The Sir Peter Blake Trust honoured leaders and contributors to New Zealand in Auckland on Friday evening at a formal event.
More than 300 of the country's leaders attended the awards ceremony at Auckland Museum, presented by the Governor-General Sir Jerry Mataparae.
Seven awards were presented - the Blake Medal for leadership achievement and six Blake Leader awards for outstanding leadership for New Zealanders in their mid-career.
Sir Peter Gluckman (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
The Blake Medal acknowledges and celebrates a leader who has made an exceptional contribution to the country. This year it went to Sir Peter Gluckman, the chief science advisor to the Prime Minister and one of the country's most distinguished scientists.
His work in babies' and children's health is recognised across the globe and in his role as the first chief science advisor, Sir Peter leads the way in encouraging governments worldwide to incorporate science into their decisions.
"I've had multiple careers over my lifetime and each one of them has had highlights," Sir Peter says.
"But I think the opportunity I currently have, to try and shift the national conversation and the use of science in the way New Zealand moves ahead, is something that's really given me a lot of pleasure."
Sir Peter says there is a real need for people to understand science, as it can be used to promote New Zealand's strengths.
"I think that the way we're using science to project to the world and show that we're a smart, clever nation, that while we may not be geo-strategically relevant, we can be very relevant through the knowledge that we can produce and contribute at a global level."
The six Blake Leader awards for outstanding leadership mid-career went to Rob Waddell, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Ben Kepes, Stacey Shortall, Dr Nancy Bertler and Frances Valintine.
Rob Waddell (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Olympic gold medallist Waddell was recognised for his work both on and off the water. Not only is he chef de mission at this year's Rio Olympics, but he also works with a number of charitable organisations to advance sport and enhance the environment.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Dr Wiles was awarded for her exceptional leadership skills in the science community, including encouraging more children and women into science. A microbiologist, Dr Wiles is world-famous for her effects in the fight against some of the most infectious diseases on Earth.
Ben Kepes (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Mr Kepes received the award for a number of projects, including a mentorship programme for young entrepreneurs and recreating a start-up ecosystem after Christchurch's devastating earthquakes. He's created a leadership legacy across several different domains including emergency volunteer and technology evangelist.
Stacey Shortall (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Ms Shortall's efforts to help women and children earned her her Blake Leader award. She's behind programmes helping mothers in prisons and a homework club in low-decile schools.
Associate Professor Nancy Bertler (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Dr Bertler's work in ice core research has helped and will continue helping New Zealand and the world learn about climate change. Dr Bertler founded the field in New Zealand, which drills deep into Antarctica's ice to unlock the climate's past and how it will affect our future.
Frances Valintine (Brendon O'Hagan / supplied)
Ms Valintine was recognised for her drive to change learning from inside out, with programmes such as The Mind Lab designed to prepare today's students for tomorrow's digital world. That's on top of her work mentoring young New Zealand businesswomen and encouraging female leaders in developing nations.
Together, the seven recognised at the awards on Friday map a powerful unit of the nation's leaders across an array of areas.
The awards are important because Sir Peter Blake Trust CEO Shelley Campbell says Sir Peter Blake left a legacy of making us believe the impossible was achievable.
"All the people recognised in the Blake Leader Awards have shown a commitment to leading a team, have dreamt big and have demonstrated their passion for New Zealand."
Sir Peter Blake's daughter, Sarah-Jane Blake, attended the awards to represent the family.