It’s only a peewee outfit but that hasn’t stopped a Raglan-based campervan rental company from beating the big guys in taking two prestigious accolades in the annual Rankers Awards.

PiwiWiwi, run by Anna Cunningham and Niall Darwin from their modest Raglan West home, has been named both ‘Best Campervan Rental Company in NZ’ and ‘Supreme Winner’ in the transport category of the awards, which are based on feedback posted on the independent travel review website.
“Take a look at PiwiWiwi’s page on Rankers, it’s clear to see why they have won the awards,” say the website co-owners Cymen Crick and Nick Morrison. “Reviews from past customers are glowing.”

Anna and Niall were blown away by their twin accolades. “Bloody hell, it’s ridiculous – we’ve cleaned up,” said Niall, pointing out it was only a short while ago they were celebrating moving up to second spot in the constantly changing online rankings by having special T-shirts printed.

He was particularly thrilled to have PiwiWiwi named ‘Supreme Winner’ because that category included the likes of heli tours, water taxis and even train journeys.

The pair insist the awards won’t go to their heads. “We’re just two clueless people from Britain who came out here with an idea,” said Niall modestly. “And now we have a little gold cup by our name, to make of it what we can.”

They’ve also received from Rankers some stickers promoting PiwiWiwi’s accolades but are reluctant to display them on their small fleet of campervans because they “don’t want to set up an expectation”.

Anna and Niall did celebrate their wins with lunch out at The Shack, but it was quickly back to cleaning vans and preparing for a busy summer. Anna says it’s “business as usual” as they strive to provide good quality vehicles and great customer service.

“We treat our customers the way we like to be treated – as real people, not just numbers on a spreadsheet,” she says.
Nick Morrison adds that the Rankers awards “cut through the bullshit and bring us back to old-fashioned values of hosting, looking after people and celebrating the individual.”

One organisation particularly chuffed to see PiwiWiwi beat the big guys was the Raglan Chamber of Commerce, which quickly spread the good news around the business community. Chamber president Stephanie Philp has coached and mentored Anna and Niall since shortly after PiwiWiwi opened for business just over two years ago.

Edith Symes
Photo credit: Karin van Til