Two of New Zealand’s most recognisable exports, Sir Peter Jackson and Lady Fran Walsh, were named Supreme Award winners at the 2017 Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Gala Dinner.
The sell-out, black tie affair saw the film industry powerhouses celebrated (in absentia) for their significant contribution to New Zealand, helping to establish it on the map not only as a bucket-list destination for tourists, but for filmmakers from around the globe. This is the first time the top honour has been won by joint recipients.
Kea NZ CEO, Craig Donaldson says, in a statement, that Jackson and Walsh epitomise the spirit of the awards – which recognise world-leading Kiwis whose achievements are helping to define New Zealand’s reputation on the world stage.
“Their work has continually showcased our beautiful country to the world – serving not only to drive our reputation as a top tourist destination, but also as a location of choice for the film industry.”
The award is yet another in a long list of honours for the duo – whose record-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy alone received 475 accolades from across the film industry.
The ceremony also celebrated the first ever female recipient of the Kea Friend of New Zealand title – awarded to Lady Pippa Blake for her extensive, ongoing contribution to New Zealand via her work with the Sir Peter Blake Trust.
Also recognised were six World Class New Zealanders, including award-winning choreographer Parris Goebel; businessman Sir Rob Fenwick; scientist and entrepreneur Dr Privahini Bradoo; leading scientist Dr Phil Rolston; founder of Wrightspeed Inc. Ian Wright; and chef Robert Oliver.
Judging panel Chair, and Kea Global Chairman, Phil Veal, says, “As is the case every year, the awards are a showcase of the very best talent New Zealand has to offer. Each of our winners were subject to a rigorous judging process, which assesses them against five core criteria.
“A big focus for us is looking at how they’ve contributed to New Zealand’s global reputation, building global connections for New Zealand, as well as how they’ve promoted the exchange of information, knowledge and skills about our country,” Phil concludes.
Kea is New Zealand’s global network enabling global Kiwis to help Kiwis. It connects a community of more than half a million Kiwis with each other and brings them global jobs, events and ways to connect with one another and with home.