Here we celebrate the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators who are leaving their mark on the world, while living the famous Taranaki lifestyle. 

Each episode features a prominent local entrepreneur, making waves both nationally and internationally with their trailblazing spirit and can-do attitude. They'll share their successes, ah-ha moments and celebrated wins, as well as their struggles and behind the scenes failures. Our guests also reflect on how being from Taranaki influences their work and the lives they lead.

Hosted by long time business advocate and honorary Taranaki local David Downs, this series illustrates the thriving business environment within Taranaki by telling the stories of everyday people who've been able to achieve remarkable things.

Taranaki is a region where the unique natural and entrepreneurship ecosystems collide to create a place where people can flourish and achieve their full potential. Nau mai haere mai, we welcome you to hear our enterprising stories like no other.


PowerUp Episode Eight James Annabell

Date posted: 11/5/2021

From being a professional rugby player to running a successful international honey company, James Annabell’s story is a highly unlikely one. Not to mention the fact the Egmont Honey CEO and founder is allergic to bee stings.

However, there can be no denying the success of this family-run company. It started with James giving his dad a beehive for Christmas one year, and it’s grown to having more than 4,000 hives and exporting more than 1,000 tonnes of honey each year to more than 20 countries around the world.

James talks candidly about the challenges of making honey in some of the most remote parts of New Zealand, and how Egmont Honey is influenced by the local Taranaki region. The world of honey is immensely fascinating, and James’ ability to bring it to life makes this a must-listen episode of The PowerUp Podcast.

PowerUp Episode Seven John Matthews

Date posted: 4/5/2021

In this episode of the PowerUp Podcast, prominent businessman John Matthews lifts the lid on his successes, challenges, and belief in taking risks - like shipping the largest oil tank to ever go on water from Taranaki to Fiji...without insurance.

John is a hugely influential figure in Taranaki’s cultural and art scene, as well as its business and infrastructure. A successful engineer and businessman, John’s expertise in roading and bitumen have seen him made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

A close friend of the late Len Lye, John is an adamant believer in the beauty of art. He was at the forefront of installing New Plymouth’s iconic wind wand - what was a highly divisive project at the time, as well as the city’s unique Len Lye gallery.

PowerUp Episode Six Dave and Jo James

Date posted: 27/4/2021

The story of how Juno came to be one of New Zealand’s leading spirits companies is hard to believe. After successful corporate careers, Dave and Jo James returned to Taranaki with a dream to distill premium gin. They invested a whole lot of time and money to source everything they needed, before trying to figure out the small matter of how gin was made.

Dave and Jo’s journey to winning a New Zealand gold medal in just two years is a tribute to dedication and creativity. With a considerable amount of help from Taranaki business advocates, engineers, growers, and marketers, Juno Gin is now forging a path ahead for all New Zealand spirits. Dave and Jo’s ambitious dream is for kiwi spirits to be thought of internationally in the same way New Zealand wine is.

This is an awesome story about enthusiasm and a can-do attitude, showing just what’s possible when you strive for the very best.

PowerUp Episode Five Pania Winterburn

Date posted: 20/4/2021

If there’s a book on how to run an iwi business, Ngā Rauru would feature in it heavily. Ngā Rauru iwi is behind the smoothie company Kaitahi, they’ve used a socially and environmentally friendly model to deliver healthy food all over New Zealand. What’s more, their traditional Māori ingredients add significant cultural significance to their operations.

In this awesome episode of the PowerUp Podcast, Pania Winterburn talks through how Kaitahi has gone from a small community nursery in south Taranaki to making unique frozen smoothie drops with ingredients like puha and kawakawa. She talks about the evolution of the business, how they navigate its iwi ownership and how they’ve been guided by their culture and their people.

Kaitahi is an amazing initiative in its own right, but its principles and its purpose make it truly special. This is a must listen!

PowerUp Episode Four James Donald and Letitia Stevenson

Date posted: 13/4/2021

What happens when an oil and gas executive meets an anthropologist for the first time, and they decide to start a software company? It might sound like a bad joke, but for James Donald and Letitia Stevenson, it was the start of a hugely successful business developing chatbots for the tourism industry. Honestly, you have to hear this story to believe it.

James and Letitia are the founders of Yonder, a company that’s designing custom bots for leading tourism companies all over New Zealand. From a chance meeting at a business event to bravely going into business together, their determination and initiative has helped them make their far-off dream a reality.

This is another business tale about perseverance and determination. James and Letitia have been on a rapid learning curve that keeps getting steeper each time they tackle a new challenge (thanks a lot, COVID-19). They are adaptable and creative, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way are SUPER relevant for anyone in business.

PowerUp Episode Three Michael and Rachel Perrett

Date posted: 7/4/2021

Investors Michael and Rachel Perrett are on an ambitious journey to change the way our children are educated. As the founders of The Green School in Taranaki, they are implementing a sustainable and holistic education system that worked wonders for their son in Bali.

Michael and Rachel invest in people and the planet before they think about profit. This approach has seen them develop more than 40 business interests, but they’re adamant none are as important as their work with The Green School.

In this episode of PowerUp, they talk about how they established a world-class facility with world-class educators in such a small pocket of the world. With the utmost dedication, Michael and Rachel discuss their vision for education and for Taranaki, shining a light on how they hope to produce fully rounded students that can thrive in the modern world.

PowerUp Episode One Dan Radcliffe

Date posted: 10/3/2021

Dan Radcliffe is a Taranaki born and bred businessman, investor and a member of the EY World Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. He founded International Volunteer HQ, one of the world’s leading volunteer travel companies, in 2006, after quitting his graduate finance job on just his third day.

Dan talks about how he was inspired to start IVHQ, how he ran an international business from his family farm in North Taranaki, the hardest part about being an entrepreneur and how he’s helped to steer his business through the challenges of COVID-19. He also touches on his new venture, a brewery that supports local charities, and even gives his top tip for catching goats.

Dan’s unlikely success story shows the power of a can-do attitude and good support, and his desire to give back to the community illustrates how much one person can do to help people all over the world. Even if it’s from a farm in the back of beyond.

PowerUp Episode Two Annalee Kemsley

Date posted: 10/3/2021

Annalee Kemsley is one of New Zealand’s leading online makeup and beauty personalities, with more than 170-thousand subscribers. She’s worked with world-leading brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Disney, Sephora, Bobbi Brown, and more. Behind her bright and bubbly personality is a drive to succeed and a tonne of creativity.

In this episode of The PowerUp Podcast, Annalee talks about her fortuitous introduction to the beauty industry, the pros and cons of working in social media, and what it’s like to grow a national following from her hometown, New Plymouth.

This is a great story about finding your passion and dedicating yourself to it. Annalee lifts the lid on the veneer of social media, openly sharing what it’s actually like to balance the real world with what’s portrayed online. If nothing else, it shows the power of being online and just what’s possible from anywhere in the world!

We’re proud to bring you the voices of our entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators, delivered with their own experiences, insights and humour in mind - the views, thoughts and opinions shared by our guests are uniquely theirs. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Venture Taranaki.