Wayfinder awards

Workplace wellbeing champions from across the motu are celebrated at the 2023 Wayfinder Awards

Wednesday , 22 November 2023 by Polly Inch

The winners of the inaugural Southern Cross Health Insurance Wayfinders Awards were announced this evening, in a ceremony at Auckland Museum.

Taking home gold across the six categories in recognition of achievements by individuals and organisations, were Kiwibank, Marlborough Lines, Thankyou Payroll, Spark, Nadene Winchester (Dynamic Controls), and Rob Holmes (Paperkite).

The Southern Cross Health Insurance Wayfinder Awards were created to encourage businesses to explore innovative ways to improve leadership and employee engagement through workplace wellbeing, and to champion those who have already made this central to their business strategy and part of their organisation’s culture.

Southern Cross’ 2022 Healthy Futures Business Edition research1 found 89 per cent of those surveyed agree that they, and the businesses they work for, would flourish if employers made workplace health and wellbeing a priority.

Three of the awards – Small Business, Medium Business and Large Business – celebrated companies which have woven workplace wellbeing into their core strategies, with a specific focus on the last 12 months.

Kiwibank took out the top spot for the Large Business Award, with Professor Grant Schofield noting, “Kiwibank’s framework and level of organisation, was at another level. They’ve thought about all the conceivable ways you can attack this issue and had a go at it.”

The Medium Business Award went to electricity distribution company, Marlborough Lines. Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson said, “Their wellbeing programme scored top in their engagement survey. They asked specific questions about feeling comfortable about asking for help, being themselves at work and whether employees feel they can balance their work and private life.”

Robinson was also impressed by Thankyou Payroll who won gold in the Small Business Award category, commenting, “Thankyou Payroll was absolutely a standout – having made wellbeing a core feature of their whole strategy.”

Sparks’ Mahi Tahi wellbeing initiative embodied the spirit of the New Horizon Award which looks to praise innovative wellbeing support programmes that have made an evident difference within a business. The judges were quick to applaud Spark’s in-house approach to wellbeing. Dr Denise Quinlan said, “The piece that's innovative is the bringing it in-house and making it sustainable by having 55 certified wellbeing coaches.”

The first of the individual awards of the evening was won by Dynamic Controls’ People and Capability Coordinator, Nadene Winchester. The Star Wayfarer Award recognises someone who has made a tangible difference and impact to wellbeing within the workplace. Nadene impressed the judges with her ability to identify and address the wellbeing needs of a global workforce. “The global programme, the strategic themes and their thinking was quite unique,” observed Carolyn Luey.

The True North Award acknowledges a people-leader who has made an outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of their team. Recipient Rob Holmes (PaperKite) garnered high praise from Nick Astwick. “The application was quite exceptional all-round. This was multifaceted and leadership at its best.”

Reflecting on this evening’s Southern Cross Health Insurance Wayfinder Awards, Astwick was delighted with how businesses2 had embraced the initiative, throughout Aotearoa.

“Our purpose at Southern Cross is to empower our members to live well for longer, with health and wellbeing at the foundation of our culture. Fundamentally, good health is good for business, and it’s encouraging to see how many New Zealand companies are in agreement with this and leading the way with wellbeing initiatives,” said Astwick.

He added, “We’d like to acknowledge the 69 entries we received from across New Zealand and whakamihi/congratulate our winners and runners up. All of you are creating pathways that will lead to a meaningful culture of wellbeing within, not only your organisation, but also Aotearoa.” When comparing the winning entries there were several key themes that emerged for Nick and the judging panel. The first was a clear demonstration of how organisations understand their culture and the positive impact on that of health and wellbeing initiatives. They clearly showed how wellbeing can enhance connectivity and engagement within a business and how this leads to success.

They also showed us that great leadership is central to transformation in an organisation. The people who lead need to support the people who strive for positive change every day, and that empowering their people to develop meaningful connection to the work they do, is 100% critical to wellbeing – for them and the organisation. The strong line-up of health industry and business leaders who joined Nick Astwick, Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive, on the Wayfinder Awards judging panel, included:

  • Carolyn Luey – Chief Digital and Publishing Officer, NZME
  • Dr Denise Quinlan, MAPP, PhD – Director of the NZ Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience
  • Professor Grant Schofield, PhD – Professor of Public Health, Director, Human Potential Centre, Auckland University of Technology, and Chief Science Officer, PreKure
  • Shaun Robinson – Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand
  • Victoria Young – Investigations Editor, BusinessDesk, NZME.

Case studies on the winners and their workplace wellbeing programmes will be shared by Southern Cross Health Insurance in early 2024 and accessible to all New Zealand businesses.

The Wayfinder Awards are an extension of Southern Cross’ annual business and wellbeing thought leadership event, Gather.

Gather 2023 was held yesterday, ahead of the Wayfinder Awards, and featured a number of leading industry speakers including Kristina Cavit (The Kindness Institute), David Letele (Buttabean Motivation), and Dr Denise Quinlan (Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience). With a focus on work, life, and living well, Gather’s expert guests offered their answer to the question “What can we do to live well for longer?”

Over 200 representatives from our corporate clients attended Gather 2023, with a further 110 unique views via our livestream.

The 2023 Southern Cross Health Insurance Wayfinder Awards winners are:

Star Wayfarer Award

Gold - Nadene Winchester (Dynamic Controls)

Silver – Matthew Walker (Te Rūnanga O Ngāi Tahu)

Bronze – Jen Southan (Orix)

True North Award

Gold – Rob Holmes (PaperKite)

Silver – Richard Schorfield (Spectrum Consulting)

Bronze – Joseph Zermatten (CS Roofing Canterbury)

Small Business Award

Gold – Thankyou Payroll

Silver – Maynard Marks

Bronze – Find Recruitment

Medium Business Award

Gold – Marlborough Lines

Silver – Christchurch Casino

Bronze – DHL Express Large

Business Award

Gold – Kiwibank

Silver – RealNZ

Bronze – Spark

New Horizon Award

Gold – Spark

Silver – Find Recruitment

Bronze – Profile Group

For more information on the 2023 Southern Cross Health Insurance Wayfinder Awards go to:

For more information on the judges go to:

For a copy of the Healthy Futures Report go to: