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Savvy advocate named NZ Communicator of the Year

Former Police Association President and Labour Party election candidate Greg O’Connor has been named winner of the Communicator of the Year Award.

The winner is selected by BlacklandPR and students at Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing, from New Zealanders who have illustrated communication skills at the national level over the previous year.

BlacklandPR director Mark Blackham said Greg O’Connor was selected because of his ability to get to the nub of an issue and express a position persuasively. Over 2016 Greg spoke on topics such as the number of police and resourcing for burglaries, police shootings and pursuits, and unlicensed guns.

“Greg expresses issues that matter to police, in ways that matter to the public and politicians.

“He describes these issues matter-of-factly, and advances solutions in everyday language.

“There’s a huge skill behind Greg’s apparent plainness of speaking. Moreover, he is bold enough to be clear and unequivocal. That’s why his communication is heard and heeded.”

Greg O’Connor said his approach was to stand back from an issue and assess what mattered to ordinary people.

“You have to figure how your issue is relevant to other people, then express it in ways they relate to. People deserve the respect of an unambiguous position, backed with solid evidence.”

BlacklandPR established the Communicator of the Year award to promote clarity of communication in public life. This year Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing joined as a partner, assisting with collation and selection of winners.

The category winners were:

  1. Business communicator: Simon Moutter

  2. Political communicator: Bill English

  3. Local Government communicator: Chloe Swarbrick

  4. Science communicator: Michelle Dickinson

  5. Sports communicator: Liam Malone

  6. Public Services communicator: Greg O’Connor

  7. Commentator: Jordan Watson (How to Dad)

  8. Communicator of the Moment: Duane Major & Adam Gard’ner

  9. BlacklandPR Communicator of the Year: Greg O’Connor

BlacklandPR said the “stand-out campaign of the year” was run by Christchurch men Duane Major and Adam Gard’ner to save an Abel Tasman beach.

Mr Blackham said their approach demonstrated the value of passion, and a selfless and relevant request of people.

“The guys asked New Zealanders to place a beach in public hands, and gave them a way to do it. The public filled in the rest. That’s perfect communication,” Mr Blackham said.

Massey University Associate Professor Elizabeth Gray said that students and staff who contributed to the selection process were impressed by the efforts of all the candidates to connect with their audiences.

“Communicating effectively is all about combining sound knowledge with authentic caring. Greg O’Connor epitomises a communicator who cares about his message and about the people he’s talking to,” said Dr Gray.

The Communicator of the Year receives a bespoke Māori kōauau, designed and crafted by Wellington based Māori craftsman and designer Sam Hauwaho. The kōauau is a traditional Māori flute, reflecting the art and history of human communication.

Winner of the inaugural BlacklandPR Communicator of the Year in 2016 was Shamubeel Eaqub.


For more information:

Mark Blackham Director BlacklandPR 021 891 042

Greg O’Connor 027 268 9400

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