New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards


Scott Blackwood
EY Oceania Business Transformation Partner, Strategy & Operations Partner

Location Grand Millennium Hotel, 71 Mayoral Drive, Cnr Vincent St, Auckland, Tāmaki-makau-rau, 1010, NZ Open in maps

Time 17:30 - 21:30

The New Zealand Procurement Excellence Forum was formed in 2014 with the purpose of achieving better outcomes for NZ through good procurement. The forum brings together like-minded and committed procurement professionals who view the procurement profession as a developing specialisation, and are willing to share their knowledge with each other for the purpose of further enhancing, developing and celebrating the procurement profession in New Zealand.

The founders of the group recognised that to achieve this we needed to increase the awareness of what great Procurement looks like and how it can contribute to better outcomes for NZ. We needed to tell some of the great stories of achievements across many organisations in both the public and private sectors; to inspire others to raise the bar; to make sure that organisations achieve more than just good practice and compliance through aligning their vast supplier networks’ with their own strategic outcomes and to help business leaders structure and organise their commercial functions to become a core contributor to their success.

With that in mind, The New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards were created. The awards represent a key reference point for the future of New Zealand’s position as a leader in Procurement practice.

Now entering its fifth year, the New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards are the country’s foremost recognition of industry-leading procurement practice. Our next awards evening will be held on the 20th May, 2020. See below for this year’s categories.

  • Key dates

    Nominations open: 1 November 2019

    Nominations close: 28 February 2020

    Awards Evening: 20 May 2020

The 2020 Award Categories

Just as there are many different skills and characteristics that contribute to Procurement, there are five competitive New Zealand Procurement Excellence Award categories that have been established to recognize New Zealand’s finest:

  • Young Procurement Professional of the Year
  • Procurement Professional of the Year
  • Most Effective Teaming of the Year
  • Social or Environmental Impact of the Year
  • Innovation of the Year

The finalists in these categories will vie for the title of ‘Supreme Winner’ at the New Zealand Procurement Excellence Awards. Chosen by the judges, it demonstrates the highest achievement of the year in the Procurement field.

2019 Category Winners

  • Supreme Winner

    Ministry of Health

    Read more about the 2019 Supreme Winner, Ministry of Health, in the Most Effective Teaming of the Year category.

  • Procurement professional of the year

    Karen Dawson, Ministry of Education

    Karen joined the Ministry of Education in 2015 as Chief Procurement Officer, bringing with her 15 years of procurement experience to the Ministry. A senior procurement leader in New Zealand Government, she is engaged in many networks, forums and procurement boards to support and develop the procurement profession. Karen has also been an advocate for growing capability across the Ministry and the procurement industry, and is also constantly looking to introduce newcomers to the profession. Karen is a member of a number of professional procurement groups, leads an internal procurement network group and is a mentor in the MBIE’s developing Procurement leaders programme.

  • Young procurement processional of the year

    Frae Cairns, Auckland Council

    Frae began her career as a contract administrator at Auckland Council and has quickly risen through the ranks to become a strategic procurement specialist within the Auckland Council Procurement Department (her home role) and is currently seconded to the Southern Initiative as their Strategic Social Procurement Specialist. Frae is a successful and well-respected leader both within Auckland Council but also amongst the wider New Zealand procurement community. Frae is passionate about delivering social and sustainable impact through procurement. Frae is an example of what a young professional can achieve though dedication, intelligence, great people skills and hard work.

  • Most effective teaming of the year

    Ministry of Health

    The Ministry of Health provided an opportunity to transform the region specific Air Ambulance Helicopter Service into a nationally integrated and coordinated service (reducing contracts from 13 to three regional specific contracts). The procurement was a collaborative approach between the Ministry of Health and ACC. The National Air Ambulance Procurement team better informed the opportunity through sensitive application of broad knowledge and partner consultation. The success of the project can be attributed to the team’s unwavering dedication to achieving a workable procurement approach in the face of community resistance, sector apprehension and general stakeholder guardedness. Through the growth of their respective knowledge base and working in interconnected parallel workstreams that emphasised market engagement and co-design, the procurement team input as a whole was substantially larger than the sum of each individual’s contribution.

  • Social and Environmental Impact of the year

    Department of Corrections

    The Department of Corrections and Ministry for Justice recognised an opportunity to explore how the future Asset and Facilities Management contract might enable the delivery of some of the Department’s social responsibilities around rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. Accordingly, the Department placed a high priority on delivering improved Offender Employment outcomes as part of the new contract. The tender process explored opportunities to use offender employment within the prisons as well as the up-skilling and training of offenders. Measurable commitments from the respondent were a major negotiating point and the continued provision of stable employment and reduced re-offending the final outcome of a partnership approach now contributing to a safer, better community.


