NZSA Awards

NZSA Award Recipients

2022 recipients

Distinguished Service Award – Alison O’Connell

Alison is a founding member of the Retirement Income Interest Group (RIIG). Since its establishment in 2014, Alison has been the driving force behind the RIIG’s content production. She has worked tirelessly in driving the RIIG’s thinking by drawing on her own work on longevity and post­ retirement topics. In addition, Alison has been a particularly energetic ambassador for the actuarial profession in New Zealand. Over the past seven years she has established and maintained strong links with the Retirement Commission, ensuring that the work and thinking of the RIIG was relevant to its policy agenda. Her advocacy has raised the standing of both the RIIG and the Society with the Retirement Commission substantially. Very few members of the Society have worked as hard as Alison has to promote the profession in New Zealand in recent years.

Distinguished Service Award – Doune Connett

Doune has been a lifelong contributor to, and role model for, the profession. From the many actuarial students and actuaries she has trained and mentored over the years, to her work on Council, the Life and ERM committees, and most recently the challenging role of leading the Professional Conduct Committee. Doune has also been a willing volunteer to the development of thought leadership in the profession, including working on various NZSA task forces, writing papers for NZSA conferences, and encouraging other members of her team to contribute papers or presentations to NZSA seminars and conferences. Doune has also been a significant contributor in the life insurance industry, with ANZIIF awarding her a Lifetime Achievement award last year. She was also named as one of Insurance Business NZ’s Elite Women earlier this year. 

Distinguished Service Award – Heathcliff Neels

Heathcliff has been a valuable contributor to NZSA for many years, including as a Conference organiser, a Council member over 2 terms in the mid to late 2000’s, a Paper author at conference, and a Member of the General Insurance Practice Committee. Heathcliff also drafted the investment standard (PS 50) that was created following the introduction of the Financial Advisers Act in 2008, and managed its subsequent removal in 2019. Heathcliff has also been involved in producing various NZSA submissions on topics such as the new solvency standards and on EQC changes. Heathcliff also has mentored numerous students encouraging them to enter the profession and then supporting their professional development. He has promoted the role actuaries are able to play to help manage enterprise risk across the general insurance industry.

Young Volunteer Award – Caroline Moy

Caroline convenes the Events Committee, and has given significant time to ensure that NZSA events are a success, including working in the background to make sure that everything works as expected. She has demonstrated her adaptability as Covid impacted NZSA events, seamlessly transitioning from in-person to virtual events. Without Caroline’s contribution, we would not have been able to stay as connected and influential as we did over the past year. Caroline is a valuable member of the Society and a true ambassador for the profession. She has made sure we have a great team who are able to organise great events.

Young Volunteer Award – Donovan Stevens

Donovan has served on a number of NZSA committees over the past few years, including currently convening the Communications Committee. Donovan is currently heading up the rebuilding of the NZSA website, establishing a great team, working alongside the Secretariat, and all the while thinking about the wider communications system for the NZSA and how the website, newsletters, social media and other communications can work together. His combination of innovation and organisation is driving the success of the project, and will lay the foundation for the future communications of the NZSA, internally and externally.

2020 recipients

Young Volunteer Achievement Award – Ethan Choi

Ethan burst onto the actuarial scene with an excellent conference presentation on “Beyond the Bitcoin” at the 2016 Conference. Since then he joined and is now chairing the Events Committee, a task he undertakes with both professionalism and enthusiasm. Ethan goes out of his way to ensure events are successful and has continued an excellent programme across the COVID-19 lockdown.

Gold Award – Ben Coulter

Ben has committed a huge amount of time and effort into both NZSA’s contribution to and response to IFRS17 but possibly more importantly building deep, constructive and trusted relationships with the accounting profession, the FSC and the RBNZ.

Ben is:

  • Convenor of the NZSA IFRS17 Working Group
  • The NZ representative on the Australian Actuaries Institute IFRS17 Task Force

In addition, he has taken a lead role in the FSC’s IFRS17 working group, part of which involves interacting with RBNZ and considering the implication for the solvency standards.

In all this Ben has shown great drive, and a passion to help both the actuarial profession and the insurance industry in meeting the challenge that the adoption of IFRS17 presents.

Distinguished Service Award – Brian Lenehan

Brian served for many years as the NZSA’s secretary.  He has subsequently served on the Professional Conduct Committee for many years in a vital behind the scenes role.  Brian is also a strong supporter of the Society’s sessional meetings and social events.

Distinguished Service Award – Ian New

Ian has been a consistent contributor to NZSA for many years, including as President, and returning to Council to fulfil a vacated Immediate Past President role. Ian has contributed tirelessly, including on the Professional Standards Committee, Life Committee, in the area of banking and on a number of working groups.

