Evaluation Panel 2017

WOW! Check out the amazing line up of people we have on our 2017 Innovation Awards evaluation panel. This team all have an absolute passion for innovation, some have been with us from the beginning and just keep coming back! Find out more about the team below.


Abigail Harwood, BVSc

Bayer New Zealand Ltd. Animal Health

Regional Pharmacovigilance Coordinator- Asia Pacific

Abby joined the Animal Health division of Bayer New Zealand in 2014, after working for several years as a companion animal veterinarian in New Zealand. Initially starting as the New Zealand Drug Safety Manager, her role evolved to include a wider scope, coordinating Drug Safety activities throughout the Asia Pacific region. Innovation is the beating heart of science, but extends beyond the traditional views of science and technology. It is about having the passion to learn, experiment, and take risks in order to improve a given situation or scenario.

Andy Blackburn

NZ Innovation Council

Director & Facilitator of Evaluators

Innovation is often about the extra effort you make to connect with others outside of your business, organisation and industry. It opens you up to new people, ideas, thinking, expertise…and different approaches to problem solving and value creation.

Dr Andrew Old

Auckland District Health Board

Chief of Strategy, Participation & Improvement

Andrew is a Public Health Physician who is ‘passionately curious’ about what the health sector can learn from other industries and disciplines to improve health and healthcare for all New Zealanders. In his role at Auckland DHB he works at the intersection of strategy, partnership and innovation, and has played a key role in bringing design thinking into the DHB through the Design for Health & Wellbeing Lab collaboration with AUT University.

Ben Fahy

Tangible Media

Editorial Director

After returning from Europe Ben started as editor of NZ Marketing and StopPress.co.nz, he assisted in the relaunch NZ Retail/theregister.co.nz in early 2015. And that year he also won the overall editor of the year prize at the Magazine Media Awards. In January 2016, he took over as publisher and editorial director of all Tangible Media’s business titles; Idealog, NZ Marketing/StopPress and NZ Retail/The Register.

Carol Chris


Managing Director, NZ

Carol joined Equifax in 2011 to head the Commercial and Property Solutions (CPS) division. Over the course of several years she transformed the CPS business, working closely with Equifax’s customers and bringing multiple new products to market to help meet regulatory and market needs. In 2015 Carol was promoted to the role of Managing Director for Equifax’s New Zealand business and relocated from Sydney to Auckland. Carol has extensive knowledge of the IT&T and financial services segments and in-depth experience in e-business, customer transformation strategies and process improvement.

Chanel O'Brien

Enterprise Development

Business Development Advisor

Innovation solves pain, creates value and enhances experiences. Chanel has national and international experience in business development and marketing in the tourism and education sectors. She supports aspiring business people, start-ups and established businesses in the city. Through her connections she encourages collaboration to grow employment and economic growth in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

Cowan Pettigrew

Chief Information Officer


Cowan Pettigrew CIO, KPMG NZ has over 25 years in the technology space with a focus on businesses that have a real desire to undergo transformational change through the right mix of people, process & technology. He has worked in a variety of industries and with companies ranging from start-ups through to the corporate sector, building up a solid understanding of what it takes to innovate & adapt bringing to life the change programs that allow businesses to move forward with velocity. He is now bringing that experience & passion to KPMG  to support the goal of fuelling the prosperity of New Zealand through business success.

Craig Armstrong

NZ Trade & Enterprise (NZTE)

Director, Customers

Craig Armstrong is at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, where he helps companies grow into international markets. He maintains a lifelong and active interest in innovation - whether biz model, product/service or individual - and indulges regularly in inspirational experiences and learning.

Dr Damian Martin

Plant & Food Research

Science Group Leader, Viticulture & Oenology

Plant & Food Research’s second evaluator will be Dr Damian Martin. Damian holds a BSc in Chemistry from University of Canterbury, as well as a MSc and PhD in Viticulture & Wine Science from the University of Bordeaux II, France. His research interests and activities include influences of environmental factors and viticultural inputs on grapevine eco-physiology and wine composition, and integration of all existing grape and wine research activities into a new sector based Grape and Wine Research Programme.