  • Most innovative project of the year

    Oranga Tamariki: Ministry for Children

    In order to provide young people who enter the youth justice system on remand a greater chance of successful outcomes, Oranga Tamariki has been developing community-based options such as ‘remand care homes’, which provide a secure but positive environment where young people can get the support they need to get their lives back on track. Historically, traditional methods of procuring social services have
    generally disadvantaged smaller, community providers, particularly Iwi / Māori organisations. Oranga Tamariki designed a procurement process that would identify a partner that had proven capacity and capability around whanaungatanga, whakapapa and mana tamaiti, and the potential to co-design and deliver a successful youth remand service. The team invested significant time in open dialogue, giving the potential partners the time and information for them to decide whether they wanted to proceed to a presentation stage. The early results from the service, since going live in August 2018, are hugely promising and on 20th February 2019, Hoani Lambert, Tamariki Advocate, Deputy Chief Executive, Voices of Children, accepted the ANZSOG Showcasing Indigenous Strength and Leadership in Public Administration award in Australia.

2018 Category Winners

  • Supreme Winner

    New Zealand Post

    Read more about the 2018 Supreme Winner, New Zealand Post, in the Sustainability Project of the Year category.

  • Procurement Professional of the Year

    Rob Halsall, Westpac New Zealand

    Rob has led a transformation of the procurement function at Westpac with a strategic focus to embed business partner engagement, improve value creation and create trusted advisor status. This has been delivered using a new commercial operating model and leadership structure, including a dedicated analytics, governance and operations function and a specific people plan to improve capability across the team. In addition, strong emphasis has been placed on evolving the social procurement and sustainability agenda, expanding on senior stakeholder engagement and partnering with strategic suppliers. It is underpinned with the utilisation of data driven insights to improve the procurement narrative and influence sustainable business outcomes at pace.

  • Young Procurement Professional of the Year

    Ryan Challis, MBIE

    Ryan has risen to be a leader in New Zealand Government Procurement and is a key member of the All-of-Government Commercial Strategy and Sourcing team. He is personally responsible for leading project teams for some of the most significant procurements in New Zealand ($300m+). Additionally, he founded and is President of the MBIE Toastmasters Club, and is an active member of the Developing Procurement Leaders Group.

  • Procurement Team of the Year


    The Xero Commercial and Procurement team grew organically out of an initiative to reduce costs in one specific category in 2014. Based on the game-changing results achieved by the team at the time and the extraordinary growth of Xero globally, the benefits of the procurement discipline driven by the Commercial and Procurement team soon became recognised and valued across the business. The team operates as a lean centre of excellence with six staff that manage all key spend categories, share spend analysis and observations across the business and have become the 'go to' for advice on supplier performance and relationships

  • Sustainability Project of the Year

    New Zealand Post

    New Zealand Post committed to a social procurement approach in Sept-2017 built around spending the same dollar twice for the benefit of New Zealand. They are pursuing this across three initiatives; building social procurement into the business, implementing social procurement, and leading in the marketplace. New Zealand Post has committed to contractually engaging with at least three Social Enterprise by Sept-2018 and using its discretionary spend encourage market growth. They are also supporting the development of an online marketplace for social enterprises, utilising a fair trade garment supplier, and investigating several opportunities to engage with social enterprises for logistics, facilities and recycling services.

  • Successful Procurement Change of the Year


    Watercare is undertaking a strategic transformation programme (STP) , including the establishment of a new operating model which places our customers at the centre of everything we do, ultimately to deliver on our vision of being ‘trusted by our communities for exceptional performance every day’. The Watercare procurement team have been leaders in this transformation, adopting an agile approach to the procurement of the STP partner and driving a shift within culture and practice in the procurement function and being a role model to the rest of the organisation. Watercare procurement teamed with senior leadership, programme executives and sponsors to follow a design-thinking approach to the future of Watercare and communicated this shift in thinking to both stakeholders and suppliers though the STP procurement process. The Procurement team led the uptake of agile methods across the business, having the organisation's first Product owner and 'Scrum master', and leading in rollout of retrospective learning sessions and executive showcases. The cultural shift towards agility has manifested itself across processes marked by high levels of engagement, collaboration and innovation with both internal stakeholders and suppliers resulting in an increased velocity of delivery and significant benefits from negotiations with selected suppliers.

2017 Winners

  • Supreme Winner - Nick Lardner (Young Procurement Professional of the Year)
  • Procurement Professional of the Year - Mark Jones, ASB
  • Young Procurement Professional of the Year - Nick Lardner, Westpac
  • Procurement team of the Year - ASB
  • Successful Procurement change of the Year - Auckland Transport City Rail Link
  • Sustainability Project of the Year - Comvita New Zealand

2016 Winners

  • Supreme Winner - New Zealand Government Procurement (Procurement Team of the Year)
  • Procurement Professional of the Year - Sara Hay, Auckland Council
  • Young Procurement Professional of the Year - Emma Hillman, New Zealand Government Procurement
  • Procurement team of the Year - New Zealand Government Procurement
  • Successful Procurement change of the Year - Air New Zealand