"Tena Koutou.

Ko Taranaki me Ruapehu nga Maunga

Ko Ngati Ruanui me Ngati Maniapoto/Tuwharetoa nga lwi Ko Leslie Peturu Robinson Toku ingoa.

My name is Les Robinson. I am the founding director of DHL Groove. We provide entertainment services throughout the Western Bay of Plenty. I am also a qualified solicitor and business advisor.

I have had the pleasure of performing music as a solo artist and as a member of a duo at the Phoenix, Tauranga for four years now.

Ralph and Ana-Marie are the owners that invited me to come and perform at the Phoenix. Our working relationship has been extremely successful. The reasons for this are simple. Ralph and Ana-Marie are honest hardworking kiwis. This is something that I also strive to attain to.

Leadership is the most important thing in any company. Modern leadership requires many things. Knowledge, experience, humility, compassion, kindness, and the courage to admit when we do not know something and need help to learn. The leadership team at the Phoenix are all these things, and some. I know because they have sought my and other people‘s advice and help many times over the years.

I have worked as a musician in many restaurants, cafes, bars etc for over 40 years. I have seen owners and managers come and go. I know the difficulties it takes to lead a team of very young and relatively inexperienced staff. I have seen managers and owners who have failed miserably because they chose to manage people rather than lead them.

Ralph and Ana-Marie do not profess to be the perfect hospitality owners. They openly admit when they are wrong, and quickly move to resolve problems as

they arise. This is one thing I really admire about them. It is also a main factor in the successful business relationship we have.

Ralph and Ana- Marie have helped grow many young leaders from the hard- working young staff they have had work for them. Some local kiwis’ have stepped up to this task and some international young people have met the challenge. Irish, French, German, Argentinian, Australian, Maori, Pakeha. It has been a truly international experience working here.

Despite the normal issues that arise in the hospitality industry, there is now the added stress of the post covid 19 economy. The Phoenix continue to push forward and to maintain the high standards they have become known for.

I have the utmost respect for the Phoenix, it’s owners and the devoted young people who are willing to work hard and appreciate the opportunity given them by Ralph and Ana-Marie. I will continue to do what I can in any capacity to support this business as I would any business built on honesty, trust, kindness, and hard work.

No Reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. t.."

Les Robinson LLB, MBA, PGdip (dist)

"Within my year in New Zealand I worked very closely with both Ana and Ralph in the months I spent working for their business, The Phoenix Restaurant in Tauranga. I was delighted to obtain a role as a member of their Front of House team in May 2018. I later went on to pass my Manager’s license thus taking on the role as Duty Manager shortly afterwards. I had worked in hospitality for years before relocating to NZ, but my employment at The Phoenix has been a major highlight of my time in industry. The opportunity, belief, and trust I was shown throughout my employment here has made me into the worker I am today.

The Phoenix is a business that produces a high volume of work for anyone who works there, however it consistently maintains a great level of quality and customer service and this is down to both Ana and Ralph who are both masters of this.

Ana and Ralph possess a fantastic "can do" attitude and took over this business with a great energy and a smile. As new owners they adapted well and accordingly to their new business. Ana’s upbeat personality and engaging personal style enables her to interact effectively with customers and staff. She engaged me to undertake the task of managing the social media platforms and entertainment aspect of the business, something that was quite new for me. Her confidence and trust she instilled in me is something I will always be grateful for. Their approach to management is very rarely found in this industry, for an industry that has a great turnover of staff, employees can be often overlooked. As owners they demonstrated the exact opposite and made time and effort for anyone willing to grow within their roles.

All the intangibles that lead to success in the workplace are in order with both Ana & Ralph.

I volunteered to write this recommendation for Ana because I am very grateful for her style of ownership and management she shows. She is a great leader and showed tremendous belief in me throughout my entire journey at The Phoenix, by allowing me to achieve a Managers license to helping me generate business through newly acquired marketing techniques I always found that I was allowed grow professionally with ease. Ralph on the other hand is one of the hardest workers I know, the enthusiasm he showed in running both the floor and bar with my coworkers and I is something that gave us all a great a sense of respect and admiration for him. In full, it has been an absolute pleasure to work for both Ralph & Ana and I wish them all the success in the future."



Recruitment Manager Sydney, Australia