Dave Coles

90 Seconds

Growth Manager

After spending 20 years in various senior positions within the television broadcasting industry, Dave recently took up the position of Growth Manager at 90 Seconds. Dave is passionate about innovation and it was for this reason that he joined the world's first cloud based video production company. He is of the belief that video is a powerful tool that is fast propagating innovation and stimulating many to dream and achieve big things.

David Caddie

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

General Manager - Members NZ

David Caddie is General Manager – Members (NZ) at Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

David has spent the past 30 years in the Corporate and Investment Banking industry across Australia and New Zealand.

Most recently David has been the National Manager, Healthcare, Equipment Finance and Industry Partnerships for Westpac Business Banking New Zealand.

He has been involved with Boards, Community Committees, Not for Profit Organisations, and a variety of Industry Associations working with them for the betterment of their organisations, staff and communities.

Dr David Grayson

Waitemata District Health Board

Clinical Director of Otolaryngology

David is the Clinical Director of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery at North Shore Hospital, Waitemata DHB in Auckland, NZ. He is also WDHB’s Clinical Lead for Patient Safety & Patient Experience. David has a strong interest in systems approaches for safer care as well as the use of social media to enhance patient experience.

David Jones

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency

General Manager Business Growth & Innovation

David has over twenty years’ experience of growing regional economies internationally, has founded a business accelerator company and in 2016 was one of The Sunday Times prestigious Maserati 100 for services to entrepreneurship. He is lead for WREDA’s industrial sector intervention, and their lead in the Wellington LookSee global tech talent attraction campaign that had over 48,500 applicants.

Fleur Gunn

Education New Zealand

International Marketing Manager

Fleur Gunn has spent her career largely focused on growing the high tech industries of New Zealand. Originally an early player in advanced data visualisation for business intelligence, Fleur’s passion for digital technology has only grown over the years. New Zealanders have a natural tendency for creativity and innovation, which is why Fleur thinks New Zealand is one of the best (and most inspiring!) countries in the world to live in.

Julia Jones


Farm Specialist, Enterprise

Julia Jones is a KPMG farm enterprise specialist; her role is about helping farmers take their business from good to great by understanding the changing global innovations in the Agri-Food sector.  Julia sees innovation as the gateway to sustainability, environmentally, economically and socially New Zealand.

Jocelyn Eason

Plant & Food Research

General Manager Science, Food Innovation

I see innovation simply as the process of taking what we have now, and finding ways to make it better. As a scientist, I believe new knowledge can drive that process faster, and to new places. I work in food, an area where our understanding of what we eat and how it affects our lives is constantly evolving. Matching that growing knowledge base with ideas and products that inspire people to make informed food choices is to me the perfect example of how innovation can help us lead better lives.

John Forrester


Head of Global Transactional Services

I’ve been with Westpac for almost 22 years and currently lead the bank’s Global Transactional Services (GTS) business. We’re responsible for managing and building the bank’s payments and transactional relationships with corporate, institutional and government customers. We also represent Westpac as part of the governance and leadership of our Innovation as a Service partnership with the New Zealand Government.

Kim Jarrett



Kim Jarrett is a partner with KPMG New Zealand, specialising in international taxes, and working with some of New Zealand’s most exciting and innovative companies as they expand into overseas markets.  Kim has been working in this field for over 20 years, and helps companies manage regulatory challenges that arise as they adapt and innovate with different products into new and complex markets.

Kurt Rodgers

Chorus NZ

Network Strategy Manager

I have spent 20 years building fixed and mobile broadband networks in Europe and New Zealand. While there is a massive level of innovation required to build these networks, I tend to be more interested in how these platforms enable innovation in the wider economy. It’s pretty awesome to be working for Chorus - our mission to bring better broadband to New Zealander will be a key enabler for our country’s social and economic development.

