Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame Inducts Two
Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame Inducts Two
‘Home Grown’ Business and Community
Two ‘born and bred’ and hugely successful local business and community leaders have been inducted into the Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame.
Peter Housiaux and Stuart Irons were inducted into the Business Hall of Fame at this year’s Electra Kapiti Horowhenua Business Awards Gala Dinner on Friday 27 October 2017, bringing the number of business people admitted to the Hall to twenty two.
Both Peter and Stuart were born and raised locally and have spent their lives building successful businesses and giving back to the communities that have both shaped and supported them.
Peter Housiaux: Business and Community Inspiration
Peter Housiaux is a modest man, but his story is an inspiration to many. He has built a hugely successful specialist concrete business by blending hard work with ‘out of the box’ thinking and leading by example, then using this success to give opportunities to others and give back to the community.
Born and raised in Otaki, Peter Housiaux left Otaki College at 15 to work on a farm before moving into an apprenticeship as a fitter welder at engineering firm, Willis Brothers in Otaki.
Having met Ann-Marie and with several years’ work under Peter’s belt, the couple decided it was time to do something for themselves. This initially meant Peter contracting as a mobile engineer, a business they operated out of their home for many years.
But it was when the couple moved into concrete repair and decorative concrete that their real success would come, with the business growing to become Concrete Doctors.
Over the years Peter’s hard work, determination and flair for thinking outside of the box came to the fore, and the company’s growing reputation as experts in their field saw Concrete Doctors awarded their then biggest contract with the build of the Westpac Stadium in Wellington – a project that saw staff numbers leap from 4 to 24 in a year.
Today, Peter and Concrete Doctors are sought out by artists and architects for their decorative work, and the business has been referenced as the concrete repair experts on the TV show Grand Designs New Zealand. As Peter observes, “people come to us when they have concrete problems they can’t solve.”
Despite working all around New Zealand, Peter and Ann-Marie have kept their yard in Otaki, recruit locally and are prepared to give work opportunities to people that other employers possibly wouldn’t consider. They are quick to give credit to their “awesome staff”.
They also believe in putting back into the business to help it grow, and are always looking for ways to do better and move forward.
Alongside their business, the couple has a strong sense of community, participating and supporting many community groups and organisations.
Peter was made a member of the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship and is a past President of the Otaki Canoe Polo Club. He recently retired after 10 years as coach of the New Zealand Women’s Canoe Polo Squad, winning a World Championship Title in 2016.
He is a member of the Otaki Surf Life Saving Club and still qualified as a surf lifesaver after 40 years. In 2015 he was named Kapiti Sportsperson of the Year.
Stuart Irons: Passionate Grocer and Community Supporter
Stuart Irons is a prime example of a great business leader; recognising the importance of taking pride in the community he lives in, and doing everything with passion.
Born in Foxton in 1942, Stuart grew up spending considerable amounts of time helping his parents in their Foxton Four Square store and learning the tricks of the trade.
Having entrepreneurial blood in his veins, Stuart would ultimately follow the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, making his fortune in the grocery trade.
After finishing school, Stuart went to work for the BNZ and married Jenny. In 1974 the couple purchased the Foxton Four Square store from Stuart’s father.
Now his own boss, he had to take his fortune into his own hands, which he did wholeheartedly as he searched out opportunities to expand his business beyond his home town.
With his growth strategy in place, Stuart bought the Levin Self Help Supermarket in 1977 – the start of a long and successful business story in the town. Having successfully entered the Levin market, the couple would open two further grocery businesses with the new Write Price store in 1982, followed by the even larger New World supermarket in 1987.
Alongside his business interests, Stuart’s career also involved him being on the Foodstuffs Board of Directors from 1986-2005 and chairman of the Board from 1996-2004.
In 2006, Stuart and Jenny decided it was time to retire and they sold the business. By then, they were one of Horowhenua’s biggest employers with over 200 staff.
During his 45 years in business, Stuart always took a keen interest in the community around him, not only by providing employment but also in the various voluntary roles he took on.
These roles included being a member and chairman of Foxton Primary School Committee, the Manawatu College Board of Governors, a foundation member of the Foxton Tourist and Development Association, and being actively involved in the first ‘Spring Fling’ promotion that would help put Foxton ‘on the map’.
As well as taking on active roles across the community, Stuart also supported many community groups and organisations financially, especially Horowhenua College, Waiopehu College, Levin Intermediate, and Koputaroa School. One of the major contributions he provided helped to complete the new Horowhenua College sports gymnasium.