Movings/Shakings: 20 May

Two for one

Following on from the news of Laura Maxwell-Hansen's departure, Yahoo! New Zealand has announced the appointment of a new senior management team, with Marcus Forbes promoted to the role of general manager, media, and Louis Niven taking the role of general manager, sales. 

The changes see both hold joint responsibility for the management of the Yahoo! New Zealand business. 

Forbes has been with Yahoo! New Zealand for six years holding senior product and editorial roles. A journalist by training, he will be responsible for the content and media business and will also lead the ongoing strategic partnership with Telecom New Zealand, which is probably a bit tense at the moment after the recent spam issues

With 17 years experience in the New Zealand advertising industry Niven has worked with Yahoo! New Zealand for four years in senior sales roles. He will be responsible for the commercial success of the Yahoo! New Zealand business.

The roles will report into the Australian based Yahoo!7 business. According to chief executive Stu Sayers, the promotions bolster the senior representation in the market through the creation of two new executive roles.

“When we were considering our options for a leader for the Yahoo! New Zealand business it was clear straight away that we already had a strong team with the best people in the market," he says. "The joint leadership roles highlight the importance that we place on both a great user and a great advertiser experience. We’re committed to investing in our business and in particular our ongoing partnership with Telecom New Zealand. We’re confident that Marcus and Louis will lead the continued success of the Yahoo! New Zealand business now and in the future."

Maxwell-Hansen will continue in her role as chair of the IAB until June. No decision has been made on a replacement. 

Tri again

Contact Energy and Triathlon New Zealand (TRI NZ) have announced the conclusion of their partnership, which has supported the sport at all levels across New Zealand over the past five years and the Contact Tri Series dating back to 2006.

Contact spokesperson Shaun Jones says the decision follows a period of strong success for the sport, and Contact was proud of its association with triathlon and its contribution over the past seven years.

"Triathlon has grown significantly in the past seven years, and this is evidenced by the interest in triathlon, participation in the events at all levels and the profile of the sport. The triathlon partnership has helped Contact build our brand, tell our story and engage our staff during a period of significant change for our business and for New Zealand. We have also been excited by the energy and enthusiasm we experienced within triathlon. It’s a sport that has become successful on a competitive level and as a popular participation sport … Our partnership with Triathlon NZ has been a big part of our brand presence and many Kiwis have recognised Contact’s support for and involvement with triathlon. While that association was a significant part of our sponsorship activity, we have a range of relationships that are focused on the communities we are a part of. We regularly review these to ensure that they best meet our needs and the priorities of our customers and the communities in which we operate.”

TRI NZ chief executive Craig Waugh said he was sad to part ways, but respects and appreciates the commitment Contact has shown to the sport of triathlon since 2006.

"They have been nothing but a pleasure to work with."

Contact’s original relationship with triathlon commenced in 2006 as sponsor of the Contact Tri Series. The company then extended this to become a principal partner through a whole-ofsport contract with TRI NZ for four years from 2008 to 2012. In 2012 Contact extended the contract for a further 12 months to June 2013.

After a review of its sponsorship and community engagement activity, Contact is making changes to its approach and sponsorship portfolio and this includes a move away from the TRI NZ sponsorship. 

“That’s no reflection on the quality or success of the relationship with triathlon, just the opposite in fact," says Jones. "We believe triathlon is in a stronger position than it was seven years ago and Contact is also in a different phase of its development, so the time is right to explore new directions.”

TRI NZ has been in the market for the past nine months seeking replacement partners, says Waugh.

“With the new 2020 Strategic Plan encompassing sports services and high performance, we are confident of finding new partners for our various properties from TriKids in primary schools, through to High Performance and the National Tri series of events. Realism and segmenting in this market is crucial to satisfying our commercial partner needs and TRI NZ has a great opportunity to establish new and successful partnerships for the next exciting phase in the sport."

