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2009 Winners

Winners of the 2009 World Class New Zealand Awards.

Supreme: Richard Taylor
Information & Communications: Craig Nevill-Manning
Creative: Karen Walker
Life Sciences: Ray Avery
Manufacturing, Design & Innovation: Jane Hunter
Science, Technology & Academia: Peter Hunter
Investment & Business: John Buchanan
New Thinking: Phillip Mills

Supreme: Richard Taylor
Richard Taylor’s talent spans a range of media from puppetry to animation. He has won five Oscars in his career, working on movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong. He is a co-founder and director of Weta Workshop which was established in 1994 with his partner, Tania Rodger, Jamie Selkirk, and Peter Jackson. Their aim was to supply special effects for a growing New Zealand film industry. Their first large jobs included producing the special effects for Heavenly Creatures, Hercules, Xena, and The Frighteners, which then led to work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In 2002 Taylor’s team won two Oscars and two British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The success continues with The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - the second film in the trilogy - being nominated in six categories of the 2003 American Academy Awards. Information & Communications

Information & Communications:
Craig Nevill-Manning
Craig Nevill-Manning has made great contributions to the ICT sector in New Zealand. In 2003, he founded Google’s first remote engineering centre in New York, where he is an engineering director. Craig earned a BSc in Computer Science from Canterbury University, and a PhD in Computer Science from Waikato University. He moved to the United States in 1996 to pursue a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Stanford University where he met the founders of Google. Craig has contributed to significant innovations in Google’s core functionality, as well as leading the development of 'Froogle' which became Google Product Search. He also played a key role in Google Maps, and spearheaded the launch of Google in Maori based on translations from numerous Maori speakers. Craig has kept his ties to New Zealand and promotes his homeland through his work at Google: internships for New Zealand graduates; funding for New Zealand-based research projects; sabbaticals and speaking opportunities for visiting New Zealand academics.

Creative: Karen Walker
Karen Walker is internationally New Zealand's best-known fashion designer. Her collections are stocked in over 350 stores throughout the world in cities including New York, London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo. There are three Karen Walker flagship stores in New Zealand and one store in Taipei. Internationally, Karen is renowned for her creative and covetable designs. She is the only New Zealand designer to show at London Fashion Week (eight seasons since 2003) and New York Fashion Week (six seasons since 2007), and the only New Zealand designer featured every season on US Vogue’s website, style.com. Phaidon have included her in their recent book Sample which curates the 100 most influential designers to emerge in the past six years, and Taschen have included her in their book Fashion Now 2 which highlights the world’s most important 160 designers as selected by i-D magazine.

Life Sciences: Ray Avery
Ray Avery is the Founder and Chief Executive of Medicine Mondiale, an independent development agency focused on creating sustainable solutions to reduce global poverty. Medicine Mondiale develops products and technologies with applications in both the developing and developed world markets. Ray's inventions include: the design and commissioning of two intraocular lens laboratories which reduced the cost of a lens to US$6 making cataract surgery affordable and available for the world's poorest; the Acuset Improved IV Flow Controller, a foolproof Intravenous Infusion system which costs less than NZ$10; and Proteinforte, a food product that contains freeze dried meat and fruit pulp to deliver a pre-digested protein and energy boost to children in developing countries. Ray spends three months of each year in Africa and Asia. He is trying to raise financial support to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nepal to manufacture low cost life saving nutritional products.

Manufacturing, Design & Innovation: Jane Hunter
Jane Hunter graduated from Adelaide University with a degree in Agricultural Science before moving to New Zealand to work as National Viticulturist for Montana Wines. Hunter's Wines was the dream of Jane and her late husband, Ernie. The company has a reputation for producing high-quality wines. It sources grapes from the Wairau Valley area of Marlborough and produces about 80,000 cases of wine annually, nearly half of which is exported to: the UK, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, the USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Denmark and Brazil. Hunter's Wines has won more than 120 gold medals. Jane received an OBE for services to the wine industry (1993), an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Massey University (1997), the inaugural Wine and Spirit Competition ‘Women in Wine’ Award (2003), and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2009). She is a patron of the arts and is on the board of NZTE.

Science, Technology & Academia: Peter Hunter
Professor Peter Hunter is one of New Zealand’s highest-achieving scientists and best known for his mathematical model of the human heart. Peter began his career as an engineering student before studying Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Auckland, then physiology at Oxford University. Peter heads the Physiome Project, an ambitious international association of linked research groups devoted to defining all aspects of human physiology using computer modelling. He is the Bioengineering Institute Director at the University of Auckland, Director of Computational Physiology at Oxford University, and holds honorary or visiting professorships at Oxford University, Osaka University and the Queensland University. Peter is a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 1996 was elected to the prestigious Royal Society in London. He is secretary-general of the World Council for Biomechanics and President of the Physiological Society of New Zealand. Peter is also on the scientific advisory boards for a number of research institutes in Europe, USA and the Asia-Pacific region, a reviewer for over 20 scientific journals, and is recognised internationally as being a leading authority on physiology and biomedical engineering.

Investment & Business: John Buchanan
John Buchanan is one of New Zealand's most astute business exports. After earning his PhD in Chemistry from Auckland University, John continued his studies at Oxford University, where he was awarded an ICI Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship and a Junior Research Fellowship to Wolfson College. He moved on to complete the Harvard Business School PMD in 1977. In a 33-year career with BP, John performed roles including responsibility for crude oil acquisition and trading, head of corporate planning, group treasurer, and Group Chief Financial Officer. He is currently Chairman of: the UK Friends of the University of Auckland, Smith & Nephew, the UK International Chamber of Commerce; Deputy Chair of the global board of Vodafone and a Non-Executive Director on the global boards of AstraZeneca and BHPBilliton. John is also a member of the University of Auckland’s Business School Advisory Board and a trustee of the UK Friends of Auckland Grammar School.

New Thinking: Phillip Mills
Phillip Mills is one of the pioneers of the international fitness industry. He was a Commonwealth Games hurdles finalist and won a track scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated in philosophy. On returning home, Phillip took an increasing role in the Les Mills fitness business founded by his parents. It floated on the stock market in 1984 and was taken over by an investment company just before the 1987 crash. When the investment company folded, Phillip and his wife progressively bought the business back. There are now ten Les Mills clubs in New Zealand with 50,000 members. Inspired by the aerobics boom in the USA, Phillip developed his own exercise-to-music system which now includes eight group fitness programmes distributed to 12,500 fitness clubs in 75 countries, with an estimated five million participants a week. Phillip was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. Les Mills International was named New Zealand Services Exporter of the Year by NZTE.