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Hall of Fame - Individual Award

Rebecca Jackson, Massey University in Palmerston North

HR Student of the Year 2023 

2022 was my final year of studying a Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Human Resources & Employment Relations) at Massey University, in Palmerston North. During this time, I was HRNZ’s Student Ambassador for the Manawatu-Whanganui area. I organised an ‘HR Information & Networking’ evening and helped coordinate several other branch events. The HRNZ Ambassadorship was an invaluable experience, allowing me to expand my network and refine my skills. I strive to start a career in HR that will lead me to become a ‘HR Generalist’. I have an interest in improving the employee experience and organisational attractiveness. 

Check out the Award Video



 Amy Raine, University of Auckland

HR Student of the Year 2022, in association with MAS

As well as being an academically exceptional, HR Student of the Year Award winner Amy Raine (University of Auckland) is already making a meaningful impact, mentoring fellow HR students, and serving as student Representative whilst studying. Whilst studying Amy worked part-time as HR Coordinator for The Strand Veterinarian, where she recently got promoted to Practice Manager. 



Rebecca Ralph, Victoria University of Wellington

HR Student of the Year 2021 

The new HR Student of the Year Award attracted a lot of entries with 4 deserving finalists named. Rebecca Ralph was named Student of the Year, with the judges commending her proactive approach to networking, in particular her role as Student Ambassador in the Wellington region. 

Jason Cook, Mt Pokaka Timber products Ltd

Emerging HR Practitioner 2023, in association with MAS 

Kia Ora my name is Jason Cook recently promoted HR Manager for Mt Pokaka Timber Products Ltd a NZ owned, outdoor timber processing plant in Kerikeri, Northland, NZ. The HR profession allows me to critically think about solutions to challenges faced by my organization. Extremely rewarding when those solutions create positive change within the organization. A profession that I fell into and learned to love and enjoy immensely as I deal with every single one of our 116 employees from the beginning in attracting them, all the way through until the end of the employee life cycle. I would like to thank my employer and whanau in supporting me on my professional HR journey. 

Check out the Award Video




Abbigail Surridge CMHRNZ, Blue River Dairy

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2022, in association with MAS

Having left school at 15, Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year winner Abbigail Surridge (Blue River Dairy) spent the past 3 years learning the foundation and fundamentals of HR – self-taught by reading, watching videos/podcasts and reflecting. Abbigail was a key member of the team that helped Blue River Dairy achieve Visa Accreditation through immigration. Then, in September last year, Abbigail gained Chartered Member accreditation, a great achievement that demonstrates her passion for and total commitment to the human resources profession. 

Sona Valesyan, Tonkin + Taylor

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2021 

Sona Vaelsyan from Tonkin + Taylor was awarded the Emerging HR Practitioner Award. The judges were impressed with Sona’s willingness to take on specialist tasks such as involvement in wellbeing and diversity and inclusion teams. She also operates significantly outside of the business involving herself in many external groups relating to HR and engineering and in community groups particularly focussing on youth and employment. 



Sophie John, Cedenco Foods NZ

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2020 

As an HR Practitioner, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be working within an industry that I am so passionate about. Being earlyin my career, I have been fortunate to have gained a great deal of experience and exposure in my various roles.One of my strengths is my ability to build relationships and understand motivations. I am passionate about developing people andworking to grow them to their full potential.Working within Operations, I enjoy seeing the tangible outcomes of HR practices, and strongly believe in our ability to improveproductivity and outputs through HR initiatives. 

Heidi Gillingham, AJ Hackett Bungy NZ

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2019 

After taking an unconventional path into the HR profession, which saw me travelling the world, working in variousroles within the Recreation, Leisure, Hospitality & Tourism industries, I am loving my role as Recruitment & TrainingOfficer with one of NZ's most iconic Tourism Operators. I am inspired to continually improve all aspects of HR withinthe organisation. Having settled in Queenstown 8 years ago, I honed my HR skillset in positions such as InternshipManager at Queenstown Resort College & am relishing the chance to offer assistance to others developing their ownHR capabilities, through local involvement with the Queenstown HRINZ chapter & Chamber of Commerce HR PilotScheme. 



