31 Oct 2021

From CEOs to students, from researchers to historians, from grassroots social enterprises to achieving international prominence – more than 60 high-achieving New Zealanders have been named as Women of Influence Awards finalists today.

The prestigious awards recognise women making a difference in the work they do, paving the way for other women to thrive. Many have overcome severe hardships and have helped save the lives of others through their work.

Jointly presented by Westpac NZ and Stuff, the awards are now in their ninth year. Nominees are judged on the strength, scope and impact of their actions across 10 categories including Arts & Culture, Environment, Innovation, Science & Health, and Public Policy.

Westpac NZ Acting CEO Simon Power is pleased to see many young faces among this year’s finalists, taking action on issues that will benefit all New Zealanders in the years to come. 

“From innovative ideas aimed at reducing waste and cleaning up the environment to new initiatives around supporting the wellbeing of our rangatahi, it’s great to see young Kiwi women taking the lead on issues that matter to all of us,” Mr Power says.
“It’s also great to see such strong nominations in the Business Enterprise category. Kiwi SMEs have proven adaptable and resilient in tough conditions this year, and we’ll continue to work together with them to help drive Aotearoa’s economic recovery into 2022.”

Stuff CEO and Women of Influence judge Sinead Boucher praised the dedication and drive that the finalists show in their chosen fields.

“They are champions of a better world - their work has real impact, be it making an immediate difference or striving to exert social or policy change that creates long-term benefits.

“These awards attract inspiring women who are role models for all ages, they showcase our leaders of today and tomorrow.”

A Women of Influence Supreme Winner is chosen from among the 10 category winners.  Previous Supreme Winners include microbiologist and science communicator Siouxsie Wiles (2020),  neonatologist Dame Jane Harding (2019) and founder of domestic violence charity The Aunties, Jackie Clark (2018).

The finalists and winners will be honoured at a Women of Influence Awards gala dinner in Auckland on February 10, 2022.

For more information about the Awards, and to enquire about tickets to the Awards dinner, visit www.womenofinfluence.co.nz.



2021 Women of Influence finalists by category:


Arts & Culture

Susan Boland, Co-founder and Managing Director of Operatunity – Auckland

Ngaire Fuata, Director and General Manager of Sunpix Post – Auckland

Jody Jackson-Becerra, Creative Director – Auckland

Qiane Matata-Sipu, CEO of NUKU – Auckland

Jessie Rose, Artist and mentor – Whangarei

Julia Strelou, Managing Director of Addicted to Media – Queenstown

Hannah Watkinson, Manager of Salt Lane Studios – Christchurch

Lesley Whyte, Founder of Women in Photography – Auckland


Board & Management

Cassandra Crowley, CEO of Te Arawa and business mentor – Rotorua

Sally Morrison, Co-chair of Wellington Rugby League and board member – Wellington

Kylie Reiri, CEO of Nicholson Consulting, co-founder of Impact Lab – Wellington

Rebecca Thomas, Chief Information Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers – Auckland

Sam Tyson, Managing director of Climate and Plumbing and National Master Plumbers’ only female representative – New Plymouth

Ana Wilkinson-Gee, Creative Director and founder of Holi Boli Fashionz – Hamilton


Business Enterprise

Agnes Loheni, Director of MENA International – Auckland

Anthea Madill, Founder of Clever Green – Christchurch

Carla McNeil, Managing Director of Learning MATTERS – Te Awamutu

Anna Mowbray, CEO of ZURU Toys – Auckland

Latesha Randall, Co-founder of Raglan Food Co – Raglan

Debbie Sorensen, Chief Executive of Pasifika Medical Association and Pasifika Futures Ltd - Auckland

Nicola Relph, Owner of Adult Brands – Wellington

Jessie Wong, Director of Yu Mei – Wellington

Chloe and Florence van Dyke, Co-founders of Chia Sisters – Nelson


Community Hero

Denise Arnold, Found of Cambodia Charitable Trust – Tauranga

Denise Astill, Founder and Executive Officer of Foetal Anticonvulsant Syndrome NZ – Auckland

