Staff Excellence Awards

To be read in conjunction with
Approval Date
15 February 2024
Approved By
OP Executive Leadership Team
Next Review
29 October 2024
People, Culture and Wellbeing

To recognise exemplary performance by kaimahi, either individually or as a team, who consistently excel in their positions and demonstrate a strong commitment to the mission and values of Te Pūkenga | Otago Polytechnic (Otago Polytechnic).


To encourage our kaimahi to be the best that they can be for our learners, communities, and colleagues.



Awards will be made in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Teaching - Te Tohu Whakamana i te Whakaako
  • Excellence in Research – Te Tohu i te Rakahau
  • Excellence in Leadership – Te Tohu i te Hautūtaka
  • Excellence in the Implementation of Te Tiriti responsiveness– Toi te mana Māori
  • Excellence in Sustainable Practice – Te Tohu Whakamana i kā Ahuataka Toitū
  • Excellence in Health,Safety and Wellbeing – Te Tohu Whakamana i te Haumarutaka
  • Excellence in Service – Te Tohu Whakamana i kā Uara
  • Excellence in Learner Experience – Te Tohu Whakamana i kā Wheako Ākonga
  • Good Sorts award - Te Tohu Hāpai


  1. Recipients of Excellence Awards will have their names recorded on the Otago Polytechnic Digital Honours Board.


  1. Eligibility

       All Otago Polytechnic permanent kaimahi (full-time or part-time) and kaimahi who are on fixed-term contracts of greater than twelve (12) months are eligible for nomination and receipt of staff awards.


 3. Criteria

3.1   When reviewing nominations, the Selection Committee will look for examples of outstanding achievement and performance, consistently and substantially exceeding the expectations of the kaimahi position, contributing at a level above and beyond normal position description requirements.  

3.2   Nominations should include examples of and be supported by evidence, along with a brief (approx. 300 words) explanation as to why the nominee should win the award.

3.4   The award may be made individually, or to a team of two (2) or more staff who may or may not formally work in the same team at Otago Polytechnic Business Division. 

3.5   No award will be made if, in the view of the Selection Committee, none is justified. 


4. Selection Committee

The Selection Committee shall be made up of representation from Te Kāhui Manukura, People and Culture, Heads of College, Operations Leads and a subject matter expert relevant to each award group e.g. Health, Safety and Wellbeing, and Research.


When reviewing a nomination, the selection panel will look for:



What we’re looking for

Criteria/evidence required

Excellence in Teaching



An academic or academic team that has demonstrated excellence in their teaching practice. 






Examples/evidence could include:

·     Learner-centric teaching practice maintained over a significant timeframe.

·     Learner engagement and effective learning.

·     Demonstrated integration of philosophy, pedagogy and values of Te Tiriti, Sustainability and, Health and, Safety and Wellbeing into the curriculum.

·     Proactive professional development.

·     Positive influence on the teaching practice of others and sustained excellence, innovation, and a unique contribution.

·     Demonstration of Otago Polytechnic teaching competencies.

·     Teaching in a kaupapa Māori method.

·     Contribution to successful work-based learning.

·     Contribution to the teaching profession.

·     Contribution to industry/discipline.

Excellence in Research


Kaimahi or research team that has demonstrated excellence in their research practice.  


Examples/evidence could include:

·      Building and leading research teams, especially across disciplines or other institutions.

·      Identifying and leading responses to externally funded research opportunities.

·      Securing contestable grants or consultancy contracts for research projects.

·      Mentoring kaimahi research activity.

·      Published lead author and peer-reviewed.

·     Liaising actively with iwi/industry/community partners around their research needs and interests.

·     Engaging in research activity that addresses iwi/industry/community priorities.

·     Engagement with research that contributes to Vision Mātauranga.

·     Innovation in research principles and demonstrated emerging research excellence.

·     Have published work in high-ranking journals.