Sarah Geraghty, Grant Thornton New Zealand Ltd

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2018  

Newly graduated and with a number of years of administration experience, Sarah commenced employment at Grant Thornton New Zealand as our People and Culture Team Co-ordinator in March 2015. In a very short time frame she has set about learning and developing a broad range of HR competencies at levels well beyond her years of experience. Starting with payroll and HR administration duties, she quickly progressed to advisory responsibilities and leading national HR projects; she now leads the Learning and Development function. Sarah has a high level of credibility within the business, and very strong relationships built on trust with Partners and wider team members.


Amy Bonham, Auckland Council

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2017, in association with Melbourne Business School

Amy is barely one year out of the highly successful Auckland Council Graduate Programme, yet she is already leading and participating in the most complex and exciting projects the People and Capability function has seen since its amalgamation. 

Having worked in many areas of HR through her graduate programme rotations, she already has a well-rounded view of the contribution HR practice can make. Since being promoted from the Graduate Programme Amy has secured some challenging projects, including working directly for the People and Capability Director on a complex restructure, and working alongside both EY and Deloitte on organisation-wide projects.  

Sarah Barrow

Emerging HR Practitioner of the Year 2016

Sarah has achieved meteoric career progression since she joined Beca in January 2014. From Coordinator to Advisor, then to Business Partner within 18 months. Her ability and application defies her tenure. Strategic in nature, she has created step change within her business line leadership teams. With a natural intuition when it comes to business partnering, she continuously finds ways to build leadership capability which influences better outcomes for our business. Sarah offers a glimpse at the future of HR – using research in new fields of thought to influence and shape the future. 


Kerry Tattersall, Baker Tilly Staples Rodway

HR Professional of the Year 2022, in association with PwC 

Kerry Tattersall is an Associate, ER/HR Consultant and Licensed Private Investigator for Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Hawke’s Bay Limited. Kerry’s career has spanned two decades and two countries, having spent the majority of her life in the UK until moving to NZ in 2013. 

Kerry spends most of her time within the employment relations space, be it undertaking investigations, collective bargaining or navigating clients through personal grievances and mediations. Kerry’s strength lies in the ability to slice through communication knots to enable a positive outcome by the power of restorative practices and coaching techniques. 

Check out the Award Video


Danni Williams CMHRNZ, PricewaterhouseCoopers

HR Professional of the Year 2022

HR Professional of the Year, Danni Williams (PwC) is a career HR professional, with expertise in the future of work, strategic and operational HR practice, employment relations, and change. Following an impressive employment history in strategic HR roles across government, health and the recruitment industry, Danni accepted a role as Director, People & Organisation Consulting with PwC. As well as ‘market and client’ work, Danni has made a huge contribution to the HR industry with her consulting about People & organisation practice development and People Development. A staunch advocate of remote working, Danni is a pragmatic and enthusiastic HR professional who sees opportunity and acts. 




Natasha Holloway, Fulton Hogan

HR Generalist of the Year 2021 

The HR Generalist of the Year Award went to Natasha Holloway from Fulton Hogan. Without any formal qualification in HR, Natasha followed her passion working to build her knowledge through practical on the job training. The judges commented “Natasha has risen to a senior role providing the highest quality of people leadership whilst externally working in community initiatives relating to apprenticeships and other youth focused activities.” 




Amanda Herron-Quan, Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)

HR Generalist of the Year 2020 

Group Manager People & Culture, Amanda Herron-Quan is a much loved leader of the BCITO. Joining in 2010 as their first and onlyHR practitioner, Amanda has been central to BCITO’s successful growth from 130 to to 300 employees, and its navigation throughthe Government’s vocational education reform, through her strong leadership beyond HR. 

Amanda is a warm, enthusiastic and authentic leader. She has grown BCITO’s HR function from literally nothing to something thatis highly valued by the organisation. She has done this through pushing boundaries, boldly trying new things – always learning, andwith her people at the heart. 




Katie Williams, Vodafone

HR Generalist of the Year 2019, in association with SHL 

I am an Organisational Psychologist by training with experience in Management Consulting in NZ, Europe and the UK prior to moving into in-house HR roles spanning generalist and specialist HR activity. My current role is 2IC to the Vodafone NZ HR Director leading the Vodafone New Zealand HR function to drive productivity and performanceacross the business. I am a working mother of three children between the ages of 8 and 13, and have a long-standing passion and commitment to supporting women to live the life they most want, through doing all I can to increase gender equality in the workplace. 