Dr Lynne Maher

Ko Awatea

Director of Innovation

Lynne has had an extensive healthcare career, ranging from critical care nursing to operational and board posts at local and national levels, during which she has been able to support teams to create significant innovation and improvement in health systems. Lynne believes that creativity unleashes our potential to make a bigger difference and innovation is the realisation that we can make that magic happen.

Associate Honorary Professor of Nursing, University of Auckland
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Tasmania

Marie Bowes

Better by Design


As a consultant to Better by Design, Marie has been responsible for developing and executing the next iteration of BBDs product suite, to meet the needs of NZTEs export customers. Marie comes from a design background and advocates that businesses centered on understanding the motivations, behaviours and needs of their customers is foundational to building relevant and effective business solutions.

Matt Prichard



Matt has over 23 years of audit and advisory experience with KPMG. His experience includes a wide range of financial services and other sectors. He is heavily involved in the firms work with Maori organisations. His experience includes secondments to KPMG in Luxembourg, London and Botswana. Matt has had a number of leadership roles within KPMG, including three years as National Managing Partner of KPMG's Audit business and two further years on their National Executive Committee with responsibility for Markets and Strategy.

Nigel Tutt

Priority One


Nigel is Chief Executive of Priority One, the economic development agency for Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty which was established by the business community.  He has a strong private sector background including previous roles in commercial management, media, product development, data strategy, digital marketing and supply chain and logistics.  Nigel takes a strategic approach to encouraging investment and the attraction of new business, as well as supporting the growth of design-led innovation to stimulate business growth.

Patrick McVeigh

Auckland Tourism Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

General Manager - Business, Innovation & Skills

Patrick has led the development of economic, employment and innovation strategies for a wide range of clients across the United Kingdom. He also led the preparation of London’s Economic Development Strategy during his time with the London Development Agency. Prior to moving to Auckland to join ATEED, he worked with ATEED to mold its Business Growth and Competitiveness.

Pierre Ferrandon

Regus NZ


Bringing enthusiasm and innovative thinking in to the corporate world has been my driver throughout my whole carrier. I thrive on providing businesses with new ways of being productive and enabling change into the way people work.

Richard Campbell



At KPMG Richard works with innovative Kiwi companies helping to bring the power of KPMG’s global investments in innovation that help to realise the potential of good ideas. Richard believes that the heroes of innovation are those that bring ideas to life and that successful innovation lies not just buzzwords or in generating ideas but in understanding the underlying fundamentals of opportunity and how these are realised. Richard feels privileged to work with the innovators that are making things happen.

Rob Bolus

Methven Ltd

Head of Technology

28 years of designing Showers, Tapware and Valves at Methven Ltd. has proven the customer’s needs are at the heart of all innovation. Find the customers pain point, you will find the value to the customer, which in turn will provide the value to the business.

Rosanne Ellis


Director, Research, Strategy & Management

Innovation is intrinsic to AUT’s diverse range of activities from teaching, research and impact, collaboration, and industry-community partnerships. As the university for our changing world, AUT’s Research and Innovation Office is at the forefront of stimulating innovative approaches to partnering, value-extraction and investment in novel technologies, new knowledge, research collaborations and ideas across all sectors. Rosanne has held various senior leadership roles across government, private sector and multinational organisations.

Sam Bailey

Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC)

Growth Manager

Sam has the responsibility for leading the ongoing development and delivery of a range of customised business support services aimed at building capability and investment in R&D to accelerate the growth of high potential businesses. The skills and experiences gained from his previous national sales leadership roles, in financial services and staffing industries have greatly assisted his thinking and approach to business. For Sam, innovation is a mechanism whereby problem solving occurs and value is created.

Sam Bejjani


Partner - Private Bank

Sam is a banker, a Director, and an angel investor. He sits across large organisation, start-ups, and community organisations. The common thread is innovation, and Sam has taken a particular interest in business model innovation as a driver of growth and new channels to market.

