Massey congratulates finalists of the Women of Influence 2020


Top left: Chrissie Cowan, Sonia Thursby, Deborah Manning. Bottom left: Christine Liggins, Holly Carrington, Ranjna Patel, Raechal Osborne.


An entrepreneur, a human rights lawyer and the chief executive of an organisation that supports blind and visually impaired Māori are among the seven finalists in the Community Hero category of the 2020 Women of Influence Awards, announced Sunday.

Massey is a proud sponsor of the Community Hero Award, one of 10 categories of the awards that are run by Westpac and Stuff. Other categories include Global, Diversity, Rural, Innovation, Science and Health and more.

Recognising women who are making a difference to the lives of New Zealanders is the focus of the awards and the Community Hero category shines a light on women working in community projects and not-for-profit campaigns in areas such as health, education, domestic violence, finance, literacy, and cultural or ethnic diversity.

The Community Hero is one of the most popular categories according to the organisers, attracting nearly 100 of the 339 nominations received this year. More than 80 finalists have been shortlisted for the awards.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the finalists are helping to make Aotearoa New Zealand a better place for all and are empowering people to overcome challenges, reach their goals and fulfil their potential.

“I would like to acknowledge and congratulate everyone who has been recognised. It’s important that we as a nation take the time to celebrate the work and passion of these individuals who are committed to improving the lives of others.

“These awards provide a platform to showcase female leadership in Aotearoa and allows women of all ages to celebrate the work of others in our small communities through to the global stage. It’s a privilege for Massey University to be involved.”

Westpac NZ Chief Executive David McLean says the strength of this year’s nominations comes as no surprise given the resilience all New Zealanders have shown this year.

“We know that growing strong communities will be essential to our [COVID-19] recovery in the coming months and years.”  

The Women of Influence 2020 winners, including a supreme winner, will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the Aotea Centre in Auckland on November 17. 


Community Hero finalists

Chrissie Cowan, CEO Kāpō Māori Aotearoa. Advocate and leader in the disability sector for Māori.

Christine Liggins, Co-founder of DebtFix offering free debt and financial literacy advice.

Deborah Manning, NZ Food Network and KiwiHarvest.

Holly Carrington, Shine - domestic violence free and policy advisor.

Raechel Osborne, CEO Kapiti Youth Support.

Ranjna Patel, Founder of Gandhi Nivas combating domestic violence in the Indian community.

Sonia Thursby, CEO Yes Disability Resource Centre.

For more information about the awards and the full list of finalists, visit www.womenofinfluence.co.nz.

Congratulations to Massey alumni finalists

We are proud of our Massey alumni who go on to achieve great things and contribute to Aotearoa and the world. There are several who have been named Women of Influence finalists across the following categories.

Dame Alison Paterson is a finalist in the Board and Management category. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2009 and was a member of the Massey University council from 2003 to 2013. 

Brooke Roberts is a finalist in the Business Enterprise category. Ms Roberts received a Distinguished Young Alumni Award in 2020 and completed a Master of Finance in 2013.

Andrea Blair is a finalist in the Diversity category. Ms Blair completed a Diploma in Arts and Psychology in 2019.

Bridget Hawkins and Jessie Chan are both finalists in the Rural category. Ms Hawkins completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Master of Agriculture in 1986 and 1991 respectively. Ms Chan completed a Master of Agricultural Science with Honours in 2002.

In the Global category, Denise Arnold completed a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies in 1993, a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies (Distinction) in 2016 and a Master of International Development (Distinction) in 2016. Dr Frances Hughes completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1994 and was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 2013. Dr Johanna Wood completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1982, a Master of Educational Studies - Mathematics in 2004 and a Doctor of Education in 2019. The Honourable Winnie Laban completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies in 1999.

Suzanne Pitama is a finalist in the Innovation, Science and Health category. Ms Pitama completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Psychology in 2000.

Contact us Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey