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High praise for budding Sir Peter Blakes

Recognising and rewarding outstanding leadership was the name of the game at the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards.

Sir Peter Blake award recipientsClockwise: Dame Margaret Bazley, Tawera Nikau, Raelene Castle, Rebecca Elvin, Sam Johnson, Andrew Coy, Heather Skipworth and Derek Handley

Recognising and rewarding outstanding leadership was the name of the game at the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards, presented at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington late last week.

Six of New Zealand's brightest emerging leaders were honoured for demonstrating practical leadership in their communities. Chair of the selection panel, Sir Ron Carter, says the emerging leadership awards recognise the achievements of outstanding New Zealand leaders whose stories, like Sir Peter Blake’s, set them apart as role models.

The award recipients were Tawera Nikau, CEO of Aotearoa Construction; Derek Handley, founder of The Hyperfactory; Raelene Castle, CEO of Netball New Zealand; lawyer Rebecca Elvin; Dr Andrew Coy, CEO of Magritek Ltd; and Heather Skipworth, founder of IronMaori.

"This year’s recipients hold the same quality as Sir Peter Blake, applying their leadership ability in a practical way. They demonstrate how inspiring teams to achieve more than they could on their own can be applied across various industries," Carter says.

Sam Johnson, the founder and leader of the Student Volunteer Army, which was set up to help with the clean-up following the Christchurch earthquakes, was also presented with a special award.

But the big winner on the night was Dame Margaret Bazley, who was awarded the premiere leadership award—the Blake Medal. Previous recipients include Sir Ray Avery (2010), Sir Murray Halberg (2008), Sir Paul Callaghan (2007) and Sir Stephen Tindall (2006).

Chief executive of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, Shelley Campbell, says the awards seek to encourage New Zealanders to develop their leadership potential.

"The 2011 recipients are an outstanding example of how we can all develop our leadership skills to achieve more and strive to reach our full potential in whatever it is we do."

The Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards officially launch New Zealand Leadership Week (July 1-8), which aims to raise awareness of the importance of great leadership and showcase the work that is being done to develop leadership capability throughout the country.