Outstanding Public Relations Professionals Awarded PRINZ Fellow Status


The Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) has recognised excellence in the fields of public relations and communications, with the induction of three new Fellows.

The new Fellows are Andrew Pirie, Spark New Zealand, Strahan Wallis, Porter Novelli New Zealand, and Nikki Wright, Wright Communications.

PRINZ Fellows are nominated based on their significant contribution to the enhancement of the public relations profession.

Each new Fellow will be recognised for their contribution to public relations at an Awards Ceremony on May 25 in Christchurch where they will be inducted by PRINZ president, Katie Mathison and Chair of the PRINZ College of Fellows, Fiona Cassidy.

Images of each new Fellow and their nomination citation follows:

Andrew Pirie

Andrew Pirie is an outstanding New Zealand public relations practitioner who has reached the top of the industry at an international level as CEO of Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific. Andrew could easily have continued to operate at a global level but his love of New Zealand and his family saw him return to Auckland almost ten years ago where he has continued to make an impact on the local industry.

As the General Manager Corporate Relations for one of New Zealand’s largest companies, Spark, he has guided that company’s highly successful rebranding from Telecom. This has won him and his team numerous PRINZ and international awards.

Andrew regularly presents to industry and student groups and keenly uses his networks to drive positive outcomes for a variety of community and social initiatives.

Recently he was instrumental in the development of “Spark Jump”, a programme to provide highly-discounted broadband to assist children from low income families in their learning, and “Spark My Potential”, an initiative using Givealittle (which is owned by Spark Foundation) to financially support young New Zealanders chasing their dreams.

Andrew has provided counsel to a number of New Zealand senior executives and directors and is a Trustee of the Spark Foundation.

Strahan Wallis

Strahan Wallis is described by his nominators as one of the stand out practitioners of his generation. For Strahan, PR is a calling and something he truly loves to do. He is comfortable giving communication advice from Chairman/Managing Director level through to working with those on the production line. He has led and been involved with some of the most challenging communication issues in modern times. He sits at the decision-making table, participating in developing the ‘answers’ as well as ‘communicating’ them.

Mentoring and supporting colleagues and emerging practitioners has been a stand out feature of Strahan’s entire working life. He does it through his total commitment to ethical practice, a sense of responsibility to instil in others best practice and an openness to share what he himself has learnt. It’s fair to say that he is a great role model, and through example has shown a generation of practitioners the way it should be done.

Strahan is a true leader – combining the abilities of an outstanding communicator, the skills to run a complex business, motivator, commitment to his people and in short; a really nice human being.

Nikki Wright

Nikki Wright was always going to become a PR practitioner when she enrolled in AUT’s Bachelor of Communications Studies, and had plans of leading her own agency.

As a graduate, she secured a job at Porter Novelli. In 2003, she won the coveted Porter Novelli Chairman’s Award, resulting in a stint at the firm’s Sydney office. She moved to Publicis Drum in 2003 and was recognised at the PRINZ Awards with a Highly Commended Young Practitioner of the Year honour. She was later Highly Commended for her work on another special project, the Breast Cancer Research Trust T-shirt Campaign in partnership with Glassons. Nikki made the move to Senate Communications in 2005, and it was while she was there that her innovative approach to PR started to shine. Nikki formed Wright Communications at the tender age of 28.

Nikki has worked with some of New Zealand’s most successful companies and has provided communications support and strategic advice on IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and a range of other business activities. She has undertaken PR work for not for profit organisations and registered charities at a reduced rate or on a pro bono basis. She is intensely proud of her team and her decade long-serving relationship with Toyota New Zealand.

Nikki’s niche has always been CSR. An early adopter, Nikki did a course at Lincoln University run by Enviro-Mark on ‘carbon accounting’ so she could assist corporates with communications strategies about their carbon footprint. These days her focus also encompasses social issues and she is an active member of the Sustainable Business Council.

As a champion in this area, Nikki has undertaken the lead role in New Zealand for a flagship initiative known as the State of CSR – the largest longitudinal study into CSR practices in Australasia.