Kate Daly, Fletcher Building Limited

HR Generalist of the Year 2018, in association with Strategic Pay  

Kate joined Fletcher Building in 2011 from Coca-Cola Amatil. The credibility of the central HR function was poor internally and externally and there had been little investment in the function since Fletcher Building was formed in 2001.Over the past six years, Kate has completely rebuilt the HR function to one which is highly valued and respected both internally and externally. Internally she has developed a true centre of excellence which partners with the business to ensure HR programmes are developed to support the business strategy. Her passion for people and personal investment in raising the profile of diversity across the business has had a significant impact on many employees globally.



Caroline Fleetwood, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA)

HR Generalist of the Year 2017, in association with Melbourne Business School 

Caroline Fleetwood is currently the General Manager of People, Culture and Safety for the Christchurch International Airport Limited. Prior to this Caroline was the General Manager of the Change Management Office for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) a role she took on in mid-2015 following on from her role of General Manager of People, Capability and Performance. This nomination for Caroline is about her achievements in a generalist HR but also her delivery of the Transition Recovery Implementation Plan at CERA. Caroline’s leadership of the transition of CERA delivered the most complex change programme and the most complex and highest value ($1.2b) asset transition in central government’s history.  




Laurent Sylvestre

HR Generalist of the Year 2016

7 years ago, Laurent arrived in New Zealand from France with a passion for people and an ambition to further grow and develop his flourishing career in HR. Today, Laurent is the General Manager of People & Culture at Beca NZ, and has made a significant and enduring contribution to the business – designing, leading and implementing innovative initiatives and frameworks that have transformed Beca NZ into a talent-led organization. Through his achievement focus, strategic leadership, empathetic nature, and passion for HR, he consistently brings out the best in people – enabling our team of 2000 to discover, develop and fully express their talents.  



Bonita McCarthy, Fonterra

HR Specialist of the Year 2021 

The HR Specialist of the Year Award went to Bonita McCarthy who operates reward management, mobility, performance, and people analytics speciality globally for Fonterra. The judges were impressed that Bonita’s complex specialist activities span the entire company and include operating at the highest strategic levels on a regular basis making a real difference to the company and its people. 




Andrew Dennan, Synlait Milk Ltd

HR Specialist of the Year 2020 

Andrew Dennan is the Group Talent Acquisition Manager at Synlait Milk Ltd. He is a global leader specialising in Talent Acquisitiontransformation, innovation, and building high performing inclusive teams. He has established in-house talent acquisition functions;run regional recruiting operations via RPO; formed executive search operations and contractor supply services worldwide over thepast 15 years.



Vicki Bazalo, Meridian Energy

HR Specialist of the Year 2019 

Vicki is a seasoned HR professional with over 30 years experience in senior HR roles in both private sector and SOEorganisations. Initially an HR generalist dabbling in remuneration, in latter years her roles have played to her interestand strengths in leading remuneration, benefits and incentive programmes up to and including executive level, andHR policy development and management. She has gained the trust of leaders, executive and Board sub-committee,providing sound advice and solutions to business needs, with a unique blend of specialist expertise with a pragmaticlens. She gets things done in regard to 'dollars and sense'. 

Leslie Taylor, The Warehouse Group

HR Specialist of the Year 2018

Leslie Taylor is the Employment Brand Manager at The Warehouse Group. In her role, Leslie is responsible for positioning Retail as a Career and each of their five core brands as a great place to work. Her role encompasses Brand, Marketing, Communications, Digital and PR applied to HR. With over 10 years’ experience in recruitment and 5 years’ in Employment Brand, Leslie is an expert in her field. She is particularly passionate about the positive impact Employment Brand has on a company’s reputation, awareness, attraction, retention and engagement.

Julie Simpson, The Warehouse Group

HR Specialist of the Year 2017

Julie Simpson is the Head of Employment Relationships at The Warehouse Group. She has occupied this role for 3 years and in this time has had a substantial impact in changing the way the business views employment relations; Julie’s approach to employment relations has shifted the business from a compliance focus, to embracing commitment by empowering our Leaders to do the right thing for our team and the business. This has also had a significant impact on our customers and ultimately assisting the business to achieve our strategic objective of helping the communities of New Zealand flourish.

