Third national award for beauty therapist Amber Forrest

Wairoa businesswoman and beauty therapist Amber Forrest scored the trifecta on Saturday when she was awarded the MWDI Māori Businesswomen’s Award for the Ikaroa region.

The national recognition is the third national award the innovative entrepreneur has picked up over the past year.

The Beauty Antix owner/operator has been showered with top national beauty awards over her 27 years in the industry. The pinnacle was last year when Beauty Antix took out the national title of New Zealand Beauty Clinic of the Year, followed by being named the supreme winner of the NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards.

Amber describes the MWDI Māori Businesswomen’s Award for the Ikaroa region as very close to her heart. “I am Māori, our staff are Māori, and our community is Māori. When I received the award, I dedicated it to the diversity of our Wairoa people, because without our community I wouldn’t be a winner. This is about celebrating wāhine toa throughout our rohe.”

Māori Women’s Development Inc is a unique and Indigenous organisation which supports Māori women in business with the Māori Businesswomen’s Awards celebrating and showcasing the very best wāhine businesswomen and their pakihi (business) to Aotearoa, the Asia-Pacific region and other global markets and Indigenous economies.

This year’s event received over 70 entries, across eight regional and business excellence categories.

Amber feels privileged that through her recent awards she has been acknowledged by her industry as New Zealand Beauty Clinic of the Year, as a rural provider through the NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards and now as a recognised award-winning Māori businessowner.

Amber applied to the awards last year and was shortlisted as a finalist for the Ikaroa region, which stretches from Wellington to the East Cape, as well as making it as a finalist in the Employment and Growth and the People and Capability categories.

“There were some amazing contenders, and because of the high calibre of the other finalists I really was surprised to win.”

Living in a small town does not stop Amber and her team of India Manukau, Ashlea Mudd, Natayla Rore and Liberty Wyllie, from delivering a world-class top-level service.

Beauty Antix, which Amber launched nearly 10 years ago, is immersed in the diversity of its clientele and community.  It provides a wide range of expert and professional treatments.

“Our motto is Exceeding Expectation with Expertise. It is an environment that is open, inclusive, culturally responsive and respectful to all customers and serves our community in a uniquely holistic way.”

Amber’s philosophy is to treat every client equally and offer beauty and wellness services for all walks of life. She believes every client should receive just as good a service in Wairoa as they would in Auckland.

Amber credits her win to her staff and the Wairoa community. “There is always a lot of hard work that goes into meet the award’s criteria and being recognised at a national level and putting Wairoa on the stage and under the spotlight makes it all worthwhile.

“Being recognised nationally is a tribute to all those people who support our business and especially our team who help make this possible. Wins like this for a small business from the regions is humbling. We are ecstatic and beyond proud.”

Amber’s future vision is to extend the work she does providing career paths for young women, particularly Māori, through a nationally recognised Beauty and Wellness Training facility.

“We have the ability to expand and train and prep young girls to become work ready in the beauty industry, and through our status and connections, place them at clinics around the country so they can further develop their skills.

“It’s about community inclusiveness and strengthening young women so they can work in a sustainable way in the beauty industry. This is about a future where we can showcase Wairoa and the skills of our local rangatahi.”

Amber believes the Māori Businesswomen’s Award will complement the work she is doing towards establishing a trade training school.

“Not all teaching has to occur in the classroom. A big part of learning is understanding the environment that everyone is in and helping to navigate the journey for the learner.

“Our vision is mentoring and role modelling. We need to be able to demonstrate to our rangatahi that opportunities can be created and with the right support everyone can achieve the outcomes they want.

“Moving forward I want to share my knowledge and skills and help young people. Receiving the Māori Businesswoman award has cemented the work that we are doing and demonstrates it is not about what we have, it is about what we do and how we do it.”

Beauty Antix endorses Dermalogica, the internationally renowned skin health technique and treatment brand and number one professional skin care system in the world. Amber has reached the highest education level Dermalogica offers having received the NZ best skin therapist award.

She is one of a handful of skin expert therapists in New Zealand and her salon is recognised as one of 20 Platinum skin centres in the country.

Amber is a Gold Account holder with Pure Fiji, her premium spa and body range that is offered in spas across the world. She has also recently began promoting ‘The Beauty Chef’ range of ingestible bio-fermented, probiotic wholefood powders and elixirs for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing.