New Zealand Women of Influence Award

The New Zealand Women of Influence Awards are an annual set of awards which recognise women who make a difference to everyday New Zealanders' lives. The Awards were first made in 2013 and were initially sponsored by Westpac Bank.[1] In 2016, Stuff NZ became a joint sponsor.

The Awards were initially presented in five categories.[1] As of 2019, they are made in ten categories: Board and Management, Business Enterprise, Science, Health and Innovation, Young Leader, Arts and Culture, Public Policy, Community and Not-for-profit, Diversity, Global and Rural. A Local and Regional Award was also made in 2013 and 2014. In addition, there is a Supreme Award.[2] In 2016 a Lifetime Achievement Award was introduced.[3]

Nominations are invited from the public, and a selection panel makes the final decisions on award recipients.[4]


Supreme Woman of Influence

The 2018 Supreme Award went to Jackie Clark, of The Aunties, a charity working with domestic violence survivors in South Auckland.[5] Cecilia Robinson won the Supreme Award in 2017, and Helen Robinson in 2016.[3][6] Joan Withers won the 2015 Supreme Award for her work campaigning for more women on boards and in business.[2] The 2014 Supreme winner was Lesley Elliott for her work at the Sophie Elliott Foundation, which educates New Zealanders on healthy relationships.[2] Dame Therese Walsh, chief operating officer for Rugby New Zealand 2011, received the Supreme Award in 2013.[1]

Lifetime Achievement

In 2018, the Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Theresa Gattung.[5] In 2017 the Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Helen Clark.[6] The inaugural winner, in 2016, was Dame Rosanne Meo.[3]

Board and Management

Dr Farah Palmer won the 2018 award.[5] The 2017 winner was Anne-Maree O'Connor.[6] The 2016 winner was businesswoman Helen Robinson, who was also the winner of the Supreme Award.[3] The 2015 winner was Joan Withers, who also won the Supreme Award.[7] The 2014 winner was Traci Houpapa.[7] The 2013 winner was also the winner of the Supreme Award, Dame Therese Walsh.[7]

Business Enterprise

Angie Judge won the 2018 award for Business Enterprise.[5] The 2017 winner for business entrepreneurship was Cecilia Robinson, who also won the Supreme Award, and the 2016 winner was Lisa King.[3][6] The 2015 winner was Linda Jenkinson.[7] In 2014 the winner was Dame Wendy Pye.[7] The 2013 winner was lawyer Mai Chen.[7]

Innovation and Science

Professor Wendy Larner won the 2018 award for Innovation and Science.[5] The 2017 winner was Hinemoa Elder of the Centre of Research Excellence for the Ageing Brain.[6] The 2016 winner was scientist Michelle Dickinson.[3] The 2015 winner was education futurist Frances Valintine.[7] The 2014 winner was chemist Margaret Brimble.[7] The 2013 winner was Marilyn Waring.[7]

Young Leader

In 2013 and 2014 this category was "Emerging Leader". The 2014 winner was Althea Carbon, and the 2013 winner was Mahsa Mohaghegh.[7]

In 2015 it was renamed "Young Leader" and the winner was hip hop choreographer Parris Goebel.[7] The 2016 winner was Alexia Hilbertidou, the founder of GirlBoss NZ.[3] The 2017 winner was Sharnay Cocup, founder of the Taupiri Youth Group Trust.[6] The 2018 award was given to Maddison McQueen-Davies founder of Share a Pair NZ.[5]

Arts and Culture

Miranda Harcourt won the 2018 award for Arts and Culture.[5] The 2017 winner was fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet; the 2016 winner was filmwriter, director and producer Gaylene Preston.[3][6] The 2015 winner was Victoria Spackman.[7]

Public Policy

The 2018 award was won by Charlotte Korte, for her part in creating Mesh Down Under.[8][5] The 2017 winner was Director of Security at the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Rebecca Kitteridge.[6] The 2016 winner was Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Naomi Ferguson.[3] This category was new in 2015; the winner was Vicky Robertson, Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment and Secretary for the Environment.[9][7]

Community and not-for-profit

This category was originally titled "Community and Social" (in 2013), renamed "Community" in 2014, and is currently titled "Community and not-for-profit".

The 2017 winner was Lisa King, founder of school lunch provider Eat My Lunch.[6] The 2016 winner was Catriona Williams.[3] The 2015 winner was Stacey Shortall.[7] The 2014 winner was also the Supreme Award winner, Lesley Elliott.[7] The 2013 winner was Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o.[7] The 2018 winner was Jackie Clark, who also won the Supreme Award.[5]


Sarah Lang won the 2018 award for Diversity.[5][10] The 2017 winner was Minnie Baragwanath, the founder of Be. Accessible, a social change agency focusing on changing how New Zealanders view accessibility.[6] The 2016 winner was Wellington politician Sue Kedgley.[3] The 2015 winner was Colonel Karyn Thompson, the most senior woman in the New Zealand Defence Force.[11]


The 2018 winner was Sarah Vrede.[5] The 2017 winner was Sian Simpson. The 2016 winner was New Zealand's auditor-general, Lyn Provost.[3] The 2015 winner was London-based lawyer Judith Mayhew Jonas.[7]


Rebecca Keoghan won the 2018 Rural award.[12] The 2017 winner was Nicola Shadbolt; the 2016 winner was Mavis Mullins, and the 2015 winner was Katie Milne.[7][3][6]

Local and regional

This award has been made twice: in 2014 the winner was Wellington politician Kerry Prendergast, and in 2013, another Wellington politician, Fran Wilde.[7]

Social enterprise

This award has been made once, in 2014, when it was presented jointly to Jo-anne Wilkinson and Anne Miles.[7]


  1. "Women of Influence Awards | Ministry for Women". Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  2. "Know a Woman of Influence?". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  3. "Women of Influence winners". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  4. "Women of Influence 2016: About the awards". Stuff. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  5. "Women of Influence awards". Stuff. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  6. "My Food Bag founder Cecilia Robinson supreme winner at Women of Influence awards". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  7. "Women of Influence 2016: Meet our alumni". Stuff. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  8. "Patients who say surgical mesh has made their lives a 'living hell' question why it's still being used". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  9. "Leadership team | Ministry for the Environment". Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  10. "Sarah Lang: Women of Influence Diversity Award Winner | Scoop News". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  11. "Women of Influence Alumni ยป Westpac New Zealand". Retrieved 2016-06-03.
  12. "Rebecca Keoghan named Rural Woman of Influence - Life & Leisure - The Country News". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
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