Kim Herrick

HR Specialist of the Year 2016

Kim Herrick is a talented HR professional with over 18 year's experience in the Europe, Asia, Australia and NZ. Kim has worked across a range of industries including aviation, telecommunications, finance & insurance, Non for profit and media. Kim is a qualified HR professional holding a first-class honour degree in Industrial Psychology and various accreditations (LSI, OCI, DISC, Results coaching, viaEdge). Her professional credentials are fully utilized in her career. Kim has a strong track record of delivering exceptional results for the business, for example 2015 YWCA Gender Pay Parity Award and 2015 AFFINZ Women’s Employer of the Year Award.  

Laura Warren, Otago Polytechnic (Te Pūkenga, NZ Institute of Skillsand Technology)

Leadership Award 2023, in association with MAS 

Laura is a leader in the HR profession in Aotearoa. As Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture & Safety at Otago Polytechnic (a business division of Te Pūkenga), she contributes locally and nationally to best-practice, people-focussed strategies and workplace culture. Laura is known for her pragmatic, authentic, and engaging approach and for the positive impact she has on all who meet her. She is energetic, enthusiastic and a great supporter of all HR professionals. She contributes to HRNZ both through her role as Branch President of the Otago Branch, but also by driving local membership and promoting our national strategies. 

Check out the Award Video


Melissa Crawford, Vector

Leadership Award 2022

Leadership Award winner Melissa Crawford (Vector) has held senior leadership roles over the past 18 years at leading organisations across Aotearoa, including Air New Zealand, BNZ, Fonterra, The Warehouse Group, Countdown, AUT, ASB and Vector. Melissa has had remarkable success leading the development of Vector’s highly effective Employee Experience Agile workstream, whilst providing leadership on strategies to prepare the workforce for the future of work by optimising future tech and human potential. A strong advocate for human-centred design and people development, Melissa is a staunch promotor of kindness, caring and fun in the workplace. 

Amy Clarke, Statistics NZ

Leadership Award 2021, in association with Sorted at Work 

It was a big night for Amy Clarke from Statistics New Zealand who was a finalist in the HR Generalist Award, won the HR Leadership Award and the prestigious HR Person of the Year Award (which is selected from the individual awards winners). The judges were impressed that Amy actively leads a generalist HR team whilst simultaneously operating as the organisation’s subject matter expert in diversity and inclusion, for which it is clear Amy has a major passion. 

Debbie Kirby, Downer New Zealand

Leadership Award 2020, in association with AskYourTeam 

Debbie Kirby has improved the outcomes for many Downer people and their whanau through employment and developmentprogrammes. She is the acknowledged leader in NZ for Corporate Social Outcome programmes, contributing both to her ownorganisation and wider NZ. Through constant innovation and working collaborative with various Partners over 8 years she hastackled the tough social issues such as drug usage and the growing numbers of NEETs. Debbie freely shares her experience andexpertise genuinely committed to making a difference. Debbie is considered one of the most significant contributors within Downer,having built a capability in the organisation that is now a key differentiator. 

Katrina Van de Ven, Wintec

HR Manager Award 2019, in association with Talegent 

I am highly motivated in delivering business outcomes on organisational strategic goals. I support organisations togrow capabilities through learning and development and HR initiatives. My diverse work experience in leadership,HR, process knowledge, operations, culture and change management provides me with a talented tool kit to achieveoutstanding results. I strive for the best, working with integrity and valuing others."Katrina holds her CMHRINZ and is passionate about influencing change for the benefit of the staff and studentexperience.

Sarah Mason, Fulton Hogan

Wellbeing Leadership Award 2023, in association with Skills Consulting Group 

Sarah Mason is Fulton Hogan New Zealand’s Wellbeing Manager. She leads the implementation, evaluation and development of Fulton Hogan’s wellbeing programme nationwide. She is passionate about putting people at the heart of the business and developing holistic support programmes to help individuals thrive. Originally from the UK, Sarah has lead programmes in a varietY of organisations including through the Covid-19 pandemic in the NHS. She is always looking for new ideas and approaches to support people. Sarah loves to work with other passionate wellbeing leads and looks forward to helping grow the profession as a career path for the next generation. 

Check out the Award Video

Deepika Jindal, University of Auckland

Academic Impact Award 2023 

Dr Deepika Jindal is a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland and teaches Human Resource Management and related courses. Deepika’s research interest lies in job crafting. Outside her role at the University, Deepika is Branch President of HRNZ Academic Branch and an Auckland Branch committee member. Deepika is a reflective academic, who is passionate about HRM, and constantly strives to add value to her students, the University, and the wider community. Prior to joining academia, she worked in an Indian manufacturing conglomerate, for over a decade, in their Corporate HR department. 

