We
make
engagement
simple.

We are a youthful, experienced government relations and communications firm that matches organisations with all levels of New Zealand’s political ecosystem.

We are a non-partisan firm that works to:

simplify the engagement process
speed up the engagement process
hold meaningful connections for real engagement

If you are looking for a firm that is well connected in the front and back office, will advocate publicly and privately, and is accessible to all levels and types of businesses, let’s talk.

Take a look at our case studies

Who

Founder, Principal Consultant | Kaitūhono Ariki

Holly Suzanne Bennett

Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao

Holly is a zealous advocate of transparent, accessible government and has a keen interest in the effectiveness of New Zealand’s regulatory systems.

Graduating with a law degree from the University of Auckland, Holly was admitted to the bar in 2013 and spent four years working in the Beehive before founding Awhi at the end of 2017.

In 2022 she was named Young Business Person of the Year at the Newmarket Business Awards and took out the People and Capability category at the MWDI Māori Business Women Awards. She is a columnist for National Business Review and also founded New Zealand’s first government relations education and training organisation Engage.

Te Arawa (loud and) proud, Holly continues to look for ways to innovate government relations in Aotearoa, ensuring the expert industry is something everyone can access.

Junior Consultant | Kaitūhono Mātāmua

Jesse Thompson

Ngāruahine, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu

Born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, Jesse moved to Brisbane in 2011 to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Journalism at the University of Queensland. While studying, Jesse began his career in the Australian Parliament working across both communications and advisory roles. After graduating in 2015, Jesse decided to move home to Aotearoa to continue this mahi.

After seven years working across both the Australian and New Zealand Parliaments, Jesse turned his hand to strategic communications in the NGO sector. He has a keen interest in ensuring the promotion of effective, equitable and sustainable policy change at both local and national levels.

Consultant | Kaitūhono

Nayan Sharma

Nayan was born and raised on the west coast of Tāmaki Makaurau. He completed his Bachelors of Communications in 2021 with a focus on Marketing and Film and Television at the Auckland University of Technology.

Nayan worked as a Community Manager for a sustainable apparel brand, where he was responsible for managing marketing campaigns, event activations and liaising with local businesses and influencers. Through this role Nayan gained an interest in political affairs and wanted to play a bigger role in how the government was represented toward a younger generation.

Nayan is a people focused individual who uses his creative eye to support local communities and individuals through an artistic lens. With his creative mind and knack for public relations, he is well versed in establishing lasting and meaningful relationships and communities, of all scales.

Partner Consultant | Kaitūhono

Lauren Clements

Lauren brings over 20 years experience as a seasoned executive support specialist, and advisor across a range of diversified sectors and industries.

She is accomplished in expertly juggling a multitude of complex work assignments to meet competing demands and is a skilled communicator, and comfortable manoeuvring through complex situations effectively.

Widely trusted and experienced at working in a fast paced environment that requires high level of discretion, sensitivity and interpersonal interactions, Lauren is intellectually sharp, agile, and quiet influencer.

Partner Provider | Kaitautoko Pākihi

Hunaara Waerehu

Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe, Ngai Tai ki Tāmaki

A staunch Nāti, Hunaara brings his experience and expertise of Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori derived from his strict upbringing by his elders in rural and remote Tikitiki, located in the heart of Ngāti Porou country two hours north of Gisborne. He currently runs his own translation and consulting business, Paronga Limited, a valued partner provider to the Awhi whānau.

Hunaara currently serves as Co-Project Lead of the Te Weu Carbon Farming Research Project, a project aimed at researching the effects of carbon farming on the local communities in the East Coast. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand and is a Director of Hikurangi Enterprises Limited, a social enterprise focused on creating sustainable economic opportunities for whānau in Te Tairāwhiti. Hunaara has served on the Waiapu Restoration Project, a project funded by the Provincial Growth Fund to restore the Waiapu catchment. He is currently studying the Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance and Economics at Victoria University of Wellington.

Special Advisor

Mark Rehua Bennett

Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao

Mark is a 40 year veteran of New Zealand’s broadcasting industry, sharing his expertise as a specialist advisor to those who require support in public relations and communications.

When Mark joined New Zealand Broadcasting in the late 1960s, he was their youngest announcer at just 18 years of age. Career highlights include working as a news anchor with TVNZ, hosting long running entertainment shows such as I Like That One Two, and assisting in the establishment of Aotearoa Radio: a strong, commercially viable mouthpiece for Māoritanga.

A serial entrepreneur, Mark has built many businesses from scratch, including establishing the first-ever sales division for a Māori radio station in New Zealand through his company The Sales Machine.

Why

Kia tātai pūmanawa ki te ora

Awhi binds (tātai) different talents (pūmanawa) together for the wellbeing of everyone involved (ora). By acting as the central force that joins these people together, Awhi brings social and economic good to all who choose to engage.

What People Say

Media

Let’s Kōrero

Convinced we are the government relations firm for you?
If you would like to join us, kōrero mai.

Level 1, 1A York Street
Newmarket, Tāmaki Makaurau