NIWA communications team wins Supreme PRINZ Award for Tongan volcanic eruption Special PR, HMC, FENZ, Auckland Airport and Mango also shine

NIWA’s use of communications to tell the scientific story of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcanic eruption in 2022 has won its communications team the Supreme Award at the PRINZ Awards 2023.

The Awards celebrated the best public relations and communications work of the previous year. The head judges said the NIWA campaign was well-researched, conceived and executed within a very short timeframe with little budget and while managing multiple agencies.

Called ‘Shotgun Blast from the Deep, the campaign also took out gold in the Best Use of Media Relations, at a gala dinner held on Friday evening (26 May).

A total of 14 golds and two special awards were awarded, from 48 finalists. Special PR took out PR Consultancy of the Year (large), while Waikato-based HMC was awarded top small PR Consultancy of the Year.

Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) won four golds for its ‘You’re Cooked- if you’re cooked, stay off the stove’ campaign, across Best use of Digital and Social Media, Experiential and Activation, Marketing Communications and Most innovative, while Mango Communications won two Golds for its campaign to recruit staff for McDonald’s, called ‘McCensus – understanding the crew to attract the new’ as well as a special award, the Isentia and PRINZ Prize for Excellence in Research, Measurement and Evaluation.

In-house PR team of the year went to Auckland Airport and the Sally Logan-Milne Young Practitioner of the Year award was won by Jessica Chaplin of NZ Police.

Head judges Denise Mackay , Director of Communications, Engagement and Events at Te Puni Kōkiri, and Andrew Pirie, communications consultant and Chair of the Spark Foundation, Denise Mackay said, the 2023 awards lived up to expectation.  “We were hugely impressed with our winning entries.

The sheer breadth of public relations and communications was strongly showcased across all categories, from NIWA’s media relations to FENZ’s hugely innovative campaign that combined experiential, digital, and marketing communication to create impact.

Of the Agency of the Year awards, they said Special PR’s entry was “outstanding. They have shown impressive growth in a short timeframe, and each of their case studies was a banger with X-factor.

They bring fresh energy and excitement to the industry, are delivering impactful work with lashings of enthusiam.”

The judges commented that the winner of the small consultancy of the year,  HMC, “stands tall in the regional market. On top of being an excellent PR consultancy is the massive contribution it makes to All Good Ventures. Their transportation into a social enterprise is a clearly unique position which also positions public relations in a positive, constructive light.”

Auckland Airport’s in house team won for its ability to ‘punch above its weight in a dynamic post Covid environment that saw it achieve success across the board and the trust of multiple internal and external stakeholders’, the judges said.

A total of 113 entries, an over 30% increase on 2022,  were received across 18 categories this year, and a team of 50 judges from across the profession selected the final 48. A full list of gold, silver and bronze winners is available here.

The awards are sponsored by Isentia, Robert Walters and Celebrity Speakers, while broadcaster Mike Puru was the MC on the night which was held at the Martime Room, Viaduct Harbour.

PRINZ (the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand) was established in 1954 as a largely volunteer-run organisation. Today it has approx 800 members, a head office in Auckland and a regional presence in Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch. It has run annual awards since 1974, including through two years of Covid.

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