Vero Excellence Award winner for Small Business support with the implementation of Web based Business Capability Assessment for businesses. She was also involved in the facilitation of economic development projects in the South Waikato.
    Dianne started business mentoring in 2004 with Business Mentors New Zealand, while working in the both Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.
    When she left the Business Development Centre she was asked to be an Capability Assessor for the NZTE training programme and did so until the  programme was re structured in 2011.  She now works as a mobile business advisor and mentor with her consultancy, Diversity –enabling solutions.
    Dianne explains: `I enjoy working one to one with my clients as it gives me the time to help them relate to their business. I am very focussed on them understanding what the purpose of their business is and how important it is to carry that knowledge through all levels of the business.

    ‘As part of the five member Vanuatu mentoring team, I thought it would require a very different approach, but I find I do just what I do in New Zealand and take the same approach. I listen, find out their needs and issues and how we can help, then together put achievable action plans in place. The people are friendly, resourceful, enthusiastic and are like sponges; very receptive and hungry for it. One thing a little different for the Pacific Island programme is that the Vanuatu businesses are not all at the level where you can go into a very deep assessment. Some are very basic whereas others have been to University and are “on the ball”, moving very quickly through the action plans. There is a wide cross section of capability levels and issues.

    ‘I was interested to find that some clients on Vanuatu have had a lot of help but indicated that it had been mostly theory or was “done for us”. There is among our clients a lack of understanding of the “whys” and “hows”.
    “Getting people to realise that they do have the answers is such a thrill for me. That is what mentoring is all about. Assisting businesses to learn how to do for themselves in a way that makes sense to them and which they can be successful in.’

    Dianne finds the five member team approach works well, with mentors having a variety of experience and skills to draw on during each week long and remotely within New Zealand should the need arise. ‘The Vanuatu team is a very close, supportive team,’ she says.

    Dianne is working with Vanuatu businesses in Tourism, Timber milling and Furniture Manufacture, Food Manufacturing and Alternative Energy, with six clients. She will complete her third visit in March. She has expectations that there will be closures during the next two visits: ‘Some clients I will see for two or three visits and then they’ll be ready to go on their own. Others only need a little encouragement or a sounding board as is the case in New Zealand. The skill with mentoring is to know when to jump in and then jump out again.
    `Business principles are the same, and underneath, people are the same.

    ‘Mentoring is one way you can truly make a difference and my passion is working with small and medium businesses. Throughout my career I have been involved in start ups and the Pacific Programme rang the same sort of bells for me.

    ‘I am literally pumped by The Pacific mentoring experience. The clients are so happy to see us. It was an exhilarating experience the first time and it still is looking forward to my third visit. There are some fantastic businesses out there who are truly appreciative of the mentoring assistance received through this Programme.’

    The programme now covers six countries and 270 client businesses.  In 2012 the Programme will enter Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue and possibly Tokelau. As well as New Zealand volunteer mentors offering their valuable skills and expertise, local mentors are also being trained so that they can be a source of ongoing advice, knowledge and information. These locally based mentors have high credibility in their Pacific Island communities, with many owning their own businesses or holding respected positions in other companies.
    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.
    Business Mentors New Zealand 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 is the owner’s main source of income. A registration fee of $100+GST applies, which entitles you to use the mentoring service for two years. This is the only cost to you – the mentoring you receive is free!
    More details can be found at www. or by calling 0800 209 209.
    Peter Boyes is a volunteer Business Mentor as well as a PR and marketing communications advisor with BPR.

    Peter Boyes comment on Presenters Platform Course

    Cut Back on Pain Medication Say NZ Chiropractors

    New Zealanders should think twice before resorting to pain relief medication, the country’s chiropractors advised today. They point out that treatment by a qualified chiropractor and light exercise may be the best way to relieve neck pain, according to new research.
    The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) says the results stress that arthritis and muscular pain require more than just a drug-treatment approach.
    A study, conducted by a team from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota, just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that chiropractic treatment results in better outcomes than common pain relief drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

    The study involved more than 270 adults suffering from different types of neck pain, who were divided into three groups. One group had sessions with a chiropractor, and the second group took common pain medication. The third group was given advice from a chiropractor and encouraged to do a set of gentle exercises
    Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: `After 12 weeks, the group that received spinal manual therapy from the chiropractor had significantly less pain than patients from the group that took pain medication.’
    He points that the patients in the chiropractic and exercise groups maintained their improvement after one year, but that in addition to their limited pain relief, the people on medications kept taking them.
    ‘This is not a good approach. Taking these medications for up to a year can lead to all sorts of systemic side effects such as gastrointestinal problems; most frequently internal bleeding.’

    It was found that 32% of the patients treated by a chiropractor and 30% of those who exercised reported being completely pain free, compared to just 13 per cent of the group treated with medication.
    All three groups had pain relief, but spinal manipulation by a chiropractor was more effective than pain medication in both the short and long term. Home exercises were also effective at relieving pain after participants were given instructional sessions in stretching. The study is the first large federally funded study to compare the different treatments.
    Dr Thomas adds: `As a professional association we welcome evidence based care. The perception of pain is very subjective but the large number of patients in this study reduces the influence of social and cultural factors. We believe that work like this will make it more likely that patients get appropriate treatment.’
    Neck pain affects nearly 75 percent of the population and according to another recent study women consistently report experiencing more pain, for back and neck pain, knee and ankles strains, complications of HIV, and sinusitis. The results were reported online in the Journal of Pain.

     For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit

    Further Information:

    Dr Hayden Thomas, Chiropractor 027 299 9939

    Peter Boyes 027 554 0500 or

    About the New Zealand Chiropractor's Association: The New Zealand Chiropractor's Association (NZCA) was founded in the 1930's. It is a voluntary, self-regulating, supervisory body serving both the chiropractic profession and the public of New Zealand. The purpose of the NZCA is to maintain professional standards, liaise with various government and health bodies, and to be a professional voice for chiropractic.