Check out the Award Winner


Professor Jane Parker MHRINZ

HR Researcher of the Year 2017

I have conducted research and taught in academia for 30 years, in both NZ and the UK/Europe, punctuated by periods of work in other parts of the public and private sector. At Warwick University until 2008, and subsequently at AUT and Massey University, my research has focused on: 

  • equality and diversity developments at work; 
  • employee consultation; 
  • (strategic) HRM, 'decent' workplaces and future of work; 
  • employment strategy and regulation in Pacific Island Countries (PICs); 
  • executive education; and 
  • the Living Wage in NZ. 

I was recognised for my expertise in the above areas with an 'A' grade for the 2012 TEC Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). This rank was achieved by only seven percent of all research-active academics in NZ. I have received significant external and university funding to pursue research studies in each of these areas, including from the UK ESRC, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions and the UK Department for Trade and Industry. My research has impacted in terms of extending theory (e.g. in relation to equality approaches adopted by work organisations); policy development (e.g. informing the development of employment policy and legislation in several PICs); and practice (e.g. via the development of workplace practices based on survey and organisational case research). All of the above areas of research have been profiled to high-level academic and HR audiences via conferences (e.g. 2016 NZ HR Conference and HR Research Forum), plenary sessions, symposia and seminars.  

Jarrod Haar

HR Researcher of the Year 2016

I am currently a Professor of Management at Massey University and will commence in January 2016 as a Professor of HRM at Auckland University of Technology. I have been an active researcher since completing my PhD in 2003 with over 250 refereed academic outputs (including 61 journal articles). My research focuses on a number of important HR issues including: (1) work-life balance, including a major international comparative study; (2) diversity and inclusion in the NZ workplace, which is especially important given the diversity of the NZ workplace; (3) team functioning and how divisions within teams can both hinder and aid team functioning, and (4) leadership development and selection. It is this last area of research that I have completed a number of invited presentations highlighting the importance of selection criteria for leaders. This includes a presentation to the States Services Commission where my research and the HR implications around selection and training were presented to over 150 senior managers including many CEOs. Within the NZ academic system I am rated as a world class researcher (A-ranked), which places me within the top 5% of HRM researchers. I have been an award winner writer (with 7 best paper awards), and have been a named researcher on over $36 million in grant funding. In addition to numerous editorial board roles (including HRM journals in NZ and Australia) I was the Editor of the NZ Journal of HRM (the HRINZ academic journal) for five years and continue to support the journal and HRINZ.  

Claire Bourne

Volunteer of the Year 2017

I started my HR career in 2006 after graduating from Canterbury University with a BA. My professional experience includes working in partnership with a large Australasian retail brand, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, and two complex telecommunications corporations, Vodafone NZ and Vodafone Hutchison Australia. I was also involved in the establishment of the HR function for CERA, and was the President of the HRINZ Canterbury branch FY16. I have been with Ngāi Tahu since 2013 and in my current position as GM People and Development for Ngāi Tahu Farming; I am responsible for the operational and strategic leadership of the People and Development team. 

Lance Walker

Supportive CEO of the Year 2017, in association with Strategic Pay 

Lance: “There are only two things a CEO really does – set direction and create the environment to be successful –I spend most of my day on those aspects of my role. I enjoy getting out and about with the people, finding out what they are doing and encouraging them. This is what leadership is all about”. Lance is an excellent all-rounder in business, understanding marketing and the customer, is financially astute, and displays sound judgement. Add this to Lance’s passion for people and culture and you have a recipe for inspiring a loyal and engaged following. 

Mark Adamson

Supportive CEO 2016

Mark Adamson is a CEO who is passionate about people and often talks about the collective strength of Fletcher Building’s 19,000 employees. He sees HR as a critical enabler to delivering reliable earnings growth and PEOPLE is one of the organisation’s four strategic priorities. In tough times, many leaders cut HR investment. Mark considers this last. His commitment is reflected by Sir Ralph Norris, Chairman, in the 2015 Annual Review: “I have been impressed with the various programmes that have been implemented across Fletcher Building to improve engagement, train and develop our people and grow the future leadership pipeline.