2021 Emergency Management Award Winners

Find out about the 2021 Emergency Management Award Winners.

The Ministerial Award For Outstanding Contributions to Emergency Management in New Zealand

This award was presented to Sarah Stuart-Black. Sarah is affectionately known, by many, as Norm.  Sarah has been involved in the response to, and recovery from, almost every emergency and event in New Zealand since 2003, including significant events such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, 2016 Kaikōura/Hurunui earthquake, 2017 Edgecumbe flooding, 2019 Christchurch Mosque Shooting, 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

She has served as Executive Director of the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and as Deputy Chief Executive in the new National Emergency Management Agency where she also held the statutory role of Director Civil Defence Emergency Management.

Sarah has also worked overseas, in England, Ethiopia, Niue and the Solomon Islands. She was a member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment & Coordination Team for nine years and has represented New Zealand at a variety of international forums, bilateral, regional and global meetings, exercises and forums.  All experience which will serve her well in her current role as Secretary General of New Zealand Red Cross.


Hugh was recognised for his outstanding leadership and governance, for over 22 years, within Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. Hugh has been, and continues to be, a champion for change and a champion for Emergency Management, within a complex political environment.

The Award for Innovation

This award recognises initiatives and strategies which support or create a culture of innovation in the sector, particularly the application of creativity across any aspect of the 4Rs of risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery. This can include the development of a new product, service, or practice not previously seen in emergency management or recognise where an existing approach has been used in a novel or unique way.

This award was won by Eagle Technology Group Ltd.

Eagle Technology have been instrumental in the development and execution of the Geospatial Response Intelligence Platform (GRIP) for Auckland Emergency Management. The GRIP tools provide real time situational awareness through a collection of web-based applications that allows users to view, create, add external data, receive information from the field and disseminate it within specifically designed summary dashboards. Eagle Technology, in collaboration with Auckland Council and Auckland Emergency Management, developed an integrated suite of tools which have significantly enhanced the existing capability of its staff to collect incoming intelligence for communication, reporting, and decision making during a training exercise or response. The collaborative approach taken by Eagle Technology has fostered communication and raised capability to deliver innovative and unique geospatial solutions.

The selection panel also gave special recognition to Eagle Technology’s Ed Cook. Ed has become something of a legend throughout New Zealand and overseas for his geospatial work. His online map for the Pigeon Valley Fire became the first multi-agency public information source and his dashboards tracking early COVID-19 cases were relied upon by CDEM groups hungry for information.

The Award for Manaakitanga

This award is for demonstrating respect and hospitality to others in a way that upholds their mana and enhances our own, across any aspect of the 4Rs. It recognises exceptional Manaakitanga in the emergency management environment

This award was won by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa.

The Whakaari White Island eruption was a tragedy that impacted many people. It was the manaakitanga displayed by Ngāti Awa that gave the grief, anger and despair people were feeling a voice, and enabled the victims, their whanau and first responders to face the horror of the event and find solace.

Ngāti Awa showed people how to draw strength from one another. They provided wise counsel and a safe place for people to come together, breathe out, reflect and process how they felt. The iwi-led karakia each day at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae was of great comfort to everyone involved and they felt spiritually supported and understood in a way that both surprised and comforted them. The role of Ngāti Awa in supporting the uplifting of the tūpāpaku was also of immense value.

This demonstration of manaakitanga was crucial to the delivery of the response and the ongoing recovery. Without it, first responders would have found it harder to perform their difficult roles, and it would have been immeasurably more difficult for victims and their whanau to get through the response and begin to transition to recovery.

The Award for Collaboration

This joint Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and NEMA award is for exemplary individual or organisational emergency management collaboration, across any aspect of the 4Rs. It recognises collaboration outside of normal existing relationships, working together through challenges and overcoming adversity.

This award was won by Winsborough Ltd.

The Emergency Management Assistance Team (EMAT) is a flagship programme for emergency management in New Zealand that provides multi-disciplinary support to incident management teams, with personnel able to operate in austere post-disaster environments.

Winsborough Ltd led the co-design of an intensive 13-day residential training course that was co-delivered with NEMA, NZDF and Fire and Emergency NZ personnel with the support of wider agencies and subject matter experts. Three courses have been delivered providing a cadre of 46 personnel from local and central government and emergency services.

This enables the EMAT to enhance any response where the local emergency response mechanism would benefit from surge support, greatly improving response efficiency and providing better recovery outcomes for local communities.

HIGHLY COMMENDED in this category were Wellington Lifelines Group and Deaf Aotearoa.

Wellington Lifelines Group was acknowledged for their Regional Resilience Project – a true collaboration of Central Government, Local Government and all of the Wellington Lifelines Group members with private enterprise to deliver what has been recognised as a world-leading approach to infrastructure resilience analysis.

Deaf Aotearoa was acknowledged for consistently and tirelessly supporting the wider emergency management sector, by providing advice and teaming up on initiatives that support accessible emergency information for Deaf people, before, during and after emergencies. Aotearoa New Zealand is now seen as a global leader in terms or ensuring access of emergency information for Deaf people. This is in no small part thanks to Deaf Aotearoa’s collaboration with emergency management partners to enable practical steps to raise the profile and use of New Zealand Sign Language in emergency communications.

Long Service Awards

Find out about the 2021 Long Service Awards