With hundreds of business awards celebrating every chief-titled leader from most of New Zealand's major companies, it was refreshing last week to celebrate a less well-known sector at the Procurement Awards. Despite the less than exciting name the inaugural event was a success, with MC Suzy Clarkson noting about 100 people had been invited, 120 had RSVP'd and almost 200 had turned up. Consultancy firm EY's Auckland office was packed with guests from across the industry as well as former Xero general manager and mayoral candidate Victoria Crone and minister Steven Joyce. The minister took a minute to tweet a selfie with the crowd, tagline "procurement is the new black" before presenting one of the awards. The Young Procurement Professional of the Year went to Emma Hillman and was presented by Auckland University vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon, who said he was very proud of her even though the last time he had seen Hillman she had been protesting his lifting student fees. After the presentation of the awards (including the Supreme Award, won by the Collaborative Procurement Banking Team at NZ Government Procurement) most guests kicked on into the evening - the sign of a good event., and hopefully the first of many for the industry.
Comedian Jeremy Corbett was MC at EECA's big night when clever firms and people were rewarded for their efforts in energy saving. The subject gave Corbet the chance to have fun - mainly around how much energy was saved in the initially muted applause for him. EECA's popular boss, Mike Underhill, an engineer who does a nice line in humour himself, quipped that if there was a turbine in front of Corbett's mouth a kilowatt of electricity would probably be generated. The community-based Project Litefoot Trust - which has helped sports clubs save $3.9 million in energy bills - took the top award. More than 360 people attended the event at Shed 10 on the Auckland waterfront, a record turnout.
Play it again
The piano-playing Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, delighted guests by tickling the ivories at a function hosted by the city at Ostro on the waterfront last week. Garcetti was in town for the Tripartite Economic Summit, and used the opportunity to promote LA, which will be much easier to get to when American Airlines starts daily services from Auckland next month. The city, which is developing as a tech hotspot, is spending billions redeveloping its Downtown area and LAX airport. Garcetti talked up the unofficial LA ambassador of the night, actress Antonia Prebble, who's now living in the city and making her mark there. Prebble, best known as Loretta West in Outrageous Fortune, deftly plugged NZ while expertly promoting LA's many charms, including its endless range of health food and a weather forecast you can rely on.
Technology businesses celebrated at the Viaduct Events Centre on Friday for the Hi-Tech Awards. A record 900-strong crowd was entertained by gymnastics and aerial acrobatics from group Dust Palace before MC Hilary Barry took the stage. She opened the event with "I'm Hilary Barry, formerly of TV3" - which drew applause and cheers from the crowd. The ever-upbeat Barry also seemed bemused by the media coverage drawn from what she called an average women's resignation, although she quipped that she was open to job offers. The rest of the evening was spent celebrating some of NZ's top tech companies as well as providing time for friends and colleagues to catch up and mingle, as well as network with the many successful sector leaders. Listed film software and analytics firm Vista Group International won the PwC Hi-Tech company of the year.
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