Cecilia Robinson

New Zealand Innovator of the Year



New Zealand Innovator of the Year

Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau



These are the game changers in their field. Those who have used their insight and their passion to make an impact. They are the ones who, in the spirit of Kiwi inventiveness and resourcefulness, have created a better New Zealand.

To be eligible for this award, the nominee must have conceptualised and developed an innovation involving a product, service, technology, idea/theory or process across any industry sector including (but not limited to) health, science, technology, robotics, business, education, environmental, sustainability, agriculture, disadvantaged communities, and non-profits.

Nominators should consider talking about the following areas in their nomination:

  • INNOVATION: Describe the innovation of your nominee and the thoughtful, creative, and innovative approach it takes to resolve a challenge.
  • NEED: What problem does the innovation solve? And how is it unique to the market?
  • COMMITMENT: Describe the commitment of time, risks, and challenges overcome to develop the innovation to this point (this may still be ongoing).
  • PROVEN IMPACT: How has the innovation clearly demonstrated a positive impact on the targeted community (particularly over the last 12-months)? How has this been measured?
  • POTENTIAL: Describe the opportunity the innovation has to generate economic, social, and/or environmental benefits for a local industry sector, the nation, and or globally.
  • LONG-TERM IMPACT: How is the nominee planning to enhance, grow, and/or adapt the innovation in the future to best meet the changing needs of the targeted population? How would winning this award impact this person and the work that they are doing?

Conditions of Entry

Cecilia Robinson

Cecilia Robinson, widely regarded as a leading entrepreneur in Aotearoa New Zealand, is the visionary founder behind several successful start-ups. As the Founder & Co-CEO at Tend the purpose is “To Help New Zealanders be the healthiest people in the world” which motivates her and the team each day. As a legacy project, Cecilia states that she is dedicating the rest of her life to improving healthcare outcomes for our Tamariki. Stating that greatest imaginable goal for the Tend team is “To build a 100 year Kiwi owned healthcare company for our future generations”. Tend is a primary healthcare with innovative services and technology, providing convenient and accessible GP services both online and in clinics. Cecilia’s passion for empowering individuals to seek healthcare assistance and fostering strong doctor-patient relationships is evident in Tend’s commitment to delivering personalised and family-focused healthcare solutions. Tend is now one of the largest primary healthcare organisations in Aotearoa. As a serial innovator having founded both Au Pair Link and My Food Bag, Cecilia and the businesses have been recognised with numerous awards, including the Supreme Winner at the 2017 Women of Influence Awards and Next Magazine Businesswoman of the Year in 2014. Her impressive track record also includes EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013 and HER Businesswoman of the Year in 2012. Stepping down as CEO of My Food Bag in 2018, Cecilia re-joined the board a year ago (post the company’s listing in 2021) to provide institutional knowledge and bring entrepreneurial spirit back to the organisation. Cecilia is a founding trustee of the Prince’s Trust New Zealand and on the board of Pie Funds and supports a range of charities through the Robinson Duo focusing on youth, health and entrepreneurship. Balancing her roles as a devoted mother to three children, Cecilia is dedicated to supporting women in business and addressing the challenges faced by working parents.



Cecilia Robinson


Emily Blythe


Mark Sagar PhD FRSNZ


Ranjna Patel ONZM QSM JP


Bill Buckley − Buckley Systems Ltd


Ian Taylor − Animation Research Ltd


Team New Zealand Design Team


Professor Ed Gane


HYVAN Anaesthesia Ltd


Peter Beck



New Zealand Innovator of the Year

Jolie Hodson

Spark New Zealand CEO

“This Award celebrates the New Zealanders who disrupt the status quo, whose inventions and ambitions are building towards a better tomorrow. As Aotearoa’s largest digital services and telecommunications company innovation is at the heart of everything we do, so we’re proud to be supporting the kaupapa behind the 2023 Spark New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award.”