Triathlon’s current annual participation numbers sit at 115,000, up from 70,000 in 2008 when the whole-of-sport sponsorship commenced. The seven-race Contact Tri Series has seen consistent growth from 1,650 participants in 2008-09 to 4,100 in 2012-13, a growth of 30 percent per annum. 

PR 4 Life

The Public Relations Institute of New Zealand will award a life membership to Murray McKinnon at its annual awards event on Thursday 30 May.

The award recognises his significant service to PRINZ over a long period since his involvement in the early 1980s. McKinnon was made a fellow in 1994 and worked as executive director of PRINZ from 2000-2004.

Last given in 2009 and awarded to just 11 people in the institute’s history, life membership is the highest accolade from PRINZ. It follows McKinnon's Queen’s Service Medal for services to athletics in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Diamond Jubilee Honours.

At the Awards event, PRINZ will also induct four new fellows: Aline Sandilands (a senior lecturer within the School of Communication Studies at AUT), Catherine Arrow (secretary of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management and director of Unlocked PR), Daniel Paul (director of The PR Company) and Kate Woodruffe (PR manager, Gen-i at Telecom).

The nominations for each of the members noted the deserved nature of each new Fellowship.

  • Aline has demonstrated expert PR skills and a real passion for the profession.  She is an ethical operator and a superb ambassador to her students and for the profession.”
  • Catherine is an experienced PR practitioner, a highly valued teacher and mentor, a social media specialist plus a PR measurement and ethics subject matter expert and a leader within the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.”
  • Daniel has a balanced background of a good PR practice, national account experience and an enduring demonstration of mentoring and supporting PR practitioners.”
  • Kate is is an eloquent and effective advocate for the importance of public relations in any project team in which she is working.”

The life membership and new fellows will be awarded as part of the 39th Annual PRINZ Awards at a special event in Christchurch on Thursday 30 May during the PRINZ Annual conference. 


MYOB, New Zealand’s largest provider of accounting software, has announced the appointment of Elaine Koller as its New Zealand public affairs manager.

Koller has considerable experience in the public relations industry across a number of sectors including technology, broadcast, trade and enterprise. She  joins MYOB from IBM New Zealand, where she spent more than four years in key public affairs roles. Prior to this she was communications manager at Sky Television and worked at public relations agencies, Cathy Campbell Communications and Bullet PR.

“Elaine impressed us with her strategic mindset and track record in external relations, reputation management and government relations," says MYOB corporate affairs manager, Kristy Sheppard. "Over the course of her career, Elaine has developed an extensive network of media, government and industry contacts, particularly in the areas of business and technology. This will be put to good use in helping us promote the MYOB brand and the business advocacy work we do in New Zealand,” she says.

Koller says her new role offers a unique opportunity to play an active role in showcasing the value MYOB brings to SMEs in the local marketplace.

“I am looking forward to building upon MYOB’s positive reputation in New Zealand, where small to medium sized businesses are the engine room of the economy. With over 40 percent of local SMEs using MYOB products, the company plays a critical role in helping everyone from start-ups to established operations to successfully run their business. As the clear market leader, MYOB is also uniquely placed to provide insights into the issues businesses are facing and to advocate on their behalf."

Horse play

The International Association of Business Communicators has awarded ANZ New Zealand a 'Gold Quill' award for the brand communications strategy and plan used for the merging of the ANZ and National Bank brands late last year. It's one of the PR industry's most prestigious international awards and will be presented at a gala dinner in New York in June.

This follows on from ANZ New Zealand chief executive David Hisco last month being awarded the CEO Leadership Achievement Award for New Zealand by international banking magazine The Asian Banker for, among a number of things, the successful merger of the brands. These achievements also saw the magazine name ANZ as New Zealand's best-managed bank.

The ANZ marketing team also won five awards at the New Zealand Direct Marketing Awards and its finance team was named Finance Team of the Year at the New Zealand CFO Summit for their work on the brand and IT systems mergers.

