Arts and culture
Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust
Liz set up Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust with fellow-musician and husband Craig Utting to provide free instruments and tuition to students at 11 low-decile Porirua schools. The 100-plus Virtuoso Strings Orchestra performs at dozens of community and cultural events each year.
Paula is an accomplished author and is passionate about New Zealand's literary landscape. In addition to teaching at the University of Auckland, Paula is a trustee for the Michael King Writers' Centre and the NZ Book Awards Trust; is a member of the New Zealand Book Council's Sector Steering Group; an assessor for the Maori Arts Panel of Creative NZ and the General Arts Fund, and is aiding the development of Maori literature.
Founder, Touch Compass
The dancer and choreographer's renowned inclusive dance company Touch Compass turns 20 this year. Founded in 1997, it has created a space where those with disabilities can join together with non-disabled dancers to express themselves artistically, and where they can be recognised, respected and be part of a community.
Artist, educator & cultural leader
Mary has played a key role in developing and preserving Pacific arts and culture in New Zealand. From the 70s onwards, Mary brought the traditional arts practices of the Cook Islands to Aotearoa.
Former artistic director
Carla has been a driving force in the arts for more than 40 years, putting Kiwi performers on the world map. Fondly dubbed 'Aunty Carla' by those in the industry, she recently retired as artistic director of the Auckland Arts Festival, where she tirelessly championed Maori and Pasifika work.
Business & Innovation
Privahini is combining the disciplines of science and business to help fight climate change. She gained a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Auckland, where she was founding CEO of student-entrepreneurship programme Velocity (then called Spark) – which has helped start over 110 companies in the past 12 years.
Founder & director, Kai Ora Honey
Blanche is the driving force behind Kai Ora Honey, a successful export business that produces some of the country's highest active honey. The Ma¯ori brand operates 2500 hives in Awanui. Just four years after it began shipping overseas, it now sells 50 tonnes of honey annually to Japan, the UK, the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuwait, with plans to export 90 tonnes by 2020.
Director, East Tamaki Healthcare
This grandmother of seven with no formal education co-founded the largest independent primary healthcare group in New Zealand. Winner of Deloitte's Visionary Leader Award in 2016, it was a desire to improve access to healthcare that prompted Ranjna and her husband to create New Zealand's first all-purpose medical centre, now known as Nirvana Health Group.
Founder/director, Pure Delish
She started out making cakes as a struggling young mum; now Kaz runs Pure Delish, a business she built from scratch with no investors. With its range of premium breakfast cereals, cakes and snacks stocked in the main supermarkets, the company has 30 staff and exports to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Tahiti.
As co-founder of crowdfunding company PledgeMe, Anna has helped redefine the way Kiwis support campaigns and how NZ companies do business. In five years PledgeMe has run over 1100 successful campaigns and had $15 million pledged. It now also provides platforms for equity and lending. Anna crowdsourced a list of inspiring women that now has over 700 names.
Named Philanthropy New Zealand's 2017 emerging individual, Lani has been involved with social enterprises for more than 10 years. Her company, ThankYou Payroll, provides small businesses and charities with a free payroll service, with $5 per client per pay donated to community organisations through a charitable trust.
Founder of Revive a Smile and ICARE
Assil is dedicated to helping Kiwis in need regain their confidence, and their smile. Through Revive a Smile, she has delivered free dental treatment to more than 1500 people, including domestic abuse victims, refugees, low-income adults and the elderly.
Lawyer and philanthropist
A partner at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Stacey Shortall has 20 years of pro bono experience. She started the Mothers Project in Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility, to connect incarcerated mothers with their children.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
After unexpectedly raising her foster daughter's two children, Diane saw a need for support for grandparents facing the same challenges, often on limited incomes.
Equal pay campaigner
Having worked at a rest home for 24 years for only $14.46 an hour, Kristine made history for herself and countless other New Zealand women this year when she campaigned for, and won, equal pay for 55,000 care and support workers.
Programme leader at Manaiakalani Education Trust
Dorothy has been an educator for more than 35 years, with a focus on working with Maori and Pasifika children. Since 2007, she has been leading the Manaiakalani education programme, an internationally-recognised scheme to accelerate progress in low socioeconomic communities.
Co-founder of LearnCoach
A believer that cost shouldn't be a barrier to students getting help with their studies, Deborah co-founded LearnCoach, a social enterprise providing free online tutorials, summaries and practice exam questions. From its beginnings five years ago, the programme has helped around 100,000 students in more than 200 secondary schools.
CEO of Wendy Pye Publishing
For the past 35 years, Dame Wendy has been helping millions of children to learn to read – believing firmly that literacy is the key to lifting people out of poverty. The owner of Sunshine Books, she has seen the company grow to feature more than 2000 titles and be rolled out to more than 20 countries, including China and Russia.
Founder of InsideOUT
At 19, Tabby set up her LBGTIA+ charity to make New Zealand a safer place for youth of minority sexualities, genders and sex characteristics. At 22, she became the first New Zealander to receive the Queen's Young Leader Award.
Director/co-founder, Sticks 'n Stones
Karla didn't buy into the idea that bullying was 'part of growing up', and instead created the by-youth, for-youth anti-bullying movement Sticks 'n Stones. The programme started out in 2012 with just 30 students, and now involves 400 young people from Years 7 to 13 in the South Island.
Health & Science
A research fellow at Auckland University's Centre for Brain Research, Melanie leads the world-first research project 'FightHD' for people at risk of neurodegenerative disorder Huntington's disease, which is especially prevalent in New Zealand.
Siouxsie is tackling the crisis of antibiotic resistance by searching for new antibiotics from New Zealand fungi. As head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland, the work she and her team are doing is influencing researchers worldwide.
Susan is changing lives as the founder/director of Growing Up in New Zealand: the most comprehensive study about the lives of New Zealand children and their families ever undertaken.
Robyn is clinical director of General Medicine at Auckland City Hospital and has had a prominent career as a diabetes specialist. In 2001, the rising numbers of people, especially younger patients, in her diabetes clinic led her to found advocacy group Fight the Obesity Epidemic.
As Auckland University's first‐ever female Engineering Department head, Rosalind is at the helm of a faculty ranked in the top 20 academic units in New Zealand.
Anna Harrison Former Silver Fern
Former Silver Fern
Over the course of her 15-year career with the Silver Ferns, Anna, who retired this year, played 88 test matches for New Zealand, including two world cups and three Commonwealth Games.
Co-founder and CEO of the world's only annual indigenous half-Ironman triathlon, Heather has nurtured IronMaori from its original 300 participants to the 2500 people who now compete.
Currently ranked as New Zealand's leading triathlete, Andrea has demonstrated immense resilience in the face of personal tragedy. Less than a year before the 2016 Rio Olympics, Andrea's fiancé passed away unexpectedly.
CEO, Paralympics New Zealand
Fiona has been the driving force behind para sport in New Zealand for more than 10 years. Under her leadership, New Zealand has competed at five Paralympic Games, from Beijing 2008 to Rio 2016, where Paralympians have won a total of 52 medals.
Founder of All Star Cheerleaders
Kimberley has been a key player in the international campaign to grant cheerleading provisional Olympic recognition.