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

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