Excellence in Leadership

Kaimahi who demonstrates exceptional leadership at any level. 

Examples/evidence could include:

·     Demonstrating clear understanding and commitment to Otago Polytechnic's strategic goals and priorities, thinking strategically and inspiring others to work towards a shared vision.

·     Dedication to learning, delivering, and promoting quality and innovation.

·     Being self-reflective, self-aware, and resilient in the face of challenges.

·     Living the Otago Polytechnic values in their work and, behaviours, and leading others in an empowering way.

Excellence in the Implementation of Te Tiriti outcomes and partnership



Individual kaimahi or team who have made an outstanding contribution to achieving and embedding the priorities and outcomes of Te Tiriti

Examples/evidence could include:

·       Whether tangata whenua or tangata Tiriti, demonstrates what it means to ‘give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.

·       Practices our values of manaakitaka, māia, whakamanataka and takohaka.

·       Contributes to an outstanding learning experience that is conducive to Māori learner participation and success at all levels of their study.

·       Kāi Tahu / Māori Leadership.

·       Actively and consistently incorporates te reo me ōna tikaka Māori in their practice.

·       100% committed to ensuring the learning or working environment in their area is culturally responsive and inclusive.

·       Development of quality courses or programmes of study that include mātauraka Māori and integrate Te Ao Māori.

·       Identifies and develops mutually beneficial research collaborations with mana whenua and other Māori research partners.

·       Makes sustained contributions to the development of a vibrant Māori research culture.


Excellence in Sustainable Practice


Individual kaimahi or a team who has demonstrated change practice in sustainable practice.

Examples/evidence could include:

·      Evidence of impact and of good leadership/championing practice in engaging and inspiring others.

·      Exceptional sustained performance in progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

·      Substantial change or improvement to a systemic sustainability issue.

·      Evidence of embedding sustainable practice within teaching practice and curriculum.


Excellence in Health and Safety  and Wellbeing

Individual kaimahi or a team who consistently embeds Health, Safety and Wellbeing into their everyday practices.

Examples/evidence could include:

·     Role-modelling best practices in Health, and Safety, Wellbeing within their immediate work area and/or across Otago Polytechnic.

·     Proactively seeks to find ways to embed health and safety, practices in teaching, research, or professional practice.

·     Achievement of improvements in Health, and Safety, and Wellbeing practices within their work area, or for Otago Polytechnic Business Division as a whole.

Excellence in Service



Professional kaimahi or team who have made an outstanding contribution to Otago Polytechnic.

Examples/evidence could include:

·     Dedication to living the values of the organisation

·     Successful collaboration that results in a contribution to the strategic goals of the organisation.

·     Shaping what they do for customer focus (internal and/or external) and delivering exceptional customer service.

·     Working effectively with stakeholders, other teams, and individuals across the organisation.

Excellence in Ākonga Experience

Professional kaimahi or team who have made an outstanding contribution to the learner experience at Otago Polytechnic.

Examples/evidence could include:

·       Development and implementation of new initiatives, activities, services, or projects that enhance the quality of the learner experience beyond the teaching and learning environment.

·       Demonstrated commitment to improving the experience of priority learner group(s) through learner-centric service offerings.

Good Sorts award.


Recognised by the Te Kāhui Manukura as an exceptional all-rounder who embodies the Otago Polytechnic values and stands out for the excellence of their performance and their commitment to the mission and vision of the organisation.

·     Proven sustained excellence that goes “above and beyond” performance expectations associated with their role. 

·     Truly stands behind what we are trying to achieve as an organisation and does their best to work toward these goals within their day-to-day role.

·     Goes above and beyond what is required of them for the benefit of the organisation

·     Truly lives and embodies the values of the organisation.


  1. Panel Decisions

All decisions of the Selection Committee and Te Kāhui Manukura are final.


Approved by:

Megan Potiki

Executive Director, Region 4

15 Feb 2024