2016 UK New Zealander of the Year Winner and Special NZ Community Award Announced


The search for the UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2016 is now over.

The New Zealand Society is proud and delighted to announce that the 2016 winner of the UK New Zealander of the Year Award is Mark Wilson.   The Award was announced at the New Zealand Society’s Waitangi Day Charity Ball at The Ballroom of The Jumeirah Carlton, Knightsbridge London, on Friday 5th February 2016 and presented by Kathryn Robertson of Air New Zealand, together with His Excellency the High Commissioner for New Zealand the Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith, and  Robyn Allardice-Bourne, the President of the New Zealand Society.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution that a New Zealand or British national has made in promoting the interests of New Zealand or New Zealanders in the United Kingdom.

Mark Wilson, Group CEO of the UK’s largest insurance company – Aviva; global business leader and champion of sustainable business; received the 2016 award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to leading global discussion on how businesses can create a lasting legacy. In particular Mark has led debates on how to mobilise the $300 trillion of capital in the financial markets to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Mark was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, in 1966 and attended the University of Waikato on an economic scholarship. He is a turnaround specialist, building his reputation by fixing underperforming large global businesses.  After beginning his career in New Zealand he spent 14 years in Asia, ending as Chief Executive of Asian insurance giant, AIA.  With the collapse of AIA’s US parent, AIG, in the global financial crisis, Mark restructured the company, leading to one of the largest IPOs in corporate history.

Mark joined Aviva as Group Chief Executive Officer at the start of 2013.  Aviva can trace its history back to 1696 and is an iconic British company.  But before Mark joined, it was struggling.  Under his leadership it has refocused and rebuilt its financial strength. He led Aviva’s £6 billion acquisition of Friends Life Group in 2015, the largest deal in the UK insurance sector for 15 years.  Aviva is now a UK Top 30 Company, operating in 16 countries with 34 million customers and £300 billion of investment assets.  He is a key commentator on the role of business in society, especially how companies must create a sustainable, long-term legacy – what he calls “being a good ancestor”.

He accompanied the British Prime Minister on a trade mission to Asia in July 2015 strengthening the ties between the UK and NZ and in October 2015, in an unprecedented move, was invited to address the United Nations General Assembly on business expectations for the UN’s Global Sustainability Goals for the next 15 years, the only global business leader to have done so. In January 2016, Mark featured in The Sunday Times’ List of Most Influential people in the UK.

Robyn Allardice-Bourne, President of the New Zealand Society (UK) commented: “It is with great pride that the New Zealand Society (UK) in association with Air New Zealand, presents this prestigious award.  Mark is an outstanding individual not only in his business endeavours but in his vocal support of several initiatives focused on how business can make a positive and lasting impact on society. Rarely, do you find an individual with such passion and energy to make positive change for the benefit of us all.”

Mark Wilson will have the right to be recognised as the UK New Zealander of the Year 2016, and will receive return flights for two (2) from the UK to New Zealand, courtesy of our kind sponsors, Air New Zealand.

We also offer our congratulations to Professor David Paterson and  Mandii Pope who were the runners up for the Award.   Professor David Paterson is recognised for his lifetime contribution to medical science, and Mandii Pope, for her role as New Zealand Artist in London and charitable fundraiser.

Past winners of the Award have included Katherine Corich (founder of the Sysdoc group), Eric Tracey (Chair of UK Friends of Auckland University, Acting Chair Christchurch Earthquake Appeal UK, Former Chair NZTE European Beachheads Programme, co-founder former NZICA), Bronwen Horton (Founder of the New Zealand Business Women’s Network), Kent Gardner (Chief Executive of Evans Randall and major fundraiser for the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal), Terry Smith, (Chairman of Sir Keith Park’s Memorial Campaign and Chief Executive of Fundsmith), Anna Hansen MBE (chef, restaurateur and founder of The Modern Pantry restaurant in London), Esther Kerr-Jessop QSM (founder of the London Maori cultural group, Ngati Ranana), Dr Ian Conrich, Jonathan Rennie (New Zealand war memorial architect), Susan and Tom Glynn (restaurateurs and founders of Suze in Mayfair), Peter Leslie (the founding President of the New Zealand Society in Scotland), Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas (Chairman of Policy and Resources of the City of London Corporation and the first woman Provost of King’s College, Cambridge), (The late) Harry Mahon OBEMichael Campbell (professional golfer), The Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon (Secretary-General of the Commonwealth); Sir Mark Todd (Olympic and international equestrian even rider) and Peter Gordon ONZM (celebrity chef and restaurateur, and founder of The Providores and Kopapa restaurants).

Special  New Zealand Community Award

In addition to the above, a special New Zealand Community Award was presented during our Waitangi Day Charity Ball to the London based, Māori cultural group Ngāti Rānana by former All Black, Zinzan Brooke in recognition of their wonderful support of New Zealand events in London and the UK.
The Rt. Hon John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand commented in a letter presented with the award  "I would like to express my appreciation to the Ngati Ranana Maori Cultural Group for your outstanding contribution in showcasing, promoting and representing New Zealand. The most recent of these significant events being the 100th Year Anzac Day Celebrations in April 2015 and supporting the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup 2015."
Ngāti Rānana were created in the 1950s under the guiding principles of whanaungatanga (togetherness), manaakitanga(care for one another) and kōtahitanga (unity), Ngāti Rānana aims to create an environment for New Zealanders residing in the UK and others interested in Māori culture to teach, learn and participate in Māori performing arts and culture.