Team Category

Harakeke Achievement Award

The Harakeke Achievement Award in Cybersecurity recognizes the critical role of technology and digital security in preserving and protecting indigenous knowledge, cultural heritage, and resources. It honors those who have worked tirelessly to ensure that indigenous communities have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats and challenges.

The word “Harakeke” is derived from the Māori language and refers to the New Zealand flax plant, which is a symbol of resilience, strength, and versatility in Māori culture. Like the Harakeke plant, recipients of this award embody these qualities by exhibiting a deep commitment to upholding and preserving indigenous knowledge, traditions, and practices.


Nominees for the Harakeke Achievement Award in Cybersecurity may include individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions towards advancing cybersecurity in indigenous communities. These nominees may have:

  •   Developed innovative approaches to protecting indigenous knowledge, data, and digital assets
  •   Worked to increase awareness of cybersecurity risks and best practices within indigenous communities
  •   Collaborated with indigenous communities to create culturally sensitive and appropriate cybersecurity policies and practices
  •   Advocated for the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in cybersecurity research and policy-making

Q1  How is your nominee acted as the voice of cybersecurity risks and best practices within indigenous communities?

Q2 Please detail their accomplishments to date that you believe demonstrate potentially unrealised and unique potential and/or that have made a difference to the indigenous community. 

Q3  What have been the most important outcomes of their actions?

Q4  What were the greatest challenges they had to overcome to achieve these outcomes?

Q5. How have they advocated for the inclusion of indigenous perspectives in cybersecurity policies and research – demonstrating excellence and innovation in the industry?

Q6-Have they created or developed any approaches to protecting indigenous knowledge, data, and digital assets? If so can you elaborate on what those are in more detail.

Team Category

Best Place to Work in Security

Inclusive Workplace Excellence in Security Award

This recognition celebrates workplaces that have exhibited exceptional dedication to fostering an environment that empowers and supports women and non-binary individuals, facilitating the realisation of their full potential. The victorious organisation will be distinguished by its unwavering commitment to eliminating gender bias in all its manifestations, striving to create an inclusive workplace where every employee is treated with equality, regardless of gender.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the involvement of women in security roles within this workplace. Include specific details, such as the number of women in key security positions.
  • Outline the specific programs and policies the organization has implemented to encourage women to achieve their full potential in the security sector.
  • Detail the measures the organization is taking to ensure recruitment and promotion practices and policies are free from gender bias.
  • Describe the organisation’s efforts to educate its workforce about gender bias and discrimination, as well as the strategies employed to eliminate these issues.
  • Highlight the policies and procedures the organization has in place to address gender-related issues, including discrimination, bias, and harassment.
  • Summarise why you believe this organisation stands out and deserves the Excellence in Security Workplace Award. Consider aspects such as inclusivity, equality, and the overall positive impact on the security industry.


Best Security Mentor

Mentorship Excellence in Security Award

This award acknowledges and celebrates the transformative influence of mentors on the professional journeys of women and non-binary individuals within the security field, as showcased in the narratives of Women in Security magazine. Recognising the pivotal role of mentoring, this accolade pays tribute to mentors whose guidance has proven invaluable in shaping the success stories of numerous professionals.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the formal role of the nominee within the security industry. Provide insights into their position and responsibilities.
  • Offer information about the scale, scope, and nature of the nominee’s mentoring activities. Outline the depth of their involvement and commitment to mentoring in the security sector.
  • Share details of women or non-binary individuals who have significantly benefited from being mentored by the nominee. Highlight specific success stories or positive outcomes resulting from their mentorship.
  • Discuss what aspects of the nominee’s mentoring style and approach set them apart and make them deserving of this award. Consider qualities that distinguish them as an exceptional security mentor.
  • For self-nominations or if known, explore the motivations that drive the nominee to be a mentor. What inspires them to contribute to the professional growth and development of others in the security industry?

Award categories

Best Program for Empowering Young Individuals in Cybersecurity

This recognition celebrates programs dedicated to supporting young women and non-binary individuals during the initial phases of their cybersecurity careers. These programs, whether through educational initiatives or experiential activities, strive to inform, inspire, and encourage participation in the security industry. Evaluation criteria include the program’s effectiveness in fostering passion for cybersecurity, assisting in overcoming challenges, and educating participants about the experiences of women in the security field.

Nominate a program by answering the questions below. Keep in mind that responses to these questions are the sole basis for judging entries. Self-nominations are permitted. If known, please provide the nominee’s pronouns.

Q1: Program Details

  • Describe the program you are nominating.
  • What are its primary goals and objectives?
  • How long has the program been operational?
  • How many women and non-binary individuals have participated in the program?

Q2: Addressing Challenges

  • In what ways does the program assist women in overcoming challenges?
  • Can you outline the specific mechanisms or strategies employed to achieve this?

