The trail-blazing Dannevirke woman who was the Golden Shears' first and to date only female president, and the first and only president from outside Wairarapa, is to be inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

To be conferred in July, it's the latest accolade for Mavis Mullins, who started out in business running the longtime Paewai family shearing contracting firm, which she ultimately bought with husband and shearer Koro Mullins.

From the woolsheds of Southern Hawke's Bay, where she learned the craft that would also make her a successful sportswoman, as a double Golden Shears Open woolhandling champion, she ventured through the lecture halls of Massey University to graduate in Business Administration to enter the boardrooms of major companies and become a unique figure on the New Zealand corporate ladder, operating out of a town with no airport and a population of less than 6000.

The now 61-year-old has, in addition to Paewai Mullins Shearing and wool industry offshoot Wool Systems, taken governance roles in Landcorp, 2degrees Mobile, health boards, Massey University Council, Aohanga Incorporation, Atihau Whanganui Incorporation, Maori business development trust Poutama and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, to name a few.


The potential boardroom capability apparently barely showed as a student at Church College - where she reckons she was "too naughty" to be a prefect - and only started to flourish and grow some geographical legs in the late 1990s with an appointment to the board of Vehicle Testing NZ, at that stage a state-owned enterprise destined for sale.

She was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to the wool industry, but has since received such awards as Business Woman of the Year at the University of Auckland Business School Maori Business Leaders Awards in 2015 and rural honours at last year's Westpac Women of Influence Awards.

A biggie was the role in 2degrees Mobile, stemming from founding membership of Maori Spectrum Trust, later Te Huarahi, formed to enable Maori a right of purchase over the third-generation spectrum (3G) radio frequency being auctioned by the Crown in 2000.

She's amazed by the company she'll be joining on the Hall of Fame. "I'm very humbled."