Success and leadership within the co-operative business sector celebrated at annual awards


The annual Cooperative Business NZ Awards, which recognize outstanding leadership and achievement in the co-operative business sector, were announced earlier in February at an online awards ceremony.

After postponing the in-person event several times since 2021, Cooperative Business NZ Managing Director Roz Henry said that while this was not how we wanted to recognize these fantastic leaders and businesses, there was still a lot to celebrate.

“These awards are a fantastic way to recognize all the great work these winners are doing to support the lives and livelihoods of New Zealanders”

This year’s awards saw a significant increase in nominations, and the caliber of nominees was exceptional. It is clear that New Zealand member-owned businesses are at the forefront of innovation and continue to bring so much to our country, our economy, our communities and our people. This made the job of our judges incredibly difficult.”

“I want to thank all of our members and sponsors, Anderson Lloyd and LBMX, for making this such a fantastic, albeit virtual, event. Special thanks also to our independent judges – Dr Lisa Callagher, Alastair Hercus and Phil McKendry – for dedicating their time to judging the awards once again this year,” said Roz.

The winners of the evening were as follows.


The Co-operative Business of the Year Award is given to a member business that has made a significant and positive impact within the co-operative and local community.

NZPM received this prestigious award for its considerable growth and resilient and sustainable performance over the past year. What stood out in their winning nomination was their evidence that they “walk the talk” when it comes to cooperative principles and the initiatives they have worked on to support this.

This included their work in implementing a social responsibility plan initiative; their influence on the main ethical and sustainable purchasing behaviors; engagement in the space of education and training; their commitment to the next generation in the plumbing industry; and community fundraising efforts.

Roz says, “NZPM lives and breathes cooperative guiding principles. Their work over the past year, supporting their members and the wider community, has put them in a good position to continue to implement their strategy in the future.

CO-OPERATIVE LEADER OF THE YEAR: Wayne McNee, Executive Director, LIC

The Co-operative Leader of the Year award is given to an individual who has demonstrated significant co-operative leadership as well as vision and courage for the co-operative model.

LIC Managing Director Wayne McNee was recognized for facilitating a significant amount of positive change for the co-op from 2013 to 2021.

During his tenure, LIC’s strategy has evolved twice to ensure shareholders are at the heart of its action, moving away from the revenue-driven past alone. Wayne has been instrumental in driving these improvements. It announced another strong financial result in 2021 for the fourth consecutive year. Wayne led many major initiatives that contributed to this, including the automation of herd testing labs and the implementation of new advanced DNA technology.

“Wayne has consistently championed the need for LIC’s strategy to be based on real measurable results for its farmer shareholders. He left the company in very good shape and with a very good heart. His leadership has been unparalleled. »


The Emerging Business of the Year award honors a co-op that has been in business for five years or less, celebrating the work it does to ensure its long-term success, viability and contribution to the co-op community.

ProCare, New Zealand’s largest and most diverse healthcare worker co-operative, has been recognized for its strong motivation and action in the transition from business to co-operative. After the official transition in 2019, ProCare moved quickly to bring the cooperative vision to life.

The cooperative has already established partnerships with other members, such as the Southern Cross Health Care Society; returned critical funding to their network members when they needed it most; deployed Employment Plus, a dedicated HR service; and provided tailored training solutions for registered nurses following member feedback.

Roz says, “ProCare’s work to transform into a co-op, followed by mutual agreement, has allowed their practices to thrive and better serve their patients and communities.

EMERGING LEADER OF THE YEAR: Ben Ross, Branch Manager (Wellington), MG Marketing

The Emerging Leader of the Year recognizes an individual (under 35) who is making a mark in their member organization.

“What stands out with Ben is how he has shaped the way his branch achieves its goals – recognizing that the traditional approach of ‘just selling more product’ was not going to have a significant impact or get the best results for grower-members,” says Roz. Ben has implemented innovative communication cycles that allow his staff to provide feedback, resulting in continuous improvement in producer member engagement, customer service and efficiency.

Roz says: “Ben’s commitment to MG Marketing is impressive, having started there as a high school student in 2008. We look forward to seeing where his journey continues to take him. The MG Marketing team and the cooperative community are very lucky to have him.


The Outstanding Co-operative Contribution Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the success of the co-operative sector in New Zealand over the long term.

Graeme Sutton has been recognized for his long history of working with cooperative enterprises to advance the position of farmers. Currently President of Provelco, Graeme was appointed for his dedication to the industry over the past three decades.

Graeme’s first directorship was at Ravensdown in 1987 and since then he has served on the boards of seven different agricultural cooperatives.

Roz says: “Graeme has always been a champion of the co-operative model in New Zealand and seeks long-term benefits for the businesses and community organizations he has been involved with. Thank you for your long-term service in the industry as a whole. these years.”

ENDURING SERVICE AWARD: Fonterra celebrates its 150th anniversary

Fonterra received his Enduring Service Award

“Last year, the cooperative celebrated 150 years since the formation of its founding group. This pioneering cooperative is part of what we know today as Fonterra, and it is an honor to be here 150 years later to present an enduring service award to the team,” says Roz.

“They are committed to ensuring that farming in New Zealand continues for generations and do everything they can to ensure they farm in a way that regenerates their farms and the environment. . Together, Fonterra has been creating ‘good’ across New Zealand for 150 years. This Sustainable Service Award can attest to the fact that this co-op is truly an intergenerational, thriving and sustainable business – and it will only continue.

ENDURING SERVICE AWARD: 100 years celebrated for the Medical Assurance Society

The MAS (Medical Assurance Society) received an enduring service award for 100 years of service. They celebrated this fantastic milestone in March 2021.

Founded in 1921 by four doctors in Napier, just as New Zealand was emerging from World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic, it’s only fitting that they are now celebrating 100 years in the midst of another pandemic .

Roz says, “As you would expect from a company started by doctors, MAS is at the service of its community. Having reached 100+ years, there is no doubt that they excel in this area.

“They often describe themselves as ‘here for good’ and we wholeheartedly agree. It was an honor to present them with this enduring service award.”

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