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Supreme Award winner standing strong in Canterbury

Supreme Award winner standing strong in Canterbury

30 May 2014

The University of Canterbury has reigned supreme in its campaign to reinvent itself after the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, taking home the coveted supreme honour at the 40th annual Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Awards.

The PRINZ award winners were announced at the Institute’s annual conference and Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on 29 May, with the University of Canterbury (UC) Futures communications team presented with the Supreme Award in 2014 for its successful, world-class campaign.

The awards recognise excellence in New Zealand’s public relations and communications industry, and promote continuous improvement and celebrate best practice. This year’s awards attracted 57 entries from around the country, with nine winners in eight categories eligible for the overall Supreme Award.

The 2014 Supreme Award judges were particularly impressed with the University of Canterbury’s successful evolution and risk management throughout its transformation process with thought leadership programmes, clever media engagement and an unprecedented level of engagement with the Canterbury community.

“This mission-critical campaign was developed and implemented during a period of ongoing stress and disruption for the University and the city of Christchurch. It was a strong, well-executed campaign whose immense challenges were clearly articulated in the entry,” says chief judge Anna Radford.

“Over a two-year period between 2011 and 2013, the University successfully managed the delicate balance of gaining support for the University’s requirements, while at the same time maintaining stakeholders’ confidence in its ability to deliver high-quality tertiary education, and to be a valued contributor to the Canterbury region and beyond.”

Securing a multi-million dollar capital support commitment from the Government was key to the University’s ongoing viability and was the ultimate objective of the campaign. It culminated in November 2013 with Prime Minister John Key announcing a commitment of up to $260 million for a new science centre and upgrade of the University’s engineering facilities.

The UC Futures team, John MacDonald of Durning Public Relations, and the University of Canterbury’s Stacey Doornenbal and Jayne Austin, also won the Sustained Public Relations category.

Category winners at the 2014 PRINZ Awards are:

Corporate Public Relations winner
Peter Parussini and the ANZ Corporate Affairs Team, ANZ
“Banking on the new ANZ” – the post ANZ and The National Bank merger communications strategy and plan

Internal Communications winner
Amanda Schaake, for Fonterra
Connecting employees to mission and purpose: Turning boring into bring it on!

Limited Budget Public Relations winner
Suzanne McNamara, Convergence
Splore’s sustainability message changes audience behaviour

Marketing Communication – Integrated winner
Ross Henderson, Kathryn Fitzpatrick, Karen Jones and Campbell Moore, NZ Police
Safer Speed Summer

Marketing Communication – Public Relations winner
Joanna James, Natasha Gillooly and Strahan Wallis, Porter Novelli NZ
Tui Plumbers go global

Not for Profit Public Relations joint winners
Sharon Walls, Mercy Ships
Mercy By Moonlight

Courtney Bennett, Telecom NZ; Lee Hales and Georgina Moselen-Sloog, Whitaker Group
Givealittle by the Telecom Foundation, the Growth of Zero Fees Fundraising in NZ

Special event or project winner
Crystal Beavis, Strategic Lighting Partners Ltd
Turning the spotlight onto LED road lighting: Road Lighting 2014, 11-12 March, Auckland

Sustained Public Relations winner
John MacDonald, Durning Public Relations; Stacey Doornenbal and Jayne Austin, University of Canterbury.

Paul Dryden Tertiary Award winner
Anna Johnstone, Caroline Leeming, Sureena Habib, Alexandra Harman and Nina Magan, AUT University – Outside the Square
Auckland’s most noteworthy teacher

Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year winner
Erin Roberts, McDonald’s Restaurants New Zealand Ltd

For a list of highly commended finalists, visit

All category winners are also eligible to enter the global COMM PRIX awards organised by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.


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