A chef, former All Whites captain, HR professional, entrepreneurs, CEOs and a neuroscience researcher were among Kiwis celebrated at last night's Kea World Class New Zealand awards held at Auckland's SkyCity Convention Centre.

Supreme Award winner: Peter Gordon

London-based internationally recognised chef Peter Gordon, a veteran in New Zealand's hospitality industry who has founded restaurants here and overseas, took out the main Supreme Award at the black tie awards ceremony last night, for his outstanding and ongoing philanthropic efforts - including through the creation of annual culinary events held in New Zealand and Britain, in which proceeds are donated to various charities.

Gordon has raised more than $16 million in support of Leukaemia research in less than 20 years, much of this was raised through hosted dining events including 'Who's Cooking Dinner'.

Gordon, who is the head chef of Sky City restaurants The Sugar Club and Bellota and The Providores and Tapa Room in London, said it was "incredible" to receive the accolade.

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"When they first contacted me and said 'We'd like you to accept this award' I kind of thought they had got the wrong email to be honest because I've seen what other previous winners have done to get that," Gordon told the Herald.

"Kea Awards are something I've followed for years and I think they are amazing so to be in and amongst it and to get the Supreme Award is really incredible."

Gordon has supported and made significant contributions to charities the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (RAFT), Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and the New Zealand LAM Charitable Trust and Leuka.

He is the author of eight cookbooks and in 2009 was awarded an ONZM for his services to the food industry. Last year he designed and prepared a gala dinner for 900 people to celebrate former US president Barak Obama's inaugural visit in Auckland.

Kea Global chief executive Craig Donaldson said Gordon "embodied what it meant to be a world class New Zealander". "Not only is he an incredibly talented chef, but his ongoing commitment to his philanthropic endeavours shows an immense generosity of spirit," Donaldson said.

"Peter has pushed the boundaries of cuisine, creating spectacular dishes that showcase our country's finest produce and New Zealand's diverse culinary landscape."

Gordon credits his grandmother Molly for instilling a sense of charity and community in him, for teaching him how to bake.

Ric Kayne, winner of the Kea Friend of New Zealand award. Photo / Supplied
Ric Kayne, winner of the Kea Friend of New Zealand award. Photo / Supplied

Friend of NZ award: Ric Kayne

American business leader and private equity investor Ric Kayne was named the 2019 Kea Friend of New Zealand award winner for his contributions to New Zealand society, the economy and the tourism sector.

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Kayne established and developed Tara Iti golf course in Mangawhai, ranked as the sixth best outside of the US, which has been used by some of golfing's greatest players. It was through Tara Iti that Kayne forged strong links with local iwi Ngati Manuhiru and Te Uri o Hau and had created "significant education and employment opportunities" and driven tourism growth in the region, Kea Award judges said.

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Judges said Kayne had contributed considerably to the growth of Auckland, Northland and greater New Zealand.

"I'm blessed to be able to contribute. We're very proud of what's been developed at Tara Iti, and the Award is truly heartwarming as evidence that our efforts have been appreciated," Kayne said.

Tim Brown, founder of training shoe company All Birds. Photo / Michael Craig
Tim Brown, founder of training shoe company All Birds. Photo / Michael Craig

Kea Award: Tim Brown

Former All White captain turned business man Tim Brown co-founded woollen shoe company All Birds along with Joey Zwillinger in 2016. Fast forward four years the company has sold more than a million pairs of shoes and is one of the fastest growing shoe companies in world.

Brown has been credited as the creative vision behind Allbirds, which earlier this year put itself on a journey to become carbon-neutral. The company wants to revolutionise the global footwear industry, which churns out an estimated 25 billion pairs of shoes each year.

Brown was vice captain of New Zealand's national football team competing in the Fifa World Cup before retiring from sport in 2010.

Fady Mishriki, founder and former chief executive of PowerbyProxi. Photo / Supplied
Fady Mishriki, founder and former chief executive of PowerbyProxi. Photo / Supplied

Kea Award: Fady Mishriki

Entrepreneur Fady Mishriki, the founder and former chief executive of technology company PowerbyProxi which was acquired by Apple in 2017.

Mishriki immigrated to New Zealand in 1998 and during his final years of school he met Kunal Bhargava which they would later work on PowerbyProxi. While completing his studies at the University of Auckland he was infected by the entrepreneurial bug and founded PowerbyProxi which develops wireless power products in 2007.

Under Mishriki's leadership PowerbyProxi became the world's largest wireless power firm globally by revenue with over 500 patents to its name.

Today, Mishriki is managing director of Apple's Auckland technology centre.

Dr Elizabeth Irons. Photo / Supplied
Dr Elizabeth Irons. Photo / Supplied

Kea Award: Elizabeth Iorns

Dr Elizabeth Iorns is a globally recognised scientist and entrepreneur who is co-founder and president of Silicon Valley start-up Science Exchange, a marketplace for outsourced scientific research and development which connects scientists with a network of scientific research institutions around the world.

Elizabeth and co-founder Dan Knox launched the platform in 2011 with the goal of making the impact of scientific discovery available to organisations. The company has been credited for transforming the global scientific research industry through greater connectivity and transparency.

Kirsten Nevill-Manning. Photo / Supplied
Kirsten Nevill-Manning. Photo / Supplied

Kea Award: Kirsten Nevill-Manning

Manning is a globally-recognised human resources professional with a passion for recruiting and building successful teams and business leaders.

Nevill-Manning previously held the role of director of international human resources at tech giant Facebook, tasked with supporting the company's global expansion and recruitment of thousands of employees.

Nevill-Manning has also worked at Google leading the international expansion teams into New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and is vice president of people operations, IT and facilities at New York-based online educational marketplace Teachers Pay Teachers.

She is co-owner of New York-based cafe Happy Bones and board member of Acumen.org.

Christopher Shaw. Photo / Supplied
Christopher Shaw. Photo / Supplied

Kea Award: Christopher Shaw

Shaw is a professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at King's College London. His clinical training was conducted in New Zealand.

In 1995, Shaw attended King's College London and King's College Hospital where he trained in Neurogenetics, and his clinical and research interest became focused on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Under Christopher's stewardship, the King's College Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience has grown from 10 to 40 Principal Investigators, and hosts a major centre for the UK Dementia Research Institute. He led an initiative to build a new Neuroscience research facility by making the strategic case for colocation, leading the design brief and raising £70m required to build, equip and staff the 10,000 sqm Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute where he is a director.

Rachel Taulelei. Photo / Supplied
Rachel Taulelei. Photo / Supplied

Kea Award: Rachel Taulelei

Rachel Taulelei is chief executive of Kono NZ, a Maori-owned New Zealand food and beverage company employing more than 450 staff and which farms more than 1000ha of land and sea.

The Nelson-based company exports product to 25 countries through its brands Tohu, Kono and Aronui wines, Tutū cider, Kono mussels, Kiwa oysters, and Annies fruit bars.

Taulelei is founder of sustainable seafood company Yellow Brick Road, formerly NZ Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles and an advocate for New Zealand's primary industry spending more than 20 years promoting Aotearoa.

Taulelei received the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award and is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality. In 2018, Rachel was named Māori Woman Business Leader at the University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards, and sits on the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.

Her governance experience includes Moana NZ, Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, New Zealand Wine Growers, Aquaculture New Zealand, the Young Enterprise Trust, and Sir Peter Blake Trust.