Oscar-winning film maker Peter Jackson couldn't pick up the Blake Medal last Friday night, the highest honour given in the annual Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards, because he was busy with the final scenes of The Hobbit: The Battles of Five Armies.
So instead Wingnut Films colleague Matt Dravitzski collected the prize, with Jackson sending a recorded acceptance speech. Jackson was one of six new Blake award recipients, including emerging leaders Tim Alpe, CEO and co-founder of the JUCY Group; footwear entrepreneur Kathryn Wilson; Matt Watson, TV fishing personality and creator of freefishheads.co.nz; Sarah Robb-O’Hagan, New York-based president of global fitness chain Equinox; Sam Hazledine, a doctor who founded MedRecruit; and Therese Walsh, head of New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Blake wrote, directing and produced blockbusters King Kong and The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and makes charitable contributions to his local community in Wellington.
Chair of the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards selection panel, Sir Ron Carter, said this year's winners were "real people leaders".
"They’ve displayed an innate talent for building strong internal cultures and highly successful teams. They’ve led by example and have been able to inspire their team members to help them achieve goals that others have often said are impossible.”
The awards mark the start of the annual Sir Peter Blake Leadership Week, where nearly 300 New Zealand leaders will speak to school students to share stories about what they've learned during their careers.
Among them are business leaders Sir Eion Edgar and Sir Ron Carter; psychologist Nigel Latta; scientist and inventor Sir Ray Avery and Lanzatech’s Sean Simpson; TVNZ presenters Rawdon Christie and Toni Street; Newstalk ZB radio host Rachel Smalley; and ZM breakfast presenters Carl Fletcher, Vaughan Smith and Megan Sellers; singer-songwriter Jamie McDell; former prime minister, Dame Jenny Shipley; and olympians Hamish Carter and Beatrice Faumuina.