The 2019 Kea World Class New Zealand Awards celebrated incredible achievements by outstanding Kiwis on the world stage. Held at the SKYCITY Convention Centre, the sold-out black-tie gala was a spectacular showcase of New Zealand’s top talent. This year, we honoured eight Kiwis and Friends of New Zealand who are showing the world that our nation’s spirit extends far beyond its size.


Supreme Award Winner: Peter Gordon
Kea is proud to name internationally recognised chef and restauranteur Peter Gordon as the 2019 Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Supreme Award winner. Peter’s phenomenal philanthropic efforts, such as the creation of annual culinary events held both here and in the UK, have raised more than NZD$16 million to support leukaemia research.

These endeavours show an immense generosity of spirit that has made an unquestionable difference in New Zealand and overseas. Peter embodies what it means to be a World Class New Zealander in every sense.

  • Founder of iconic restaurant brand The Sugar Club (with locations previously in Wellington and London, and the current incarnation in Auckland).
  • Co-Owner and Co-Founder of multiple restaurants including The Providores and Tapa Room in London, and Bellota in Auckland.
  • Co-Founder of London’s rapidly growing sourdough-based Crosstown Doughnuts, which makes over 7,000 artisan treats daily.
  • Author of eight highly successful cookbooks.
  • This year, he cooked lunch for two Prime Ministers, Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May, at No. 10 Downing Street.
  • In 2018, Peter designed and cooked a gala dinner for 900 people in Auckland, honouring former US President Barack Obama’s inaugural visit to New Zealand.
  • In 2009, he was awarded an Office of the New Zealand Order of Merit by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to the food industry.
  • First recipient of the New Zealander of the Year Award in 1999 from the New Zealand Society in London.
  • Widely known for his philanthropic work, including his involvement in coordinating annual culinary events to support leukaemia research, which have raised NZD$16 million across New Zealand and the UK.  


Tim Brown

WCNZ Award winner Tim Brown is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of sustainable material innovation company Allbirds, launched in 2016. Tim is being acknowledged for his commitment to sustainable fashion and innovative business practices, including creating a revolutionary category of footwear using natural materials such as New Zealand merino wool.

  • Allbirds’ Wool Runner shoe has been dubbed “the world’s most comfortable” by TIME Magazine.
  • Raised US$50 million in a Series C funding round in October 2018.
  • Allbirds has attracted a huge celebrity following including Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jessica Alba, Cindy Crawford and Matthew McConaughey.
  • Former Vice Captain of the New Zealand All Whites. 

 Peter Beck
Rachel Taulelei 
WCNZ Award winner Rachel Taulelei is the CEO of Kono NZ, a Māori-owned New Zealand food and beverage company employing over 450 staff, farming more than 1000ha of land and sea, and exporting to over 25 countries. Rachel is being recognised for her contribution to the sustainable food industry and her ongoing work promoting Aotearoa as a leading producer of food and beverages.

  • Founder of Yellow Brick Road, a sustainable seafood company.
  • Former New Zealand Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles.
  • Received the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award.
  • Is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality.
  • Named as Māori Woman Business Leader for 2018.
  • Member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Dr Elizabeth Iorns
WCNZ Award winner Dr Elizabeth Iorns is the Co-Founder and CEO of Science Exchange, a world-leading marketplace enabling scientists to outsource their research and development needs to scientific experts and institutions around the world. Elizabeth is being celebrated for her outstanding contribution to improving the quality and efficiency of scientific research.

  • Raised $60 million in venture capital funding from top US investment firms including Union Square Ventures, Maverick Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.
  • Co-Founder and board director of Perception Therapeutics.
  • Director of the Reproducibility Initiative and Co-Lead of the Reproducibility Project Cancer Biology.
  • Mentor at Y Combinator.
  • PhD in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK.
  • Assistant Professor at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
  • Over 60 peer-reviewed publications in top-tier scientific journals.

Fady Mishriki
WCNZ Award winner Fady Mishriki is the Founder, former CEO and former CTO of New Zealand wireless charging technology company PowerbyProxi. Fady is being acknowledged for his significant and ongoing contribution to the global technology and business ecosystem.

  • Current Managing Director of Apple’s Auckland Technology Centre.
  • Board Member for Wireless Power Consortium.
  • Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland.
  • In 2015, Fady won a University of Auckland Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • In 2013, Fady was named University of Auckland Spark (now Velocity) Entrepreneur of the Decade.
  • Supported the University of Auckland Dean’s Leadership Program (Engineering) and the Velocity Challenge (Business).
  • Recently inducted into the University of Auckland’s Chancellor’s Circle.

Kirsten Nevill-Manning
WCNZ Award winner Kirsten Nevill-Manning is a globally acclaimed HR professional. She is being recognised for her extensive philanthropic work, including with non-profit organisations Acumen and the Robin Hood Foundation.

  • Former Director of International Human Resources for Facebook, supporting their global expansion with the recruitment of over 1,400 employees.
  • Former Manager of International Staffing at Google, helping to drive the organisation’s expansion into Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
  • Vice President of People Operations, IT and Facilities at Teachers Pay Teachers, a New York-based online educational marketplace, connecting teachers to enable them to share original educational resources.
  • Kirsten is married to computer engineer and former Kea World Class New Zealand recipient, Craig Nevill-Manning. Together, the couple have made significant philanthropic contributions to a variety of organisations including the Robin Hood Foundation.
  • Board member of Acumen.
  • Co-Owner of Happy Bones, a New Zealand café in New York.

Professor Christopher Shaw
WCNZ Award winner Professor Christopher Shaw is a renowned neurologist and neurologist. He is being acknowledged for his exceptional contribution to medicine and neuroscience.

  • MBChB, MD, FRACP, FRCP (Hon), FMedSci, FANA, FK.
  • Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at King’s College London.
  • Director of the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute.
  • Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.
  • Led an initiative to build a new neuroscience research facility, the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, which provides exceptional wet-laboratory and microscopy facilities.
  • Alongside his team, discovered more amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) genes than any other laboratory.

Friend of New Zealand: Ric Kayne

US private equity investor and business leader Ric Kayne has been named as the 2019 Kea Friend of New Zealand. Ric is being celebrated for his significant contribution to New Zealand’s people, economy and tourism sector via his work to establish Aotearoa as a world class golfing destination, and ongoing partnerships with Northland iwi.

  • Fifty-year career in investing and managing investments. Founded two major investment firms, Kayne Anderson Rudnick and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.
  • Chairman of Kayne Capital, an alternative investment strategy manager with funds under management of over US$25 billion.
  • Developed the Tara Iti golf course, ranked #6 in the world outside of the US. Tara Iti provides a significant source of tourism earnings and employment to Northland, Auckland and New Zealand. Subject to gaining the necessary regulatory consents, his future investment plans include the development of two further world class golf courses.
  • Developed strong relationships with local iwi, assisting them to realise the opportunity from their Treaty settlements.
  • General partner of the New Zealand Land Fund 2 which, in addition to Te Arai, has major property holdings in Queenstown and Wanaka.
  • Established Auckland-based private equity and venture fund bringing US skills and practices to Australasia.
  • Established and supports education centric philanthropy through a variety of initiatives both in the US and New Zealand including UCLA, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Kayne Eras.

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