Record finalist numbers for the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019

Record finalist numbers for the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019

24 September 2019

A record number of export companies have made the final stage of the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019.

The 39 finalists and nominees come from around New Zealand and represent an array of sectors, demonstrating the nation’s business diversity and innovation.

They will find out if they have taken home one of New Zealand’s most prestigious business awards at a black-tie dinner in Auckland on Thursday, 7 November.

In addition, there are five nominees for Inspiring Women Leaders, and another five nominees for the He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export award.

The New Zealand International Business Awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and supported by Strategic Partner, ANZ New Zealand Limited. They celebrate the success of New Zealand businesses on the world stage and recognise excellence and innovative practice.

Over the past 52 years, many of New Zealand’s most iconic companies have been celebrated at the awards.

The convenor of judges, David Downs, said the record number of finalists reflected a growing focus among exporters on the ability to tell their story effectively.

The New Zealand International Business Awards are very demanding – entrants have to complete a detailed application, and more than 55 companies then faced judging panels around the country, where they each had 20 minutes to explain why their business should be recognised.

“What we found is that our export community really understands that, to succeed internationally, you have to be able to explain why your product or service is right for your customers. It’s not enough to simply rely on the quality of your product, you have to tell its story, you have to connect with your customers and show them you understand their needs and how you can help them.

“That sophistication really came through this year for the judges, and that’s why we have chosen more finalists than ever before.

“New Zealand can be very proud that its export businesses are representing themselves, and New Zealand itself, in a dynamic, engaging way.”

Sectors from technology to agriculture, food and beverage to manufacturing are represented. Winners of regional ExportNZ awards were automatically included in the pitch sessions, and 13 have made it through to become finalists.

ExportNZ’s Executive Director, Catherine Beard, says ExportNZ has enjoyed collaborating with NZTE on celebrating New Zealand’s leading exporters, with regional awards’ winners contributing to a richer pool of talented companies competing for New Zealand International Business Awards honours. “We wish all the finalists the best of luck and look forward to seeing who the winners will be on the night.”

Siobhan McKenna, CEO of Global Women and a category judge for Inspiring Women Leaders, offered high praise for this year’s contenders: “These five women are outstanding businesspeople, providing exemplary leadership and making a substantial difference to their companies. Each of them would be a worthy winner, but together they place a spotlight on the impressive depth of world-class leaders coming out of New Zealand.”

Category judge Andrew Baker, an independent director and expert in strategic cultural transformation, also praised this year’s nominees for He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export: “These companies engender the importance of Māori values, and they are developing distinctive products and narratives that have a real impact around the world.”

The finalists and nominees for all categories are listed below. Further details of the awards night can be found at

At the awards, the Supreme Award will also be presented to one of the category winners.

The finalists and nominees announced are:


Best Emerging Business

Dawn Aerospace



Method Recycling

Oritain Global Limited

Organic Initiative Limited

Taska Prosthetics



Best Medium Business

Doyle Sails New Zealand Group

Education Perfect Limited

Haka Tourism Group

ITL (Integration Technologies Limited)

Natural Pet Food Group

Rockit Global Limited

Spotlight Reporting

Tuapeka Gold Print

Unleashed Software


ANZ Best Large Business

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited

Air New Zealand Gas Turbines

Christchurch Engine Centre (Pratt & Whitney Holdings SAS)

Douglas Pharmaceuticals Limited


Kono NZ LP

New Zealand King Salmon

The New Zealand Merino Company Limited


Excellence in Innovation

AFT Pharmaceuticals Limited



Dotterel Technologies

The New Zealand Merino Company Limited

Volpara Enterprise Software


Excellence in Design

Doyle Sails New Zealand

Kono NZ LP

Method Recycling

The New Zealand Merino Company Limited


He kai kei aku ringa for Māori Excellence in Export


Kiwa Digital

Kono NZ LP

Okains Bay Seafood

Te Pa Bay Wines


Inspiring Women Leaders

Anna Guenther, PledgeMe

Angie Judge, Dexibit

Helen Robinson, Organic Initiative Limited

Rachel Taulelei, Kono NZ LP

Michelle Walshe, Augusto Group


Inspiring Preference for New Zealand

Ao Skincare (Distil Skincare Limited)

Greenstone TV

Kono NZ LP