Whilst President, Ian instigated the External Relations Committee, driving a more outward focus for the Society.

Distinguished Service Award – Linda Page

Linda is a great role model and ambassador for the actuarial profession both in NZ and internationally.

Linda qualified in the 1990s and was a role model for students and other actuaries with her employer and also within the wider community. Linda reached out to students at Auckland University and promoted the actuarial profession.

Linda served many years as a NZSA Council member and becoming Vice President.

Linda has given many presentations representing the professional at conferences and events. She is well respected by stakeholders such as regulators, other actuaries and the many actuaries she has developed and given her expertise to.

In her professional career Linda has risen to become CFO at NZ largest life insurer but she has consistently promoted professional standards, the development of actuaries and good customer outcomes.

In 2019 Linda spoke to NZSA members about her career at the Career Pathways event and in her usual humble manner put others first.


2019 recipients

Young Volunteer Achievement Award – June Kuan

June presented a passionate, impactful conference session on climate change, and is a member of the General Insurance Practice Committee.

Gold Award – Christian Barrington

Christian is a long-time member and current convenor of the General Insurance Practice Committee. In this role he has led NZSA’s efforts around catastrophe risk, including leading a task force which has developed thoughtful and viable ways to upskill actuaries in this area.  Christian also presented an excellent framework at the Conference, which will be an excellent reference for members going forward.  Christian is also a well-respected representative of the NZSA with ICNZ.

Distinguished Service Award – Charlie Cahn

Charlie has been a keen supporter and work horse for the Society, as well as having held a number of prominent actuarial roles. Charlie’s contributions have included the Life Insurance Practice Committee, Council, and as a member of the task force which produced our current Disciplinary Scheme.

Distinguished Service Award – John Smith

John has been a keen and frequent volunteer for NZSA, including a long stint as Secretary, and the NZSA representative on the IAA’s Insurance Accounting Committee. He is currently convenor of the Professional Standards Committee.


2018 recipients

Joe Benbow – Honourable Mention

Joe receives this acknowledgement for his vision in setting up the Future Pathways event a number of years ago. Future Pathways has encouraged many young members to write and present a paper, and remains one of the best attended events on our calendar.

Ian Collins – Young Volunteer Achievement Award

Ian is an unsung hero on the Events Committee. Following venue closures as a result of the Kaikoura earthquake, Ian has coordinated nearly all events based in Wellington over the last year.

Jessie McCreary – Young Volunteer Achievement Award

Jessie has been our newsletter editor for the last two years. She is enthusiastic, even in the face of a lack of contribution from other committees. She’s open to new ideas and approaches and is always a pleasure to work with.

Herwig Raubal – Gold Award

Herwig has performed an incredible service to the profession through his leadership of actuarial work in the Public Sector, leading to the social investment approach and a new range of career opportunities for actuaries. Alongside this, he has found time to be Convenor of the NZSA Professional Standards Committee for the last ten years.

John Melville – Distinguished Service Award

John has seen a lifetime of service to the actuarial profession in New Zealand and to the broader industry, including as Government Actuary, key roles assisting Government, as Chair of Workplace Savings NZ and as co-founder of a major NZ actuarial consultancy.

Peter Davies – Distinguished Service Award

Peter is a past president who has made a contribution at events, through leadership and membership of a variety of committees and, most importantly, his longstanding facilitation of student exams in Auckland, including offering his own offices.


2017 recipients

Young Volunteer Achievement Award – Jenn Dobinson

Jenn has made an amazing contribution to the profession in her short career. In particular, she pulled together the strands of the Society’s new website to get it up and running with diligence and fine organisation, as well as being a fantastic and innovative Convenor of the Events Committee.

Gold Award – Christine Ormrod

Christine has been a tireless worker for the profession. She has led the Retirement Income Interest Group for several years, most recently overseeing the production of the Rules of Thumb for decumulation, which were recognised by the Minister, the FMA and MBIE as being exactly the kind of advice New Zealanders need. Christine has been a fine representative for the profession, and brought much interest from the general public and other stakeholders. Alongside this role, Christine has also worked this year on New Zealand’s response to International Standards of Actuarial Practice.

Distinguished Service Award – Linda Caradus

Linda is an unsung hero of the profession, working tirelessly on many matters of importance, including being Treasurer of the Society, writing submissions and professional standards. She has served on Council and Committees. Linda has also been a long time supporter of the woman actuaries in Wellington.

Distinguished Service Award – Murray Hilder

Murray was a faithful servant of the profession his entire career. He served on Council, as President and made a huge contribution in the important role of Convenor of the Professional Conduct Committee. He had an extremely successful business career in addition to his actuarial practice, but always stayed in touch with the profession and gave his time, knowledge and experience willingly.