The first 2017 World Class New Zealand Award Winners

Ahead of the 2017 Kea World Class New Zealand Awards taking place in Auckland on 22 June, Kea is proud to announce six recipients of the Awards.  Among this year’s winners are businessman Sir Rob Fenwick; scientist and entrepreneur Dr Privahini Bradoo; award-winning choreographer Parris Goebel; leading scientist Dr. Phil Rolston; founder of Wrightspeed Inc Ian Wright; and chef Robert Oliver.

The two biggest awards of the ceremony; The Supreme Award (won last year by Sir Ralph Norris), and Friend of New Zealand Award (won last year by Matteo De Nora), will be announced on the night.

Three of the Award winners will also be speaking at Kea Inspire in Auckland on Wednesday 21 June.

Kea Global CEO Craig Donaldson says the 2017 Awards are a reflection of the rapid growth of Kiwi talent and ingenuity we continue to see shine on the global stage.

“We’re delighted with the calibre of award winners for 2017 - the lineup this year is arguably the best we’ve ever had. Each of our award recipients have achieved remarkable levels of global success, and made a massive contribution to New Zealand’s social, cultural and economic development.”

Sir Rob Fenwick, currently Director of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, is being recognised for his extensive contribution in the fields of environmental sustainability and natural heritage.

Dr Bradoo, co-founder and CEO of BlueOak, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, is being recognised for her leadership in the discovery of how to convert e-waste into a sustainable source of critical metals for the technologies of tomorrow.

Parris Goebel, champion dancer and choreographer, is being recognised for her international success, coupled with her efforts to inspire Kiwi youth.

Dr. Phil Rolston, a Scientist in Herbage and Vegetable Seed Research, has been selected for his work in addressing the issue of world poverty, through his scientific discovery of method for growing crops in arid areas.

Ian Wright, founder and CEO of Wrightspeed Inc., and co-founder of Tesla, is being acknowledged for his influence and contribution to the electric transportation industry.

And finally, Robert Oliver, chef, author and founder of Robert Oliver Enterprises LLC, has been included due to his contribution to the culinary industry, through the promotion of Pacific culture, and his international humanitarian work.

Established in 2003, the Awards provide a platform that recognises global success, celebrating Kiwis who are helping define New Zealand’s reputation internationally.

Each World Class New Zealand Award winner will receive a Tall Poppy statuette, designed by Weta Workshop co-founder and 2009 Supreme Award winner Sir Richard Taylor.

The awards ceremony will be taking place at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre, on Thursday 22nd June. Tickets can be purchased here.


WCNZ Awards 2017 Winners 03 Robert Oliver 1756x1089

For more information about the recipients, see below:

Dr Privahini Bradoo
  • Winner of the Fulbright Platinum Entrepreneurship Fellow scholarship
  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader
  • Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the University of Auckland
  • Co-Founder and CEO, BlueOak
Parris Goebel
  • Founder of ReQuest and Royal Family dance crews, Gold at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 and Silver 2011 & 2015
  • Female Choreographer of the Year, World of Dance Awards, 2014 & 2016
  • Young Leader Award, New Zealand Women of Influence Awards, 2015
  • Young New Zealander of the Year, Coca Cola Amatil New Zealander of the Year, 2014
  • Co-founder of Sisters United
Dr Phil Rolston
  • 42 years with DSIR Grasslands/AgResearch in forages and forage seed research
  • China’s highest award to foreigners, a Friendship Medal, 1996
  • The NZ Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture Technology Transfer Award, 2005
  • Researcher of the Year by the Foundation for Arable Research, 2008
  • China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, 2015
Ian Wright
  • Co-founded Tesla Motors in 2003
  • Created the fastest street legal electric car in the world– the X1
  • Bronze Power Generation Award, Edison Awards, 2015
  • Silicon Valley Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum Award, 2015
  • Technology Pioneer, World Economic Forum, June 2016
Robert Oliver
  • Chef Ambassador of Le Cordon Bleu, New Zealand / the Pacific Islands
  • Co-hosts Marae Kai Masters, a Māori cuisine show
  • Best Cookbook in the World, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Paris, 2010 for Me’a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific
  • Best TV Chef Cookbook in the World, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Beijing, 2013 for Mea’ai Samoa: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Polynesia
  • Owner, Kai Pasifika restaurant
  • Judge, My Kitchen Rules New Zealand
  • Host, Real Pasifik
Sir Rob Fenwick
  • Founding Director, Living Earth Ltd, 1993 – Present
  • Advisory Board Member, Westpac New Zealand Limited, 2013 – Present
  • Special Advisor to the Director General, Department of Conservation, 2010 – Present
  • Sustainability Advisory Group Panel Member, Air New Zealand, 2008 – Present
  • Chairman, Antarctica New Zealand, 2007 – Present
  • Deputy Chairman, TVNZ, 2004 – 2010
  • Inducted into NZ Business Hall of Fame, 2016
  • Knighted Justice of Order of St John, 2006
  • Knighted for services to business and the environment, 2016

WCNZ Awards 2017 Winners 02 Privahini 1756x1090