Today the Weekend Herald salutes the winners of the annual Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards, which honour one of the country's greatest leaders, the late Sir Peter Blake.

Emerging leaders winners

Derek Handley, entrepreneur

A desire to "build stuff" made Derek Handley create seven start-ups over as many years.

"I was six months out of uni, and I thought if I was going to take huge risks, I thought I may as well take them then."

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Ten years later, the risk has paid off. Hyperfactory, which Mr Handley co-founded with his brother and has since sold, is successful as a New Zealand story and as a business.

The company uses mobile phones as a marketing, communication and advertising medium. It's named as one of Entrepreneur magazine's Annual 100 Brilliant ideas for 2010 and clients include Intel, adidas and L'Oreal.

The New York-based 33-year-old said the secret is having a vision the team buys into.

Heather Te Au-Skipworth, Iron Maori founder

Watching her father overcome alcoholism gave Heather Te Au-Skipworth the power to believe people can change for the better.

From this conviction the Hawkes Bay resident, 38, became a lifestyle coach and set up Iron Maori, an indigenous half-ironman event.

"I did the Iron Man ... and when I did, I had this overwhelming sense of achievement. I wanted to give my clients that same sort of sense of achievement."

The event entries - 92 per cent Maori and Pacific Island people - have doubled to 1550 over its three years.

"I never set out to become a leader but I set out to help people make healthy lifestyle changes."

Rebecca Elvin, Legal academic

A person's right to justice is just as important as their physical needs, says Rebecca Elvin, honoured last night as one of six emerging leaders.

The story begins at Otago University. The Tauranga resident completed a degree in Law and Politics before exploring the practical legal route, working at various international and overseas courts.

Ms Elvin, 28, recently returned to academic life and is completing a Master's degree in Conflict Resolution at King's College, London.

Later this year, Ms Elvin is to complete a Doctorate of Philosophy at Oxford University. The end goal is to move into judicial consulting.

The reason is simple: "Justice for everyone is what motivates me."

Tawera Nikau, Aotearoa Construction CEO

Huntly is more than just Tawera Nikau's hometown. It's the place where his family and community keep him in check.

The 44-year-old spends half his year overseas as Aotearoa Construction chief executive.

He is also focused on "unleashing human potential" as owner and managing director of Team One Corporate Development, a training company.

The former New Zealand Maori rugby league team captain was recently inducted into the New Zealand Legends of League.

The amputee is also an ambassador for the Achilles Foundation, which gives people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in mainstream events.

Raelene Castle, Netball New Zealand CEO

Raelene Castle has finally got a legitimate excuse to talk about netball all day.

As Netball New Zealand's chief executive, the 44-year-old says she is working her "dream job".

"It's the combination of being able to bring your commercial experience into a sport that I have always had a passion for."

The Auckland resident transferred skills learned as head of marketing at Telecom, and senior positions at Fuji Xerox, Southern Cross Healthcare and BNZ, to turn the company into a strategically focused business.

Ms Castle is also a director of ANZ Championship, a National Sports Organisations' leadership group chairwoman and a trustee for the Rising Trust.

Andrew Coy, Magritek CEO

A technology explorer of sorts, Andrew Coy is turning a "physics phenomenon" into a successful business product.

The 43-year-old moved from England to Zambia, Swaziland and Palmerston North before settling in Wellington. After completing a PhD in magnetic resonance, "curiosity" pushed Dr Coy to start Magritek Ltd in 2004, bridging the division between science and business.

The high-tech company adapts the magnetic technology used in hospital MRI machines to instruments used in factories, businesses and learning labs across the globe.

"From day one we knew that everything we did was going to be exported. And you can do that from New Zealand."