Group honours business achievements


The contribution of a group of Central Otago businesspeople has been recognised in the second annual Alexandra-Clyde and Districts Business Group awards.

John Breen, Daphne Hull and Bob Kilgour, of Alexandra, received awards for lifetime achievement; David and Andrea Ritchie, of Clyde, received awards for business and community development; Clyde Vellacott, of Alexandra, received an award for outstanding efforts in retail promotion; and Jamies Jewellers, of Alexandra, received an award for 150 years of ownership of the business by one family.

The awards were presented at the business group’s annual meeting in Alexandra on September 1 and citations were read out about all the recipients.


Mr Breen, whose family established Breen Construction Co Ltd, had been involved with various major construction projects throughout the district through the company, which was a significant contributor to Central Otago’s strong economy, the citation said. Major Breen Construction projects have included building the Onslow Dam, Queenstown Post Office, Alexandra Post Office, St Gerard’s School and Molyneux Stadium, and working on the Cromwell and Clyde hospitals and the Waipiata Sanatorium.

Breen Construction was firmly established in Central Otago and now run by Mr Breen’s sons, although he still had an involvement in the company, the citation said.

Mr Breen is also a well-known writer, having published several books including his latest, Don’t Look Down.


Mrs Hull has been involved with numerous community and business projects and had a lengthy involvement in local government, serving as a councillor, community board member, Vincent and Otago Area Health Board member, Otago Business Development Board member and member of various special taskforces and groups.

She was the Alexandra Blossom Festival chairwoman and Otago Central Rail Trust chairwoman for many years, and is a life member of the Heartland Life Education Trust. She was awarded a New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993 and a Queen’s Service Medal in 1999.

Mrs Hull’s contribution to the community had been significant, and she continued to support the district in a variety of ways, and had various business interests, the citation said.


Mr Kilgour exhibited entrepreneurial skills from an early age, turning an interest in photography into a career and business in photography.

He later became involved in gold mining, mining and prospecting all over Central Otago and amalgamating with large mining interests, and now mentoring many in the mining industry.

He was one of the developers who created the Molyneux Park subdivision, and owns other property and encourages people to establish businesses in the Alexandra district.

He has also been involved with the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, and with fighting for compensation for Alexandra through the Flood Action Group. One of his latest projects is as part of a group wanting to establish a retirement village in Alexandra.


Mr and Mrs Ritchie came to Clyde in 2010 after many years in the corporate world.

They bought the historic Olivers complex, first upgrading its accommodation wing and family residence and last year reopening a restaurant, craft brewery, bakery and cafe in the complex.

They are now involved in various local organisations. Mr Ritchie is involved with the Otago Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, Central Otago Heritage Trust and Cromwell Gorge Cycleway Trust.

Mrs Ritchie, who is a graduate of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts, has been on the Central Otago Arts Trust, Promote Dunstan and Clyde Museum committee. They are both part of Historic Clyde Charitable Society and have been involved with various Clyde promotions.


Clyde Vellacott, who, with his wife, Rachael Vellacott, is a part-owner of Jamies Jewellers, received an award for outstanding efforts in retail promotion. The business group citation said Mr Vellacott’s promotion was benefiting all Alexandra retailers and adding vibrancy to the town.

Jamies Jewellers, which was established by John Jamie in 1865, had been owned by five generations of the Jamie family and was believed to be New Zealand’s oldest consecutive family owned-and-operated jewellery business. The first John Jamie started out as an itinerant watchmaker in Dunedin and his grandson, the third John Jamie, opened the Alexandra store in 1916.

The latter’s daughter, Paula Lovering, was the fourth generation of the Jamie family to own the business, and her daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Clyde Vellacott, are now partners in the business.

The Alexandra-Clyde and Districts Business Group said Jamies Jewellers had made an outstanding contribution to the Central Otago business and wider community and it was a pleasure to give the business a special award for continued family ownership.Running sport mediaNike Air Max 270