Vector Energy Leadership Award

The Vector Energy Leadership Award recognises the achievements of a person who is demonstrating leadership and commitment to improving energy efficiency or using renewable energy, to the benefit of their organisation, community or sector.


Winner – Viv Heslop

She’s setting strong foundations in sustainability for Panuku’s $1 billion land and property portfolio, whilst pioneering energy efficiency in the 20-year regeneration of Auckland’s waterfront.

Photo of Viv Heslop.
Viv Heslop
The Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s waterfront is the most ambitious and highest-value urban regeneration project ever undertaken in New Zealand, and Dr Viv Heslop at Panuku Development Auckland is in charge of its energy efficiency and sustainability.

Environmental expectations are high in this multi-faceted, high-profile project and Viv has developed numerous vital partnerships and a detailed strategy, incorporating New Zealand-first technologies, which are set to turn the Wynyard Quarter into an all-round sustainability icon.

Having trained as an Accredited Professional with the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), when she took on the Wynyard Quarter, Viv became the first New Zealand practitioner to get a project rated under the ISCA for the Madden and Pakenham Street upgrade, which received an ‘excellent’ rating for the design phase.

She created the scope and championed the concept of a ‘smart precinct’, displaying real-time water and energy use for the Wynyard Quarter. This data can be monitored, captured and reported for all residential, commercial and public areas, which is a ground-breaking smart energy project for New Zealand and internationally.

Viv has achieved group buy-in to energy efficiency standards by signing up tenants that have agreed to meet the high environmental standards. As such the entire reputation of the precinct has been enhanced. Viv believes in long-term sustainable outcomes and sets clear energy-reduction targets for developers along with practical steps for their achievement using tools such as NABERSNZ for the $1billion property holdings overseen by Panuku. She is also a personal advocate of PV solar panels and a champion of public transport.

Judges said:

Viv has a great track record of achievements in sustainability and demonstrates energised and effective leadership. Her work is inspirational and she has a strategic approach that is set to change the energy efficiency landscape in Auckland.

Highly Comended – Michelle Dawson

Her legacy in energy efficiency dates back to 2001, and New Zealand’s adoption of LED lighting in public spaces is due, in large part, to Michelle.

Photo of Michelle Dawson
Michelle Dawson

When 123 people turned up to Michelle Dawson’s night tour of low-energy lighting and control systems along a stretch of walkway in Auckland in 2008,she set in motion the widespread uptake of LED and energy efficient lighting across public spaces in Auckland, and dramatically influenced a reduction in the city’s electricity bill.

The Energy Manager’s advocacy of LED technology is conveyed via multiple published articles and presentations. She has been actively involved in energy management forums and when she hosted the night tour, it was the first time that councils, retailers, line networks, maintenance, designers, product suppliers, electricity authorities and EECA had come together to talk about energy efficiency in street-lighting and emerging technologies.

Michelle’s influence as an energy expert at Waitakere City Council and Auckland Council is behind their transition to energy efficient outcomes for their properties, a process that Michelle guided them through, building by building. LEDs are now common in public spaces – from street lighting to sports fields, outdoor spaces and public libraries – and this adoption of energy efficient technology is directly linked to Michelle’s promotion and support.

Judges said:

Michelle has made a proven difference through her leadership and she is a very influential individual.

Commended – Brian Cox

An expert on renewable energy and long-standing champion of sustainability.

Photo of Brian Cox.
Brian Cox

As a figurehead in the bioenergy industry, Brian Cox’s expertise is often called upon to provide insight into matters of biogas, wood energy and liquid biofuels.

Brian is a regular media spokesperson, corporate and public speaker who has shown unflinching support for renewable energy adaptation and actively promotes bioenergy use within New Zealand. In his role as a founding member and Executive Officer for the Bioenergy Association, Brian has grown the Association’s membership to twice that of the Australian alternative and is now recruiting members from Australia.

The organisation maintains a clear, strong voice in advocating the benefits of bioenergy and a reminder that New Zealand already relies on bioenergy for 14% of its energy needs. The Association estimates that bioenergy could supply up to 25% of New Zealand’s energy needs by 2040, including 30% of transport fuel, and that it has the potential to generate around $6 billion in annual revenue for the country’s economy.

Brian has helped build confidence within industry in order to encourage conversion from coal to wood fuel. His focus has been on developing consistent supply chains of wood fuel and working with organisations to increase understanding of how bioenergy can be good for business as well as the environment.

The judges said: “An excellent influencer with a great deal of unique knowledge and experience to share. As a trusted voice within the renewable energy sector, Brian has achieved a lot for bioenergy up-take in New Zealand and of course the many businesses that have taken the Bioenergy Association’s advice”.

Judges said:

An excellent influencer with a great deal of unique knowledge and experience to share. As a trusted voice within the renewable energy sector, Brian has achieved a lot for bioenergy up-take in New Zealand and of course the many businesses that have taken the Bioenergy Association’s advice.

Commended – Phil Squire

A sustainability super-star who’s keeping it real.

Photo of Phil Squire.
Phil Squire

As a long-time practitioner of sustainability, Phil Squire has cycled to his job at Sustainability Trust since the organisation first started back in 2004. Since then this small non-profit has grown into Wellington’s leader in energy efficiency and healthy housing – all under Phil’s guidance.

In his role as CEO for Sustainability Trust and as Chair and founding member of the Community Energy Network, Phil is making a big impression on the energy efficiency of New Zealand’s capital city. His work has a direct impact on the attitudes of Kiwis towards sustainability and the energy efficiency programmes run by Sustainability Trust, such as their energy audits, home insulation work and the Wellington Curtain Bank, are improving the lives of low-income Wellingtonians on a daily basis.

Phil has taken Sustainability Trust from a team of two part-timers on a mission to improve Wellington’s sustainability, to an organisation with a $3.5 million annual turnover and the capacity to deliver a wide range of energy efficiency, environmental and social programmes. Phil is now scoping out commercial and community solar projects with partners including Wellington Zoo, Kilbirnie Mosque, Zealandia and Wellington Libraries. He has his sight set on making Wellington ‘the greenest little capital in the world’, one project at a time.

Judges said:

A hard-working person who is active across the community and leads by example. Phil has had impressive results working with commercial sectors.


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