West Coast sphagnum moss company thriving

A growing demand for sustainably processed sphagnum moss means business is thriving for a West Coast operation.

Hokitika-based distributor Coastpak Besgrow harvests and processes sphagnum moss from West Coast swampland, before selling its product to customers across New Zealand and around the world.

The sphagnum moss is primarily used for orchid growing but is also used in floristry, and many other industries where water retention and humidity are important.

The family owned business recently took out the the Supreme Award at the 2018 Development West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.

Development West Coast chief executive Chris Mackenzie said the top honour was well deserved.

"At the peak of the sphagnum moss industry there were close to 40 exporters in the region, and most of them are no-longer operating," he said.

"Coastpak is not only surviving, but going from strength to strength," said Mr Mackenzie.

Coastpak harvests and processes the sphagnum moss in Hokitika.
Coastpak harvests and processes the sphagnum moss in Hokitika. Photo credit: Supplied

"They have managed to thrive by adopting leading manufacturing management processes, developing value-add products, and embracing scientific approaches to sustainably manage their resources."

The Leading Light chief judge Stephen Caunter described Coastpak Besgrow as a standout, along with the winner of the Greymouth Star Rising Star Award, West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat.

"Both businesses are using resources from the natural environment," he said.

"They demonstrated the essential need to work with land owners and/or Government agencies to run a successful business," said Mr Caunter.

He said they also took seriously the need to protect what they are using so have become guardians of the environment in the world in which they operate.

West Coast Scenic Waterways Retreat are eco-tourism operators based 4km south of Hokitika by the beautiful Mahinapua Waterways.