Inspirational Whāingaroa wāhine recognised as Women of Influence Award finalists

Two Raglan women, from a range of industries, are among more than 60 high-achieving New Zealanders named as Women of Influence Awards finalists recently.

From CEOs to students, from researchers to historians, from grassroots social enterprises to achieving international prominence, the prestigious awards recognise women making a difference in the work they do, paving the way for other women to thrive.  Many have overcome hardships, and some have saved the lives of others through their work. 
Jointly presented by Westpac NZ and Stuff, the awards are now in their ninth year. Nominees are judged on the strength, scope and impact of their actions across 10 categories including arts & culture, environment, innovation, science & research, public policy. 

The Whāingaroa finalists are:

Business Enterprise:

Latesha Randall, Co-founder of Raglan Food Co – Raglan

Aotearoa’s leading plant-based yoghurt was named a Deloitte Fast50 company. Latesha started making yoghurt in the kitchen, and now employs 30 staff. Stocked throughout the country, it is the only zero-carbon yoghurt in New Zealand. The plastic-free business pays the living wage and has given back extensively to the Raglan community.

Environment: 

Cheryl Reynolds, Endangered Species Foundation CEO – Raglan

  Business Enterprise.

Cheryl has held many roles around the Waikato, including CEO of Soda Inc., helping start-ups succeed, then CEO of Momentum Waikato – a philanthropic trust. Cheryl went on to be CEO of Xtreme Zero Waste Raglan through a significant growth phase, diverting 70 percent of Raglan’s waste from landfill.

Westpac NZ Acting CEO Simon Power is pleased to see many young faces among this year’s finalists, taking action on issues that will benefit all New Zealanders in the years to come. 

“From innovative ideas aimed at reducing waste and cleaning up the environment to new initiatives around supporting the wellbeing of our rangatahi, it’s great to see young Kiwi women taking the lead on issues that matter to all of us,” Power says.


“It’s also great to see such strong nominations in the Business Enterprise category. Kiwi SMEs have proven adaptable and resilient in tough conditions this year, and we’ll continue to work together with them to help drive Aotearoa’s economic recovery into 2022.”

Stuff CEO and Women of Influence judge Sinead Boucher praised the dedication and drive that the finalists show in their chosen fields.

“They are champions of a better world – their work has real impact, be it making an immediate difference or striving to exert social or policy change that creates long-term benefits.

“These awards attract inspiring women who are role models for all ages; they showcase our leaders of today and tomorrow.”

A Women of Influence Supreme Winner is chosen from among the 10 category winners. Previous Supreme Winners include microbiologist and science communicator Siouxsie Wiles (2020), neonatologist Dame Jane Harding (2019) and founder of domestic violence charity The Aunties, Jackie Clark (2018).

The finalists will be honoured at a Women of Influence Awards gala dinner in Auckland on February 10, 2022.

For more information about the awards, and to enquire about tickets to the Awards dinner, visit www.womenofinfluence.co.nz.