Women in defence, law enforcement, government, and private security recognised in national awards

New Zealand Security Magazine - Update

WiSAA 2023-24
Awards recognise Aotearoa's leading Women in Security.

The category winners of the 2023-24 Women in Security Awards Aotearoa have been announced, with outstanding female leaders recognised from across New Zealand’s broader security sector.

In its fourth year, Women in Security Awards Aotearoa (WiSAA) has once again proven a challenge for its judging panel, with winners across eight categories selected from a high quality field of nominees from across New Zealand’s security and resilience sector.

Among the winners are members/employees of the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Customs Service, non-profit online safety charity Netsafe, and private security provider FIRST Security.

Organised by the New Zealand Security Sector Network (NZSSN) and supported by Defsec New Zealand – publisher of New Zealand Security Magazine and Line of Defence Magazine, and the international Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA), the WiSAA initiative was established in 2020 to recognise women who have advanced the New Zealand security and resilience sectors.

Nominees must be women, or identify as women, have more than three years of experience in a security or resilience-related profession, and be actively practising in Aotearoa New Zealand or working overseas in a New Zealand-focused role.

This year’s WiSAAs winners are spread across eight new categories:

  1. Contributing to defence and international security
  2. Protecting borders, trade, and biosecurity
  3. Countering incivility and violent extremism
  4. Safeguarding networks and people online
  5. Securing organisations and infrastructure
  6. Combatting fraud and misrepresentation
  7. Responding to natural disaster events
  8. Building resilient communities

Above: WiSAA 2023-24 Winner, Runner-up, and Supporter badges.

WiSAA organisers were this year honoured to be joined by an expert judging panel reflecting the skills, experience, and diversity of the sector:

  • International risk management, organisational resilience, and extreme events academic and practitioner Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor;
  • Former New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) CEO, IFSEC Global Influencer in Security, and 2021 WiSAA alumna Jennie Vickers;
  • ASIS International Regional Vice-President, respected physical security educator and 2020 WiSAA alumna Ngaire Kelaher CPP PSP; and
  • Former ASIS International New Zealand Chapter Chair and former NZSA New Zealand Security Consultant of the Year, Andrew Thorburn.

And the winners are…

Contributing to defence and international security

Lieutenant Colonel Laura Cranston, New Zealand Defence Force

Protecting borders, trade, and biosecurity

Janna Binning, New Zealand Customs

Countering incivility and violent extremism

Detective Beth Bates, New Zealand Police

Safeguarding networks and people online

Tegan Wedderburn, Netsafe

Securing organisations and infrastructure

Gina Lindsay-Crawford, FIRST Security

Combatting fraud and misrepresentation

Catherine Abel-Pattinson, Netsafe

Responding to natural disaster events

Colonel Mel Childs, New Zealand Defence Force

Building resilient communities

Inspector Juanita (Whiti) Timutimu, New Zealand Police

In addition to the category winners, the WiSAA organisers also recognised several Highly Commended Runners-Up, including:

  • Karoline Jacobs, Aviation Security Service
  • Tamara Gould, New Zealand Customs Service
  • Lance Corporal S, New Zealand Defence Force
  • Kallia McFarland, Serpenti Investigations
  • Pilot Officer Mikaela Heald, New Zealand Defence Force
  • Danielle Kaiwai, KiwiRail

According to the organisers, this year’s WiSAA category winners and runners-up will each receive award certificates bearing their awardee citations, and the right to use the coveted awardee badges. In accordance with the WiSAA’s principles of independence, including non-sponsorship and non-profit, there is no gala awards event associated with the awards program.

Award recipients’ stories will be shared publicly by the NZSSN and featured in a series of articles published by Defsec New Zealand in coming weeks.

Click here for more information on Women in Security Awards Aotearoa.