A small Waiheke security company has rubbed shoulders with the giants of the industry at the annual New Zealand Security Association awards – and come out on top.

For Waiheke Documents and Security, Justin Moroney’s win as operations manager of the year is an endorsement that clients and colleagues have been quick to applaud.

Justin, 27, grew up on the island and launched the company just three years ago, handpicking staff from his high school and rugby league playing days.

He is delighted to win the award “because we were up against some really big companies. All the big names were there so it was quite cool – a small team from Waiheke beating out the big guys with 2000 or 3000 employees.”

The firm was nominated for the awards by Gloria McGirr, a trainer who was impressed by the company’s emphasis on training and paying staff well.

“Justin understands more than most how hard it is for families in low paid jobs to keep body and soul together. They have integrity and they take [training] really seriously.”

Justin started working in security when he left school, on the door of the old Skinny Sardine in Oneroa “and it just snowballed from there.”

“All our staff buy into what we are doing,” Justin says. “We train our staff well above the minimum so they are able to pass NCEA levels without going back to school.

“We also pay our staff a living wage which is not very common in the security industry.

“I want to help them not only financially but by giving them practical skills such as getting their full driver’s licence.”

Alex Mansell of Gulf Foods was a client who liked what he saw and became Justin’s business partner. “When he saw I was struggling with the paperwork he offered to come on board.”

Charity events on the island have also benefited from the firm’s community-minded approach.

“We are pretty passionate about community – we like going over and above what a typical security company would do.”

Justin’s father Tim was a policeman for 28 years and became Waiheke’s police sergeant. He now works at Placemakers but Justin is keen to lure him into the business. “His experience is invaluable – he’s my ‘phone-a-friend’ when I need an answer.”

The recognition is likely to lead to further business opportunities allowing Justin and Alex to employ more locals.
• Geoff Cumming