17 Jun 2020

The world may have changed dramatically since last year’s awards, but the Women of Influence programme will continue celebrating impressive Kiwi women in 2020.

Nominations for the annual awards open today, with organisers Stuff and Westpac NZ also revealing new details of a forthcoming ‘virtual’ Speaker Series, focussing on the theme of ‘Taking on Tomorrow’.

Broadcaster and Māori language advocate Stacey Morrison, ground-breaking criminal lawyer Marie Dyhrberg, rising environmental leader Annika Andresen and former discus world champion turned community leader Beatrice Faumuina ONZM will be among the speakers.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean says Kiwi women will play a key role in reshaping the country as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Women of Influence is about sharing smart ideas and showcasing the women who are shaping our future, from a global to community level. It’s more important right now than ever that we support them,” Mr McLean says.

“Last year’s inaugural Speaker Series drew five sold out audiences nationwide, and attendees loved meeting and hearing from all sorts of inspirational Kiwis. We want to keep that up by hosting three interactive, informative and engaging live broadcast events in August, free for anyone to register.”

Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher says the awards are a meaningful way to celebrate the important contribution of women in building a better future for all of us.

“Many of our previous Women of Influence winners have since gone on to receive wider recognition, including 2019 Arts & Culture winner Jennifer Ward-Lealand who was named 2020 New Zealander of the Year, and supreme winner Professor Jane Harding who was awarded Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the recent Queen’s birthday honours.”

“More importantly, their mana and their determination continues to create positive transformation within our communities and internationally.

“Being able to play a small part in championing other women makes me extremely proud,” Ms Boucher adds. “If you know someone making a real difference in the world - nominate her.”

The awards are now in their eighth year and an award celebration will follow later this year, with leading women recognised in ten categories: Arts & Culture; Board & Management; Business Enterprise; Community Hero; Diversity; Global; Innovation, Science and Health; Public Policy, Rural and Young Leader.  A 2020 supreme winner will be chosen from the ten category winners.

There are fresh faces among the judges, with All Black legend and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, sustainability champion Abbie Reynolds and not-for-profit leader Vanisa Dhiru joining the six-person panel.

For more information about Women of Influence and this year’s Speaker Series, past winners and how to nominate, visit www.womenofinfluence.co.nz. Follow Women of Influence on FacebookandInstagramfor programme news and updates.

Key dates for the 2020 Women of Influence Awards:

Wednesday 17 June - Nominations open    
Monday 31 August - Nominations close    
Thursday 6, 13, 20 August - Women of Influence Speaker Series, online lunchtime events    
Sunday 27 September - Awards finalists announced    
TBC October/November - Awards celebration

New judges in 2020

Vanisa Dhiru is a community advocate with senior not-for-profit leadership experience. She is currently a commissioner for the NZ National Commission of UNESCO, and most recently she served as president of the National Council for Women of New Zealand.

Sir John Kirwan is a 63-test former All Black who has dedicated much of his post-rugby life to raising awareness about mental health issues and helping Kiwis overcome depression. He was knighted in 2012 for his services to mental health and rugby.

Abbie Reynolds is one of New Zealand’s most powerful voices in sustainable business. A former head of the Sustainable Business Council, she’s worked with New Zealand’s biggest organisations to help them drive action on sustainability including climate change, social impact and future of work. She was a key architect in the establishment and launch of the Climate Leaders Coalition in 2018. 

Vanisa, John and Abbie will join existing judges, former Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher and Westpac NZ General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth, Gina Dellabarca.

2020 Women of Influence Partners

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

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand – Diversity category   DLA Piper – Board and Management category    
Massey University – Global category    
Ministry for Women – Public Policy category    
Zespri – Rural category  


About Stuff

Stuff is a collection of digital-first products and services that connect Kiwi communities to the stuff that matters, the stuff they love and each other. Proud to be New Zealand’s leading media organisation, Stuff connects with 3.2 million Kiwis every month across its platforms, including NZ’s largest news site, stuff.co.nz, and a broad range of much-loved newspaper titles and magazines. Stuff leverages its audience to and scale to diversify into new categories and revenue streams, to ensure it continues to deliver quality local journalism that Kiwis look for every day. Stuff connects with the community through a range of sport, business and lifestyle events, and ventures like Neighbourly and Play Stuff. Find out more at about.stuff.co.nz

About Westpac

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.