Q3: Impact and Benefits

  • Provide examples of how women and non-binary individuals have benefited from the program.
  • Share specific instances or success stories that highlight the positive impact on participants’ lives.
  • Describe any notable outcomes or achievements resulting from the program’s initiatives.



Best Innovative Business “reshaping the future” of the Security Industry

This award recognises the New Zealand business that has demonstrated a significant and impactful commitment to advancing the field of cybersecurity. Whether an industry giant or a pioneering startup, the recipient is distinguished for their noteworthy contributions in addressing the evolving challenges posed by a diverse range of attackers. The award seeks to honor innovators who are actively shaping the future landscape of cybersecurity in Australia.

Nomination Questions:

  • Provide a brief overview of the nominee’s key cybersecurity initiatives. Highlight specific projects, technologies, or strategies implemented to enhance cybersecurity.
  • How has the nominee’s contributions positively impacted the cybersecurity industry in New Zealand? Discuss any measurable outcomes, industry recognition, or significant advancements resulting from their efforts.
  • Share examples of how the nominee has demonstrated innovation and adaptability in responding to emerging cybersecurity threats. Discuss any groundbreaking approaches, technologies, or methodologies employed.
  • Describe the nominee’s collaborative efforts within the cybersecurity community. Highlight partnerships, information sharing, or engagement with industry stakeholders that have strengthened the collective response to cyber threats.
  • Provide quantifiable metrics or qualitative evidence showcasing the effectiveness of the nominee’s cybersecurity initiatives. This could include reduced cyber incidents, enhanced resilience, or improved threat detection capabilities.
  • Outline the nominee’s vision and roadmap for the future of cybersecurity. Discuss planned initiatives, research, or strategies that demonstrate a commitment to ongoing excellence in addressing cybersecurity challenges.

Organisational Culture:

  • How does the nominee foster a cybersecurity-aware culture within the organisation? Describe any training programs, awareness campaigns, or policies aimed at promoting a proactive cybersecurity mindset among employees.
  • Detail how the nominee aligns with industry best practices and standards in cybersecurity. Highlight any certifications, compliance efforts, or adherence to recognised frameworks that showcase a commitment to excellence.
  • How does the nominee stay ahead of the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape? Discuss proactive measures, threat intelligence utilisation, or incident response capabilities that demonstrate agility in addressing emerging challenges.


Best Industry Initiative that Supports Diversity, Inclusion and Equality

Explore and nominate exceptional initiatives that champion diversity, inclusion, and equality, whether within organisational confines or through external community-focused campaigns. Whether it’s an internal program or an external effort, the awards celebrate initiatives based on their scale, quality, success, acceptance, and innovativeness.

To nominate, provide comprehensive responses to the following questions. Entries will be evaluated solely based on the information given. Encourage self-nominations and limit each answer to 300 words.

Initiative Overview (300 words max):

  • Concisely outline the initiative, emphasising its purpose, goals, and the impact it has made in advancing diversity, inclusion, and equality.
  • Detail the reach and scope of the initiative, specifying the number of individuals, teams, or communities positively affected by the program.
  • Discuss the initiative’s quality, focusing on meticulous planning, execution, and sustainability. Highlight any distinctive features or strategies that distinguish it.
  • Share measurable outcomes and success metrics associated with the initiative. This may include improvements in diversity metrics, employee satisfaction, community engagement, or other relevant success indicators.
  • Describe the level of acceptance and engagement the initiative has garnered from participants, stakeholders, and the broader community. Include any feedback or testimonials that underscore its positive reception.
  • Showcase the innovative aspects of the initiative. Explain how it pioneers new approaches, introduces creative solutions, or breaks new ground in addressing diversity, inclusion, and equality challenges.


Most Innovative Educator in Cybersecurity

Innovation in Cybersecurity Education Award

This award aims to highlight the most innovative educator in cybersecurity, acknowledging individuals or institutions that have shown significant innovation and success in the provision of security education. Cybersecurity education is diverse, ranging from formal courses to informal knowledge-sharing platforms, covering a spectrum of topics from specialised areas for experts to cybersecurity awareness for the broader workforce and the general public.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the innovative approaches adopted by the nominee, either as an individual or institution, in providing cybersecurity education. Highlight specific methods, technologies, or initiatives that showcase their innovation.
  • Share measurable success metrics or outcomes resulting from the nominee’s innovative cybersecurity education initiatives. Provide evidence of the positive impact on learners, organisations, or the community.
  • Outline the diversity of educational offerings provided by the nominee. Discuss how they cater to various audiences, from specialists seeking highly specialised topics to the general public interested in cyber safety awareness.
  • Detail any collaborations or partnerships the nominee has engaged in to enhance cybersecurity education. Highlight how these collaborations contribute to the innovation and success of their educational initiatives.
  • Discuss how the nominee’s cybersecurity education efforts have contributed to advancing industry knowledge and expertise. Provide examples of knowledge dissemination and the impact on cybersecurity professionals and the wider community.
  • Explain how the nominee addresses cybersecurity awareness and safety for individuals outside the industry. Describe any initiatives targeting workforce cybersecurity awareness and safety, as well as education for the general public.
  • Share the nominee’s vision for future educational innovations in cybersecurity. How do they plan to continue pushing boundaries and evolving their approach to cybersecurity education?