Sarah Brown, Co-founder of She Is Not Your Rehab – Christchurch

Kim Murray & Rebecca Morahan, Co-CEOs and co-founders of WELLfed – Wellington

Ruth Money, volunteer victim advocate – Auckland

Sarah Page, Founder of the Kindness Collective Foundation – Auckland

Bernadette Pinnell, International Director of Compass Housing – Auckland



Maria Jose Alvarez, Investment Manager, NZ Growth Capital Partners – Auckland

Nurain Janah, Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young and Founder of Authenticity Aotearoa – Auckland

Angela Meyer, Consultant and founder of the Gender Justice Collective – Auckland

Dana Youngman, Sky TV Network Executive – Auckland



Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer at Massey University and environmental anthropologist – Palmerston North

Professor Bronwyn Hayward MNZM, Professor, University of Canterbury;  Department of Political Science – Christchurch

Christine Liang, Programme Manager at the Southern Institute of Technology – Invercargill

Aroha Te Pareake Mead, Research Associate, Indigenous Knowledge & Biodiversity Chair Emeritus – Wellington

Cheryl Reynolds, CEO of Endangered Species Foundation – Raglan

Danielle Shanahan, Director of the Centre for People and Nature, and Deputy Chief Executive of Zealandia – Wellington


Innovation, Science & Health

Chris Duggan, Founder and CEO of House of Science - Auckland

Anna Kominik, Asian Pacific Region Director at Wisk - Wellington

Professor Beverly Lawton, Founder and Director of the Centre for Women’s Health Research Te Tātai Hauora o Hine – Wellington

Angela Lim, CEO and co-founder of Clearhead – Auckland

Professor Julia Rucklidge, Prof of Clinical Psychology at University of Canterbury – Christchurch


Primary Industries

Tina Armstrong, Organic Farmer – Whakatane

Carolyn Clegg, Vice President of New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association – Te Anau

Kristy McGregor, Editor-in-Chief of Shepherdess – Levin

Tia Potae, Whānau Ora Navigator – Milton


Public Policy

Louise Aitken, Chief Executive of The Ākina Foundation – Wellington

Megan Main, Deputy Secretary of Managed Isolation and Quarantine – Wellington

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Deputy Secretary Māori Rights & Interests, Ministry for the Environment – Christchurch

Sharon Mason, CEO of Buller District Council – Westport

Fiona McTavish, Chief Executive, Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council – Tauranga

Fiona Michel, Director - Sector Engagement, Workforce and Welfare - COVID-19 Vaccination Immunisation Programme, Ministry of Health – Auckland

Leilani Tamu, Pacific Manager of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – Auckland

Dr Jessica Young, Postdoctoral Fellow at Victoria University – Wellington 


Young Leader

Kate Gatfield-Jeffries, Student at University of Auckland and co-founder of Women in Law – Auckland

Riley Hathaway, Educator at Young Ocean Explorer – Auckland

Shuari Naidoo, CEO and co-founder of Moraka Menstrual Cups – Tauranga

Tara Shepherd, Otago University Student and climate change champion – Westport



2021 Women of Influence Partners

Stuff and Westpac are grateful for the support of the following partners:

  • AUT – Young Leader
  • Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand - Diversity
  • DLA Piper - Board & Management
  • Mastercard – Arts & Culture
  • Ministry for the Environment - Environment
  • Ministry for Women – Public Policy
  • Red Badge – Community Hero
  • Sales Force – Business Enterprise
  • Zespri – Primary Industries
  • Auckland Live – Event Supporter



About Stuff
Stuff connects with 2.4 million Kiwis per week across its platforms, including New Zealand’s largest news site Stuff.co.nz, Neighbourly, Stuff Events and a range of much-loved newspapers and magazines.

Proudly New Zealand-owned, Stuff leverages its high levels of trust and scale to deliver quality news, content and experiences that help make Aotearoa a better place. Stuff looks for opportunities to diversify into new categories and revenue streams to ensure it continues to deliver its award-winning, independent journalism. Find out more at about.stuff.co.nz.


About Westpac NZ

Westpac NZ has been serving New Zealanders since 1861 and is today one of the country’s largest full service banks with more than 1.3 million customers. We provide a full range of retail and commercial financial services including home and business lending, and are the Government’s main banking partner. We are committed to improving the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Our purpose is to help our customers financially to grow a better New Zealand.