Money talks

Speaking of financial awards, the  INFINZ Awards dinner was held in Auckland last week and Contact Energy won the market leaders best corporate communicators award and Abano Healthcare Group took home the emerging leaders best corporate communicator award, with the help of Spice PR. 

Managing partner of spice communications group, Jackie Ellis, has worked with Abano as their communications manager for the past ten years. 

“At Abano, corporate communications is a key priority and it is driven from the top down," she says. "The chairman and the board are strong believers in good shareholder communications, and we work closely with the senior management team in the preparation and delivery of all investor communications. This Award is proof that you don’t need to be a large company with thousands of shareholders and large budgets in order to have a professional communications programme.  

Chief operating officer at Abano, Richard Keys, accepted the award on behalf of the company. 

In his speech, he said: “We deliver on our promises and we never promise what we can’t deliver. We communicate clearly and honestly, and we don’t believe in spin. This approach has helped us build strong trust with our shareholders and the investment market … Jackie helps us aim for best practice and is a key driver in our communications programme."

Ming Ming win

Film Television and Media Studies graduate Beyond Wen has won the annual Images and Sound ‘Geoff Evans Memorial Prize for Excellence in Screen Production’ for his film The Education of Ming Ming, a comedy about an eight-year-old girl with an incredibly busy daily schedule that aims to help her achieve a “bright bright future”.

Film-maker Beyond was inspired by some friends whose own childhood experiences were very similar to that of the main character. 

“I had friends who would go to two or three after-school tutorials each day, then piano lessons and violin lessons and gymnastics and so on. I found it interesting because they felt so normal about these routines, and it was so different to my childhood where I just did whatever I wanted,” says Beyond.

The competition is open to University of Auckland Film, Television and Media Studies masters students in their final year and there were three finalist films

"We felt that The Education of Ming Ming stood out as unique, creative, entertaining, and had very well composed shots," says Grant Baker, managing partner of Images and Sound.​ “As a post-production company, we are naturally looking for technical excellence, but this award is an opportunity for us to look beyond detail and embrace the creativity of the piece."

Beyond wrote the script in 2008 knowing he wanted to direct the film himself. But it was not until 2011 at the beginning of his postgraduate studies that he felt the time was right to bring it to life. 

“The most difficult thing was getting the ball rolling. I initially faced a lot of challenges with respect to finances, getting the right actors, a producer, and locations, alongside a script that had a lot of set ups and scene changes. For a long time I was very doubtful whether I would complete the film. Taking time to put things in perspective enabled me to get on track, and once I started things just fell into place. This was my first film made with a professional crew, and at such a scale. It involved a two month pre-production period, five days for actual production and a month on postproduction. It was a fun and successful five day production period and six year old lead actress Cameron did an incredible job for her age and experience."

The winner receives the use of post-production facilities at Images and Sound to the value of $7,500.

Beyond has a master in Arts, majoring in Screen Production, and is currently on an English-teaching programme in Japan, teaching primary and intermediate school children. 

The Geoff Evans Memorial Prize was established five years ago in association with The University of Auckland’s Film, Television and Media Studies department, following the death of Geoff Evans, one of the founders of Images & Sound.

“Ming Ming is another stunning film to come out of our programme, and the award will allow Beyond to ‘polish’ the final film at Images, definitely our favourite post-production facility," says Professor Annie Goldson, currently director of the Graduate Screen Programme. "I imagine the film will now have a healthy international film festival life and will assist Beyond in developing new and similarly exciting projects."

Waldin in

Purple Sherbet, the P.R. consultancy for SME’s has welcomed Elsa Waldin to the team.  She is making the transition from in house, where she has previously worked for Honda NZ, 3M and Feltex carpets.  Waldin brings extensive knowledge with her and is a valuable addition to the team.  She will be working across an eclectic mix of clients including horticulture, professional services and beauty.

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