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2019 Kea World Class New Zealand Awards

Allbirds founder Tim Brown among business leaders to be recognised by 2019 Kea World Class New Zealand Awards

Auckland, New Zealand: Monday 6th May, 2019

New Zealand’s most prestigious celebration of individual achievement, the Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Awards, has today announced three of its 2019 award recipients.

The first of this year’s winners are All birds entrepreneur Tim Brown, business leader Rachel Taulelei, and scientist and entrepreneur Elizabeth Iorns, who are set to be recognised at an Award Gala dinner on Thursday 20th June.

Kea’s three remaining 2019 WCNZ recipients will be revealed at the end of May, with the Supreme and Friend of New Zealand Awards announced at the Award ceremony at Auckland’s SKYCITY Convention Centre.

Kea Global CEO Craig Donaldson says the WCNZ Awards shine a light on top Kiwi talent who have achieved outstanding success in their chosen field, both at home and on the world stage.

“I’m delighted to announce the first of this year’s winners – each of whom have made a unique and unmistakably positive contribution, helping to enhance our country’s global reputation. The WCNZ Awards is a remarkable opportunity to help share inspiring stories from New Zealand’s most influential business leaders and entrepreneurs, and we’re proud to celebrate their achievements.”

Tim Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds, and former All Whites vice-captain, is being recognised for his commitment to sustainable fashion and innovative business practices, including creating a revolutionary category of footwear using natural materials such as New Zealand merino wool.

Rachel Taulelei, CEO of innovative Maori-owned food and beverage producer Kono, is being acknowledged for her contribution to the sustainable food industry, and her ongoing work promoting Aotearoa as a world-class producer of food and beverages.

Finally, Dr Elizabeth Iorns, co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange, is being recognised for her outstanding contribution to improving the quality and efficiency of scientific research. By creating Science Exchange, a marketplace for scientific research, she has transformed scientific collaboration, enabling scientists to instantly access expertise and infrastructure from thousands of world-leading research facilities. As Director of the Reproducibility Initiative and co-lead of the Reproducibility Project Cancer Biology, she leveraged the Science Exchange platform to quickly and efficiently validate research findings.

Each World Class New Zealand Award winner will receive a Tall Poppy statuette, designed by Weta Workshop co-founder and 2009 Supreme Award winner Sir Richard Taylor.

Established in 2003, the WCNZ Awards provide a platform that recognise inspirational, world Kiwis and friends who are making outstanding contributions to New Zealand’s international reputation. Tickets to the award ceremony can be purchased here.

For more information about the recipients, see below:

Tim Brown
• Co-founder and co-CEO of innovative sustainable footwear company Allbirds, “the fastest growing shoe company in the world.”
• The Allbirds Wool Runner shoe has been dubbed “the world’s most comfortable” by TIME Magazine.
• Raised U.S. $50 million in a Series C funding round in October 2018.
• Former Vice Captain of the New Zealand All Whites.

Rachel Taulelei
• CEO of Kono NZ, a Māori-owned New Zealand food and beverage company employing over 450 staff, farming more than 1000ha of land and sea, and exporting to over 25 countries.
• Founder of Yellow Brick Road, a sustainable seafood company.
• Former NZ Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles.
• Received the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, and is a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality.
• Named as Māori Woman Business Leader for 2018.
• Member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.
Dr Elizabeth Iorns
• Co-founder and CEO of Science Exchange.
• Raised $60M in venture capital funding from top US investment firms (Union Square Ventures, Maverick Capital, Norwest Venture Partners).
• Co-founder and board director of Perception Therapeutics.
• Director of the Reproducibility Initiative, Co-lead of the Reproducibility Project Cancer Biology.
• Mentor at Y Combinator.
• Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research (UK).
• Assistant Professor at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine
o Over 60 peer-reviewed publications in top-tier scientific journals.

About Kea:

Kea is New Zealand’s global network. Kea connects a community of over half a million New Zealanders with each other and provides access to global job opportunities, events and business growth support. Kea connects Kiwis with one another and with home.

It provides businesses and individuals with access to network members who willingly lend their influence, expertise and international connections to help New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses succeed on the world stage.

New Zealand businesses can access this expert assistance, advice, and global insight through Kea Connect.

Each year, Kea celebrates high-achieving Kiwis at the World Class New Zealand Awards held in Auckland.


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