For many in the core ICT channel, the annual list of Hi-Tech Award winners requires a bit of Googling, replete as it is with strangely named and "disemvowelled" start-ups and early stage ventures.
News that Wayne Norrie had received the elite Tait Communications Flying Kiwi Award, however, would be widely celebrated.
Now a professional director, mostly as chair, Norrie is best known as a co-founder of data centre services pioneer Revera, which was bought by Spark in 2013 for $96.5 million.
The company was created in 2002 through a management buy-out, led by Norrie and Roger Cockayne, which took a 51 per cent share in Japan's Hitachi Data Systems local operation.
HDS's remaining stake was sold in 2005.
Just two years later, Revera was investing $10 million in two new high-density data centres, using blade servers to pursue the goal of what was then called "utility computing", a forerunner of today's clouds.
In 2008, Revera inked a deal to buy Livestock Improvements' Newstead data centre, which included around 120 servers, other hardware and network equipment.
The deal spearhead the company's Waikato business, adding a fourth data centre to its other New Zealand facilities, in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
In 2010, Revera along with Datacom were selected to deliver all of government infrastructure as a service, later to be joined on the panel by IBM.
When it was bought by Spark, Revera became part of the telco's ICT services business, which at that time consisted mainly of Gen-i, which the then Telecom New Zealand bought in 2004 for $62.5 million.
Revera has since been merged with now Spark-owned CCL.
Norrie also spent more than six years as a director and later chairman of ICT services provider Fronde and is a current director of NZ Trade and Enterprise, design and manufacturing business Resero and Sportsground, a cloud-based service for sports and club administrators.
"Wayne is such a deserving recipient of this recognition," said Hi-Tech Trust chair David Downs.
"He has contributed so much to the New Zealand tech sector over the years and indeed the success of the Hi-Tech Awards. He is without doubt one of the great ambassadors and advocates for our industry.”
The winner of the IBM most inspiring individual award was Xero's New Zealand country manager Craig Hudson.
Hudson was a professional rugby player before becoming an commercial manager for Bay of Plenty-based McFall Fuel.
He joined Xero in 2014 as territory accounts manager for new markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia before becoming country manager and then managing director from 2017.
"The judges were impressed by Craig's humility and authenticity," their report said.
"He has uniquely used his position of influence for good, and made efforts to share his amazing career history for the benefit of others.
"True authenticity requires the vulnerability to tell the truth about oneself, a skill many leaders do not exhibit.
"His focus on employees first and making sure their mental health is looked after puts him in a very select group of leaders."
Respiratory technology developer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which has been at the centre of global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, claimed the PwC Hi-Tech company of the year category at the awards gala dinner on Friday.
"When Covid hit, their 5000 employees rose to the occasion and rapidly re-engineered their business to deliver vital products the world desperately needed -- addressing, for example, the global shortage of ventilators," the judges said.
The full list of 2021 NZ Hi-Tech Award winners:
Xero Hi-Tech young achiever
Winner: Maria English
Visa best Hi-Tech solution for the public good
Winner: Student Volunteer Army & Custom D
IBM most inspiring individual
Winner: Craig Hudson
Auckland Unlimited most innovative Hi-Tech creative technology solution
Highly Commended: Alimetry
Callaghan Innovation Hi-tech Maori company of the year
Winner: MB Century
Duncan Cotterill most innovative Hi-Tech software solution
Endace most innovative Hi-Tech hardware product
Kiwibank most innovative Hi-Tech service
NZTE most innovative Hi-Tech agritech solution
Halo Consulting best contribution to the NZ tech sector
Punakaiki Fund Hi-Tech start-up company of the year
Pacific Edge Hi-Tech emerging company of the year
Winner: Whip Around
Highly Commended: Lawvu
Soul Machines most innovative deep tech solution
Winner: Nanolayr (previously known as Revolution Fibres)
PwC NZ Hi-Tech company of the year award
Winner: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
Tait Communications flying kiwi award
Recipient: Wayne Norrie