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Soul Machines and Rocket Lab founders to be recognised at Kea Awards

30 May 18

The Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Awards has today announced six of its 2018 award recipients.

In addition to Sagar and Beck, this year's winners include award-winning actor and producer Cliff Curtis; prominent Earth scientist Dr Delwyn Moller; technology business leader Mitchell Pham; and art world powerhouse Jennifer Flay.

The Supreme Award (won last year by Sir Peter Jackson and Lady Fran Walsh), and Friend of New Zealand Award (won last year by Lady Pippa Blake), will be announced at a Gala Dinner at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre on June 21.  

Kea Global CEO Craig Donaldson says the Awards are an opportunity to recognise the very best among New Zealand’s community of Kiwi innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders making an impact on the world stage.

“This year’s recipients are diverse in their fields of influence and expertise, but they share a commitment to excellence which helps to define New Zealand’s global reputation – and made a vast contribution to the country’s social, cultural, scientific and economic development,” says Donaldson.

“We’re delighted to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.”

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck is being recognised as a pioneer in New Zealand’s space community, including his role in establishing international treaties and legislation to enable orbital launch capability from New Zealand.

Soul Machines CEO and co-founder and director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute Mark Sagar is being recognised for his work developing new technologies to humanise artificial intelligence.

Arama Pictures founder, Whenua Films co-founder, and multi-award-winning actor Cliff Curtis is being recognised for his commitment to indigenous storytelling, including Arama Pictures feature The Dark Horse and short film Ahi Ka.

Centre for Space Science Technology (Alexandra, NZ) research director Dr Delwyn Moller and previously a NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab scientist, is being recognised for her ground-breaking contribution to the development of state-of-the-art earth science technology systems.

This includes developing high-resolution radar imaging technology to enable new areas of scientific discovery, and an extensive contribution to our understanding of climate change via ongoing study of ice sheets and glaciers.

Augen Software Group director, Kiwi Connection Tech Hub co-founder, NZTech and FinTechNZ chair Mitchell Pham is being recognised for his contribution to the technology sector in New Zealand and NZ-Asia relations.

And finally, Paris’ Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) or International Contemporary Art Fair General Director Jennifer Flay has been included in recognition of her contribution to the fine arts, and leading the renewal of one of the most prestigious arts events in the world.

Established in 2003, the Awards provide a platform that recognises global success, celebrating Kiwis who are helping to define New Zealand’s international reputation.

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.

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