Award categories

Best Security Student

Every accomplished security leader embarks on their journey as a novice, whether freshly graduated and engaged in formal education, transitioning into the security realm from another profession, or returning to the workforce after a prolonged hiatus. This award is designed to acknowledge an outstanding student who is already making significant contributions, leaving a lasting impact on the industry, and displaying substantial potential for assuming a leadership role in the future.

Entrants are encouraged to respond thoughtfully to the following questions, as the evaluation process focuses exclusively on these responses. The nominee’s chances of recognition depend entirely on the quality of their answers. Self-nominations are accepted, and responses to each question should be confined to a concise 300 words.

Furthermore, our commitment to diversity is reflected in our recognition of women and non-binary individuals across various categories. To facilitate an inclusive nomination process, kindly provide the nominee’s pronouns if known, ensuring that every deserving individual receives due consideration.

  • Provide a synopsis of their current position and outline the path they took to attain this role.
  • Detail the obstacles they have successfully surmounted on their journey to their current professional standing.
  • Elaborate on specific accomplishments that serve as tangible evidence of their potential for future leadership within the industry.
  • Describe their engagement with the security sector beyond their primary responsibilities in their current role.
  • If self-nominating, outline their strategic plans that signify their potential for leadership within the industry.
  • Share their perspectives on what aspects of the security industry resonate with them the most and articulate why they are driven to continue making a meaningful impact.

Award categories

Unsung Hero

Unsung Hero in Security Excellence Award 

This accolade is dedicated to recognising the often-overlooked champions in the security realm – those unsung heroes who consistently exhibit excellence in various security roles and activities. These individuals transcend the conventional expectations of their positions, making substantial contributions to the cybersecurity industry or community. Whether it’s through mentoring, unwavering support for women’s professional and personal growth, advocacy for the security sector, or initiatives aimed at fortifying organisational cybersecurity, these unsung heroes leave a lasting, impactful difference.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the nominee’s formal role and shed light on their ‘heroic’ and ‘unsung’ contributions to the security industry. How do they surpass the boundaries of their formal responsibilities?
  • Share the tangible outcomes and benefits resulting from the nominee’s ‘heroic’ initiatives and activities. Discuss how these efforts have positively influenced the security industry or community.
  • Outline the challenges the nominee has faced or conquered in pursuing their exceptional activities. How have they navigated obstacles to create a meaningful difference?
  • For self-nominations or if known, delve into what the nominee finds most appealing about the security industry. Why do they persist in striving to make a positive difference?
  • Highlight the qualities that make the nominee truly stand out and deserving of the Unsung Hero in Security Excellence Award. Discuss the unique attributes that set them apart.
  • Explore the reasons behind the nominee’s inspiration to work tirelessly and contribute to the advancement of women, non-binary individuals, and/or the organisation/security industry. What fuels their dedication to creating a positive impact?

Award categories

Best Volunteer

Outstanding Contribution to Cybersecurity Awareness and Safety Award

This award acknowledges individuals who make exceptional, voluntary contributions to the cybersecurity and safety of Australian businesses, governments, and the public. These contributions may involve raising awareness about the risks and dangers of cyberattacks and data thefts, educating others, or actively engaging in cybersecurity defense or offense in the public, private, or government sectors.

Nomination Questions:

  • Describe the nominee’s outstanding contributions to the cybersecurity and safety of Australian businesses, governments, and the public. Highlight specific actions, initiatives, or projects that showcase their dedication.
  • Explain how the nominee is involved in educating public or private sector agencies, as well as the general public, on improving cybersecurity postures and reducing risks associated with inadequate technical security controls.
  • Provide examples of how the nominee has promoted best practices for cybersecurity, such as enhancing security assurance within cloud computing or improving the security readiness and response of public and private sector entities.
  • Detail the nominee’s efforts in raising public awareness about internet security. Discuss any campaigns, events, or initiatives they have undertaken to educate and inform the broader community.
  • Discuss how the nominee actively contributes to cybersecurity defense or offense in the public, private, or government sectors. Highlight specific achievements or actions that have made a positive impact.
  • Describe the nominee’s engagement with the community in the context of cybersecurity. Include any outreach programs, partnerships, or collaborative efforts that demonstrate their commitment to promoting cybersecurity awareness and safety.
  • Share the nominee’s plans for future initiatives in the cybersecurity space. How do they envision continuing their outstanding contributions to cybersecurity awareness and safety?