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.

Senior Consultant | Kaitūhono Matua

Daniela Maoate-Cox

Daniela is a vehement proponent for breaking down barriers to information so people can make informed decisions. An experienced communicator, she worked as a journalist for eight years, four of those covering the inner workings of Parliament as the Host of RNZ’s The House – a look into legislation, issues and insights from Parliament.

Daniela holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and Graduate Diploma in Journalism from University of Canterbury and most recently led the communications team for Parliamentary Service and the Office of the Clerk, focused on internal and external comms, as well as increasing public engagement with parliament.

Of English and Cook Island descent Daniela grew up in Ōtautahi | Christchurch before moving to Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington in 2014. She has a keen interest in the Pacific diaspora and how the unique cultural makeup in Aotearoa New Zealand impacts people’s place in society.

Senior Consultant | Kaitūhono Matua

Jesse Thompson

Ngāruahine, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu

Jesse is an experienced political strategist, with over a decade of experience working on political campaigns. Born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, he moved to Brisbane in 2011 to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Journalism at the University of Queensland. 

On his return to Aotearoa, Jesse spent four years on the board and policy council of the New Zealand Labour Party. He has also delivered training workshops on transformative change-making and the creation of compelling campaign narratives in Europe and South-East Asia.

Having worked across the Australian and New Zealand parliaments in both communications and advisory roles, Jesse has an extensive and practical understanding of the inner workings of both central and local government.

Junior Consultant | Kaitūhono Mātāmua

Heloisa Hartuwig De Freitas

Heloisa is an experienced consultant with particular interest in working on projects at the interface between policy, legislation, and te Tiriti. Heloisa has worked with government entities and NGOs across New Zealand and the Pacific, advising on projects involving all stages of the policy cycle from problem definition and research through to consultation and implementation.

Born in Brazil, Heloisa has called Aotearoa home for over a decade. She holds a conjoint law and arts degree from the University of Auckland, and is enrolled as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Heloisa is motivated by the desire to support vulnerable and underrepresented communities and promote sustainable and equitable policy development in
New Zealand.

Consultant | Kaitūhono

Mikayla Thompson

Ngāpuhi

Mikayla is a driven professional with an extensive background in public policy and politics. Her expertise aligns with a fervent dedication to fostering positive change in Aotearoa. With a profound appreciation for te ao Māori, she weaves cultural insight into her approach to all mahi.

Completing her Master’s degree in Public Policy in early 2022, Mikayla also holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Economics and Management as well as a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and Criminology from the University of Auckland.

In her most recent role as a Junior Policy Advisor at the EMA, Mikayla played a pivotal role advocating for New Zealand businesses, and brings experience across central and local government as well as political experience working in the electorate office of the Green MP for Auckland Central.

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

Our Awards

Newmarket Business Awards 2022 - Winner: Young business person of the yearNewmarket Business Awards 2022 - Winner: Young business person of the yearMWDI Māori business women awards 2022 - Category winner: People & Capability

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