Inbox: Parker’s prize

This year’s trying times have unearthed strong talent in the latest Communicator of the Year awards.
The College of Fellows of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) has named Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker as its top pick for 2011. Mayor Parker was chosen for his handling of communication around the 4 September 2010 earthquake in Christchurch.
“At time when people wanted communicator and leader, he stepped up and performed both roles extremely well,” says PRINZ. “Always there, always articulate despite no doubt having his own issues, ongoing aftershocks and lack of sleep, he set an example of being great communicator.”
Response to the Canterbury earthquakes also drew praise for Roger Sutton, CEO of CERA, who in the aftermath of both Canterbury earthquakes stood out as an outstanding communicator in his role at that time as CEO of Orion New Zealand.
“His approach to communicating with the community was open and honest – he was totally believable,” says PRINZ.
The Christchurch earthquakes also revealed the quick-fire talent of sign language interpreter Jeremy Borland who became familiar figure on the nation’s TV screens during the earthquake briefings.
PRINZ praised him for carrying out his duties efficiently “and with just the right amount of personality coming through to stamp him as communicator in his own right, without impeding the communication of the people whose words he was signing”.
In similar vein, the Pike River Coalmine disaster evinced the talent of CEO Peter Whittall who very early on stepped up to take on the mantle of the public face of Pike River.
Other nominees included the late Sir Paul Reeves, 15th Governor-General of New Zealand, physicist and New Zealander of the Year 2010 Sir Paul Callaghan, and Zespri CEO Lain Jager.
The award recognises people who demonstrate excellent personal communication skills. Nominees are public or private sector leaders who espouse open and honest communications within their organisation.
Previous PRINZ Communicator of the Year recipients have included Judge Andrew Becroft, Dr Pita Sharples, Alan Duff, Dame Catherine Tizard, Bruce Slane and the late Sir Peter Blake. M

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