Hays NAWIC Excellence Awards 2015

On 7 May 2015 we celebrated the inaugural Hays National Association of Women in Construction Excellence Awards.  Winners were hailed as “courageous leaders who are passionate about changing the construction sector” during the awards ceremony at the Rydges Latimer in Christchurch.

Helen Tippett Award

This category celebrates achievements in advancing and furthering the interests of women in the construct ion industry - those who actively promote the participation of women in the construction industry and encourage their progression.  It is open to any organisation, company, partnership, firm or individual operating in New Zealand.


SCIRT Women in Construction

A survey of 500 Christchurch women by the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs, suggested that woman were more open to the idea of working in construction than what had been previously thought. The infrastructure consortia, Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) saw an untapped labour pool, and created a sub-group called SCIRT Women in Construction (SWIC) to promote the construction industry to women. The initial intention was to recruit a greater number of women to fill SCIRT roles; however SWIC ended up to be so much more.

Highly Commended


A core group of women architects and educationalists who have put in place a network to support women architectural practitioners, who are “often invisible, and get swallowed up by [architectural] firms”. A+W NZ started with an exhibition in 2011, and has quickly grown into a flexible and fluid organisation that boasts 550 members.

A+W*NZ’s strength in putting on events culminated in a successful awards program being launched in 2014, with mentorship programs planned from mid 2015. Counterbalancing the event activity is a strong research capability. As one referee commented, “they have done a fantastic thing”.

Tradeswoman of the Year

This category celebrates the contributions made by tradeswomen working in the construction industry.  It is open to all tradeswomen (e.g. carpenter, electrician, plumber, painter, plasterer etc - if you work on a site this is you) working in the construction industry in New Zealand.


Mary Clare Bartlett, Tickled Pink

Mary embodies the spirit of NAWIC – Include, Respect and Inspire. She has made a conscious decision to uplift and inspire other people who have been marginalised or discriminated against to join the trades in a positive and inclusive manner. Mary is a strong voice for women in building and construction. Starting, and being hands on in running her own business, having introduced and trained over 20 people into the painting trade, her biggest contribution to the trade is how she employs with a social conscience. She has one the lowest turnover of staff in the paint industry. When the judges asked Mary how she integrates life and work she replied “life and work are fully integrated – I have paint on me 24/7!” 

Highly Commended

Shiree Couchman, Hush Interiors

Shiree started in the industry in the year 2000 as a casual labourer, she discovered she loved being on the tools and the rest is history. Having raised 4 children on her own, Shiree is also a self-confessed ‘workaholic’. What impressed the judges in Shiree’s story is the clearly evident sheer enjoyment in her work, her perseverance to overcome obstacles and very strong passion for lifelong learning. Shiree’s next career and learning path is learning how to do Quantity Surveying.

Professional Woman of the Year

This category celebrates women who have made a significant contribution to the construction industry in their chosen profession or field.


Deb Cranko, Cranko Architects

Deb is visible, well-known, respected, awarded, she has held positions of governance for 28 years. Deb places importance on helping people reach their dreams, and has worked in governance and voluntary roles with  school boards, professional bodies and community trusts.  Deb’s future goals include creating a way to communicate with the general public about seismic issues. 

Highly Commended 

Paula Lock, Opus (SCIRT secondment)

Paula is described as someone who gets people motivated on projects, someone with “an edge”. With her supportive leadership style, there are “few people who don’t want to work with Paula”. Paula has prospered at SCIRT, with fast elevation through the management structure. Paula thinks beyond the project in front of her, and the organisation for whom she works. Paula is well recognised externally and is “popping up all over the place in promoting the construction industry.”

Sally Ogle, Patchwork Architecture

Taking the courageous step to quit her “respectable job” in a Wellington architectural studio, Sally moved to Whanganui to physically build a small house, the Dogbox, that she had designed with two others. That experience now informs the way she work everyday in her architectural practice: “I believe a physical and practical understanding of building is fundamental to good architecture.” The future for Sally is about expanding her architecture practice, continuing to tutor and exploring how she can mentor women entering her profession.

Juliet Woodward, Jacobs SKM

With a proven track-record of 23 years, Juliet is highly regarded, an experienced and a successful deliverer. On the Waterview Tunnel Project, Juliet was described as very knowledgeable, impressive, she bridged the gap between planners and engineers. Juliet has an ongoing commitment to team, people, leadership and community engagement.

Excellence in Construction Administration

This category celebrates the contributions of women in administrative, sales / marketing or operational role within the construction industry.


Kristina Wyschnowsky, Corbel Construction

Kristina works for Corbel Construction as the Business Excellence Manager and as the only female member of the leadership team has worked to turn around the culture and performance of Corbel Construction. Kristina is on the Safety Group Steering Committee for the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter, and was described as being pivotal in keeping momentum going on the Steering Group committee. Kristina is a stand out employee with that incredible ability to remain calm.

Highly Commended

Diana Wheeler, BuildTech

Diana manages to do everything; she works for Buildtech, manages her own developments, has a life and all the time remains composed. Diana has been instrumental in developing an Opt Out Insurance Claim Scheme in settling insurance claims. This Scheme has gone onto become a blue print for many in the Canterbury construction sector processing claims. Diana is driven by her long love affair with residential and commercial property.

Outstanding Achievement in Design

This award is to recognise the achievements of an outstanding individual's contribution to a construction project in the areas of engineering, architecture, urban design landscape or other design discipline.  This category is open to all women who have worked in a design role and who have made a significant contribution to the construction industry designing a best practice outcome in their chosen field.


Lianne Cox, Studio Pacific Architecture

This award is a reflection of Lianne’s outstanding achievement in design on the National War Memorial project alongside a career built on similar successes and support from key stakeholders in New Zealand’s heritage. Lianne has shown her skill as a leader, communicator, designer, innovator and passionate heritage specialist in this project to refurbish and extend the life of a NZ icon. She has taken a holistic approach to her role in the project and delivered a result that all parties have been delighted with.



Sarah Neill, Beca

This award is a reflection of Sarah’s outstanding achievement in design and her remarkable progress from graduate to leader in a short space of time. Sarah’s referees describe her as a “superstar graduate”. Her work on the Wiri Correctional Facility project as lead structural engineer demonstrates her considerable talent both as an engineer and a member of a wider delivery team. Sarah shines in her ability to develop relationships. She demonstrates a maturity beyond her years in the way she understand her clients and the importance of delivery.

Student or Apprentice Excellence Award

This category celebrates female students and apprentices who have demonstrated a high level of potential and commitment within the construction industry.  This category is open to all women who at the time of entering are engaged in study related to the construction industry.


Gail Roysten, Beca

Gail was motivated to take her university research on the reality of the glass ceiling for women in the construction industry, taking time to have children, to a higher level of analysis, and share it across the construction industry. Gail demonstrates her commitment and passion to affecting change for others in the industry. One of Gail’s referees commented that Gail "doesn't see things as an obstacle, but as a hurdle to jump or climb over any way she can".

Highly Commended

Charlotte 'Charlie' Camp, PCB New Zealand Ltd

Charlie is not one to shrink away from challenges - technical, physical, mental or perceived. She understands and takes on commitment, to continue to prove her skill and tenacity and encourage others to do the same. People sense she's happy in her line of work and developing expertise. Charlie is optimistic and described as courageous in defining a role for herself as a carpentry apprentice.