The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards showcases innovative people, products, services, teams, companies and organisations across 10 industry sectors (you can submit entries for up to three sectors). Each industry has three streams: social, research and commercial. 

    We also celebrate 11 business disciplines, such as Young NZ Innovator of the Year and Export Innovator of the Year. You will be automatically entered into any relevant business discipline categories based on your entry profile.



    There are ten industry category awards open for entry. You may enter up to three categories (just make sure you create a new entry each time, under the different category headings you’ve chosen). Each entry is assessed by three evaluators in each category. Entering in more than one category gives you a higher chance of becoming a finalist.

    The industry categories are:

    1. Innovation in Agribusiness & Environment

    2. Innovation in Design & Engineering

    3. Innovation in Education, Training  & Development

    4. Innovation in Financial & Professional Services

    5. Innovation in Health & Science

    6. Innovation in Food & Beverage

    7. Innovation in Technology Solutions

    8. Innovation in Marketing & Communications

    9. Innovation in Media, Mobile & Entertainment

    10. Innovation in Sustainability & Cleantech

    Note: When completing your entry, first choose an industry category (above) and then select your innovation project type: a product, service, process, program or company/venture. This allows us to understand the industry you are in as well as the type of innovation you are entering.



    There are also 11 auto-entry, business discipline categories. You cannot enter these yourself – instead, you will be entered into these automatically if your entry fits the criteria. For example, if you submit a social innovation entry you will automatically be entered into Excellence in Social Innovation. 

    The auto-entry business discipline categories are:

    1. Supreme New Zealand Innovator

    2. Innovation Excellence in Research

    3. Start-up Innovator of the Year

    4. Emerging New Zealand Innovator

    5. Sustained Innovation Excellence

    6. Export Innovator of the Year

    7. Excellence in Social Innovation

    8. Innovation in Maori Development

    9. Most Inspiring Individual

    10. Young New Zealand Innovator

    11. The People's Choice – Idealog magazine online award



    Innovation in Agribusiness & Environment: Sponsored by KPMG

    Agribusiness is the cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. New Zealand relies heavily on its natural environment and agricultural industries for employment, export revenue and GDP. As sectors of the industry face many challenges, innovation is increasingly important. This category is open to agribusinesses of all kinds and agritech, where technology is innovatively applied to create solutions and opportunities, including software, products, services and any innovation targeted towards the agricultural and environmental sectors. This award celebrates innovation in farming (animals, fish, bees), horticulture, forestry and applied agricultural research. The evaluators will be looking for entries that show uniqueness and industry firsts which demonstrate a combination of economic and environmental benefits.

    Innovation in Design & Engineering: Sponsored by James & Wells

    This is the most diverse innovation category – it encompasses all aspects of product design from fast-moving consumer goods and clothing to infrastructure, engineering, energy, construction, technology, architecture, packaging, manufacturing processes, industrial manufacturing, manufacturing plant and engineering, and production. This diverse category celebrates the skills involved in product design and implementation. The evaluators will be looking for entries that focus on solving the needs of customers and end-users, while creating value and opportunity.

    Innovation in Education, Training & Development: Sponsored by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

    The education, training and development sectors are being transformed by global mega-trends such as online learning, open-source education, gamification, global collaboration, peer-to-peer evaluation and a whole bunch more. Examples of innovation in this sector in New Zealand include up-skilling our present and future workforce, creating education and development-based businesses that export services, and evolving and transforming our approaches at universities, technical institutes and schools. This category is open to all education, training and development-based projects, services or businesses, whether private, public, social enterprise or commercial. The evaluators will be looking for innovations with potential impact and global uniqueness.

    Innovation in Financial & Professional Services: Sponsored by Paymark

    This category celebrates organisations and individuals that demonstrate innovative ways of delivering financial and professional services to market. It is open to all types of technologies and services that are adding value to customers and end users across their industry. Entrants may include banks, insurance companies, financial institutions, crowdfunding initiatives, consulting, coaching and training companies as well as educational and legal services.

    Innovation in Health & Science: Sponsored by Chorus

    This fast-growing category has been running since the Awards’ inception in 2011. It is open to businesses, healthcare professionals, private & public healthcare organisations and universities. We are looking for innovators whose products, services and systems are focused on developing innovation in the areas of human health, animal health, bioscience, medical research, general science and molecular research. Your innovation should solve a problem or create an opportunity. Evaluators will be looking for innovations that are based on a new technology, products, services or systems; a new way of applying technology or science; breakthrough systems; performance improvements; development of a channel to market or a new business model. The 2013 & 2015 Supreme New Zealand Innovator came from this category – could you be next?

    Innovation in Food & Beverage: Sponsored by Plant & Food Research Limited

    Innovation in this category is driven by ambitious innovators who are scaling up their food, beverage or hospitality businesses to meet customer demand in national and export markets. Innovation in this industry includes the creation of new food and drink products or segments, innovative packaging, approaches to food safety, improved production techniques, unique branding, advertising or social media campaigns or communication programmes in this sector, and smart approaches to distribution.  The evaluators will be looking for examples of uniqueness and innovation in either a new category or the transformation of an existing category.    

    Innovation in Technology Solutions: Sponsored by Jade Software Corporation

    Technology has become central to providing a connected customer experience - in every industry. This category is open to innovators that provide technology solutions including software, hardware, cloud services, and telecommunications. Our evaluators in this category will be looking for customer offerings focused on solving problems and creating value through the application of technology across any industry.

