Communicator of the Year

The Communicator of the Year award recognises individuals who each year best demonstrate what effective communication looks and sounds like.

2020 Winner Nicole McKee

Congratulations to Nicole McKee who was named the BlacklandPR Communicator of the Year for 2020 for the way she presented her members' case on the contentious issue of firearms law.

"Nicole's passionate yet cordial presentation of arguments against a firearms ban and new Arms Act was critical to being heard in the febrile political environment created by the Mosque shootings in March 2019" - Director Mark Blackham

Previous winners


2019 Communicator of the Year

Sir Peter Gluckman

2018 Communicator of the Year 

Mike King


2016 Communicator of the Year

Shamubeel Eaqub

2017 Communicator of the Year

Greg O'Connor



Selection process

The award recognises the achievements of a communicator in the 12 months prior to the awards announcement.

The winner is selected by the team at BlacklandPR from New Zealanders who have illustrated communication skills at the national level over the previous year.


Nominees are ranked out of 10 points for the following communication traits;

  1. Presence (mana, prestige, visibility, regularity)
  2. Turn of phrase (ability to capture attention and encapsulate an idea)
  3. Information and explanation (selection of information, and ability to educate succinctly)  
  4. Passion (persuasiveness of their commitment)
  5. Empathy (extent to which they relate to and reflect the interests, needs and ability of their audience)


The kōauau

Presented with the title of Communicator of the Year is a bespoke Māori kōauau trophy designed and carved by Wellington based Māori craftsman and designer Sam Hauwaho.


The kōauau is a traditional Māori flute instrument. Historically it has been used to welcome people into life and assist the spirit as it leaves, to attract birds, to heal bones and to help memorise knowledge.


Throughout history, cultures worldwide have used instruments to communicate. From drums to conch shells, instruments have been used send messages of importance, emit emotion and create a presence.


The kōauau honours this history and the spirit and purpose of communication.