White Camellia Awards Celebrate Organizations Promoting Women’s Empowerment in Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand

Minister for Women, The Honourable Julie-Anne Genter, hosted this year’s White Camellia Awards at Parliament House on 17 September. The awards celebrate the achievements of businesses and organizations in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Awards are made for excellence in implementing each of the seven United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). All New Zealand-based organizations who have signed up to the WEPs were invited to take part in a survey examining their progress, with the results analysed by the New Zealand Work Research Institute.

A judging panel which included the Minister alongside Equal Opportunities Commissioner Dr Karanina Sumeo and industry leader Traci Houpapa used the survey results to identify a winner for each Principle, as well as an overall supreme winner.

The judging panel were impressed with the number of organizations working hard to empower women. With outstanding examples of businesses showing innovation, commitment and vision in building gender-equal workplaces, competition was strong across the award categories.

White Camellia Awards winners 2019 were:


Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality: AIA New Zealand, previously Sovereign Assurance


Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work — respect and support human rights and non-discrimination: Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand


Principle 3: Ensure health, safety and well-being of all workers, regardless of gender: AIA New Zealand


Principle 4: Promote women’s education, training and professional development: Bell Gully


Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women: Westpac New Zealand


Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy: KPMG New Zealand


Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality: AIA New Zealand

Small Business/Organisation Award: Otago Chamber of Commerce


Supreme Award Winner: AIA New Zealand

Congratulations to all award winners for the strides they have made over the last year in building gender-equal workplaces. Together with all organizations who have signed up to the WEPs, they are turning more and more workplaces into welcoming and empowering environments for women.

Attending the event to give a thought-provoking talk about her experiences was award-winning company director, industry leader and economic development advisor to Māori, Government and the public and private sectors, Traci Houpapa. She spoke of how she was inspired as a schoolgirl that she ‘could be anything she wanted to be’ and issued a timely reminder of the importance of being generous with our words and uplifting young women and girls.

Professor Gail Pacheco of the New Zealand Work Research Institute also joined the ceremony to discuss the findings of this year’s WEPs progress survey. A copy of the survey report alongside examples of innovative practice is available at: https://www.weps.org.nz/resources

Special thanks to the all members of the New Zealand WEPs committee who coordinate the White Camellia Awards. Together we are working to promote the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and make them a reality. It is fantastic to see the influence they are having are in making New Zealand’s workplaces gender equal.

Vicky Mee

Chair, New Zealand Women’s Empowerment Principles Committee


Photographer & Videographer Credit: Un Women, New Zealand National Committee

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