ITENZ Excellence Award winners for 2023 announced


“An exemplary role model for all who serve in the tertiary learning sector,” is how the adjudication panel described the recipient of the 2023 ITENZ Ako Aotearoa Supreme Award*, Sue Townshend

Sue Townshend

Sue, Academic Quality and Services Director at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, was also the recipient of the ITENZ Outstanding Performance Award, sponsored by Wisenet, in recognition of her ongoing commitment to reflective practice and the clear links from her extensive professional development choices to meeting learner, staff, organisational and community needs.

Jenny Jenkins (right) receives the Outstanding Performance Award on Sue Townshend’s behalf from Carol Leoncini (Wisenet).

The judging panel was impressed by Sue’s exceptional contribution to the outcomes of learners. She facilitates support for students to achieve their individual goals by organising academic skills workshops, providing online academic resources and scaffolding activities, incentivising the students in a range of ways, and following up on every students’ pathway to success. The adjudication panel agreed that they were looking at “a super outstanding member of Le Cordon Bleu’s staff. “

Sue is a very deserving winner of both awards.

The awards were accepted on her behalf by Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand’s General Manager, Jenny Jenkins.

Jenny Jenkins (right) receives the Supreme Award on Sue Townshend’s behalf from Ako Aotearoa’s Ruth Peterson and Sam Kelly.

*The ITENZ Supreme Award is always awarded to a recipient of one of the other ITENZ Awards


Mission Ready, “a provider at the edge of innovation, striving for learner-focused outcomes,” was the winner of the 2023 ITENZ Provider of the Year Award, sponsored by Public Trust.

Chris Moore (Public Trust) and Ruth Peterson (Ako Aotearoa) present the Provider of the Year Award to Diana Sharma and Alana Kan from Mission Ready

Mission Ready focus on real-world learning through project-based environments, ensuring students are work-ready but staircased through a supportive and safe process. This is evident in the high progression rates from level 4 to level 6 programmes and the achievement and employment outcomes.

They embrace technology’s ongoing evolution and constantly push the boundaries to meet student and industry needs. Gamification software is used to enhance student engagement and micro-credentials have been designed to be more targeted to industry needs, providing flexibility in a rapidly changing industry.  Regular work-based internships are made possible through established relationships with 150 industry partners.

Looking ahead, continued investments are being made to integrate learnings from AI technologies.

ITENZ is delighted to acknowledge Mission Ready through this award.


People Potential, were recipients of a Highly Commended Award in the Provider of the Year category. The panel commented, in particular, on their strong community focus and strong matauranga Māori pedagogy.

Chris Moore (Public Trust) presenting the Highly Commended Award to Rachel Shaw and Sarah Currie from People Potential