Dr Sara McFall

Callaghan Innovation

Group Manager Business Innovation Programmes

Sara McFall is Group Manager for Programmes at Callaghan Innovation. Callaghan Innovation was set up to help businesses succeed through technology and its programmes aim to give businesses the knowledge, skills and motivation to innovate and succeed. Sara's team develops and delivers capability-building programmes for our customers, as well as initiatives to inspire current and future innovators. Sara is originally from the UK but has spent much of her career overseas in the Former Soviet Union and South America working as an anthropologist. She has a very diverse career history from writing illegal drug legislation to investigating serious health complaints. She is passionate about innovation and believes in Sir Paul Callaghan's dream of making New Zealand a place talent wants to live.

Sharron Botica


Chief Customer Officer

As Chief Customer Officer, Sharron leads the end to end customer operations and strategies for Sovereign, ensuring the customer is at the heart of all operations and actions. Innovation is key to rethinking what and how we do things within the Insurance Industry to provide better outcomes to our customers and their families. Curiosity is a key value of hers.

Simon Shepherd


Reporter and Presenter

Simon Shepherd is a reporter and presenter for Newshub, with a particular interest in money, science and technology. He's an honorary member of the RadioLIVE family as he's often in the studio with the latest news update or covering for one of our hosts. Innovation is exciting to Simon because it provides content for fantastic stories which he loves covering. He's looking forward to seeing who stands out this year and what ideas will end up being world beaters.

Steven Fox

Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)

General Manager of Museum Experience

Steven is currently General Manager, Museum Experience at the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland.  Steven is a member of the team leading the transformation of MOTAT moving from a collection of things to a ‘light bulb’ institution.  Steven and his team work across many disciplines including learning, exhibitions, public programs and events, marketing and communications, digital engagement and partnerships and commercial development.  Innovation is a theme common to all these practices and to MOTAT’s approach to engaging with our visitors.  Steven has worked in the museums sector for more than twenty years in both New Zealand and Australia in leadership roles at national and regional museums including the National Museum of Australia and Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History.

Theresa Sukkar


Technical Manager

Theresa Sukkar is the ANZ Technical Manager for the Safety & Graphics and Electronics & Energy Divisions at 3M. Theresa holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and BSc in Industrial Chemistry from the University of New South Wales. She has over 18 years of experience in technical and management roles including research & development, technical service, quality assurance and manufacturing. She has worked in a range of companies including chemical manufacture, food and waste management. Theresa has a passion for research and development which also a prominent part of 3M culture.

Tonde Kaitano

Bayer New Zealand

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Tonde trained as a toxicologist in the UK and currently works at the interface between innovation and regulation at Bayer Crop Science. As Regulatory Science Manager, he collates findings from Bayer’s research into innovative plant protection products, and builds a case for why the products should be approved for use in New Zealand. A condition of approval for crop protection products here is that benefits from their use must outweigh any potential adverse effects. Tonde notes that regulation and social attitudes can present significant barriers to innovation. Innovators need to think about these things upfront and be ready with appropriate messaging. Prior to Bayer, Tonde worked at Food Standards Australia New Zealand in the area of Novel Foods, Food Additives, Processing Aids and Contaminants; and as a toxicologist at the Environmental Protection Authority. In a previous life, he spent 10 years in occupational health and safety in mining.

Vanessa O'Neill



Vanessa is a Director of estute+ Business, and is always assessing at domestic and international opportunities with portfolio of clients at all growth stages. She has worked previously as a Venture Partner with powerHouse Ventures reviewing early stage commercialisation opportunities, as well as driving sales and marketing strategies through established businesses such The Body Shop UK, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Carter Holt Harvey, Progressive Enterprises and Sugar Australia-CSR.

To our evaluators: Thanks SO much for your passion, commitment and robust debating! We simply couldn’t do it without you.

© NZ Innovation Council 2017