Kevin Williams wasn’t very happy with his wife Donna when she entered the Westpac Business Excellence 

“He doesn’t like the limelight,” says Donna, his partner in the K Williams Shearing partnership, which ended up winning the Māori Business Excellence Award, much to Kevin’s horror.

“Kevin would rather put on his gumboots and go to the shed than get dressed up, go on stage and talk about our busi-ness,” says Donna.

Luckily for Kevin, his human-dynamo wife is a brilliant front-woman who entertained the crowd at the awards night with a highly amusing and informative presentation about their 10-year-old business.

Donna says she was astonished they won the award.

“I was so proud, I was on Cloud 9. Kevin, on the other hand, wanted to hide. It was the first time we had stepped back and looked at our business from the outside. It was a lot of work but very worthwhile. Mind you, we owe a lot to our accountants Debbie Blakeman and Clare Brooks who encouraged and supported us all the way.”

Kevin was born and raised on the East Coast, and Donna was eight when her family moved from Waingake to Tolaga Bay.

Donna worked for 19 years at Work and Income before resigning three years ago to work full time for their shearing business, taking a strong educational and pastoral approach to the job.

Wool consultant Ross Buscke outside the shearing shed

“We are not your average shearing contractors,” says Donna. “We take a holistic approach to our staff. My belief is if you don’t help your staff sort out their problems, they will not be happy and will not work as well as they could.”

With this in mind, Donna organises seminars and workshops to upskill, care for and resolve problems facing their 46-strong workforce.

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