    Innovation in Marketing & Communications: Sponsored by Datamine

    This category celebrates organisations and individuals that demonstrate innovative ways of delivering unique marketing solutions to market. This may include advertising or PR campaigns, packaging design, creative campaigns, social media campaigns and website design as well as marketing initiatives across all industries. The evaluators will be looking for successful new approaches to targeting and engagement from end users, channels, suppliers, partners or new markets. We encourage you to enter this category as one of your three choices – it gives you the opportunity to tell your story and give us great background into how you interact with and speak to your customer/clients. 

    Innovation in Media, Mobile & Entertainment: Sponsored by MediaWorks

    This high-growth, rapidly evolving and high-energy category celebrates the way that information is delivered and the way that it engages new audiences. This category celebrates innovation in media, mobile and entertainment including social media, mobile Apps, gaming, television, radio and online delivery channels. The evaluators will be looking for innovative approaches to engaging audiences and understanding what motivates and drives audience behaviour and loyalty.

    Innovation in Sustainability & Clean-tech: Sponsored by Yealands Family Wines

    Climate change is a global problem – there’s an urgency to act and a significant opportunity for innovation. New Zealand is the ideal test market for a wide range of solutions that can be exported or licensed to countries looking for multi-industry solutions. This category includes eco products and services, sustainability projects, sustainable production methods and environmental and sustainable initiatives. The evaluators are looking for product and service solutions that have considered packaging, recycling and a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approach to reusing resources and a solution that is easy for consumers to be a part of. 



    Bayer Supreme New Zealand Innovator: Sponsored by Bayer New Zealand

    This is the most coveted innovation award representing the most innovative company in the country. The Supreme New Zealand Innovator Awards has a rich alumni of companies that have gone on the achieve wonderful things on a local and international stage, including:

    • 2011 Vend

    • 2012 Revolution Fibres

    • 2013 Pacific Edge

    • 2014 Precision Seafood Harvesting

    • 2015 Kode Biotech

    Innovation Excellence in Research: Sponsored by Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

    What problem is your research working towards solving and what opportunities may it create? This award is open to research and early stage business projects that may be pre-revenue and definitely not breaking even. Funding, grants or investment may be in place but commercial revenue generated by sales is yet to happen. The evaluators will be looking for entries that demonstrate public or private research, an IP component and scalability across global markets and industry sectors.

    Start-up Innovator of the Year: Sponsored by Veda

    This category is open to start-up businesses in all industry and sectors. This new award recognises the huge commitment and challenges that face start-up businesses, and the innovations that comes from those challenges. Evaluators will be looking for a clear vision for the future, an insight into what problem/s you are solving, what opportunities you are creating, and what progress and milestones you have achieved to date. To qualify for this category you must be trading and have a turnover of less than $250k per annum. (NB: if your turnover is $250K - $1M p.a. you will be entered into the Emerging Innovator Category)

    Emerging New Zealand Innovator: Sponsored by Regus

    This award celebrates companies that have started their growth journey and are trading and growing through their start-up phase and beyond. Emerging companies can be pre or post break-even as long as they are active in their markets and are growing. This entry stream is for emerging businesses and business projects, products or services that have yet to exceed NZ$1M in revenue per annum.

    Sustained Innovation Excellence: Sponsored by Sovereign 

    This award celebrates an organisation or large company that has achieved sustained and repeatable success through consistent innovation. You will also demonstrate that you have an organisation-wide culture of innovation and innovative thinking, which has led to improving performance of your product or service, people and teams.

    Export Innovator of the Year: Sponsored by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE)

    This award celebrates organisations that have achieved excellence in export innovation. To grow New Zealand's economy we need to encourage and recognise organisations that have developed great new products and services that are export focused. Kiwi innovation with global impact is celebrated in this award. 

    Excellence in Social Innovation: Sponsored by Yellow

    This award celebrates social innovation, social enterprise, social entrepreneurship and not-for-profit, both private and public organisations. Innovation is often displayed strongly by people and teams who act out of a strong sense of belief and purpose, determined to bring great change to benefit people and society. Evaluators will look for what social issues entrants are attempting to solve, the innovations they are employing to get them there and what social impact they are having. 

    Innovation in Maori Development: Sponsored by Poutama Trust

    Maori have always been natural innovators and are generally humble about achievements, leaving compliments and accolades to others. This award is about sharing success and achievements that should be shared and celebrated. This award will provide inspiration to others to continue the Maori innovation journey. The evaluators will consider entrants’ contribution to Maori development with positive economic, social, societal and environmental benefits.

    Most Inspiring Individual: Sponsored by 3M

    This award is given to the most inspirational individual who has developed a world-leading product or service that deserves to be celebrated. They display passion and ambition and are industry leaders when it comes to innovation and doing things a bit differently. Their attitudes and efforts would have caught the eye of our evaluators in the entry process, who have pushed them through to this award. Previous winners of this award have pushed the limits of confidence and belief in what is possible and what problems of our time can be solved.

    Young New Zealand Innovator: Sponsored by MOTAT

    This award celebrates entrants that demonstrate innovator potential and achievement at a young age, from 16 to 35 years. You may be a student with a great project to share or a young entrepreneur or business owner with an ambition and drive for innovation. Share your story and connect with a supportive community of evaluators. Innovators between the ages of 16 and 18 are courteously asked to have parental or guardian support and approval for entry. (Please talk to the NZ Innovation Council.)

    People's Choice Award: Sponsored by Idealog

    Who will the people choose? This online award, run via Idealog, will tell us! If you’re a finalist in any category of the awards, you’ll automatically qualify for the People's Choice online awards, which open for voting on September 15, 2016.  


    Still confused about which categories you should enter? Andy will help! Andy Blackburn 09 636 8269 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.