31 Oct 2021
Photo of the Women of Influence Awards

Last year's Supreme Winner, Siouxsie Wiles, photographed at the awards gala event.

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 said he's 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,” Power said.

“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,” he said.

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,” Boucher said.

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 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