The new award, sponsored by the airline, is designed to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to raising New Zealand's profile in the United States over the previous year.

Nominated for the award by former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, Rogers first visited New Zealand in 1990 and has worked tirelessly since then to promote the country to business and political leaders in Iowa. In 2002, she was appointed to the Iowa Department of Economic Development - a volunteer position - by Vilsack, who was governor from 1999-2007. Soon after, she realized there were a number of mutual growth opportunities for New Zealand and Iowa businesses.

By 2003 the first joint meeting was held between representatives for New Zealand and Iowa, followed by a business delegation in 2004 from Iowa to New Zealand - the largest delegation ever assembled from Iowa to another country. Three months later, then New Zealand Research, Science and Technology Minister, Pete Hodgson, hosted a reciprocal visit to Iowa with a delegation of 30 representatives from life science, biotechnology and government.

By 2005, Gov. Vilsack and Minister Hodgson signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between Iowa and New Zealand to advance economic development opportunities in the area of life sciences between the two regions. Today, the New Zealand-Iowa relationship continues to grow with the fostering of numerous business and university relationships.

"This award was designed to recognize enthusiastic advocates of New Zealand and the Kiwi 'way of life,'" said Air New Zealand Sponsorship and Tourism Development Manager Jenny Simpson. "Ms. Rogers has made a real difference in raising the profile of New Zealand, and we're thrilled to applaud her."

"Marcia's success with New Zealand has been a labor of love," said Vilsack. "Her position on the Board of Economic Development is volunteer-based, so she has a great deal of personal time invested in this international accomplishment. What's more, she remains the leading expert on business development for New Zealand and Iowa partnerships."

The Air New Zealand Ambassador Award was judged by New Zealand Consul-General in Los Angeles Rob Taylor, adventure television personality Phil Keoghan, Air New Zealand vice president - Americas Roger Poulton and Tourism New Zealand vice president - Americas Bruce Lahood.

Rogers was selected from a large number of individuals and organizations, all of which were nominated by members of the public. The panel looked for enthusiastic advocates whose work has resulted in significantly raising the profile of New Zealand in United States. Rogers also serves as president of Management Resource Group (MRG) in Davenport, Iowa.

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand offers more direct flights to the South Pacific than any other airline, including non-stop flights from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and starting November 2, Vancouver to New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles non-stop to Fiji, the Cook Islands and Samoa. Other popular destinations include Australia, China, Japan and Tonga. In addition to flying non-stop Los Angeles-London, Air New Zealand's newest route, between London and Hong Kong, now allows customers to fly round-the-world on one airline. Consistently rated among the world's best international airlines, Air New Zealand's most recent accolades include recognition by the Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards, the Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards and Business Traveler Magazine. United Mileage Plus, US Airways Dividend Miles and Air Canada's Aeroplan members earn and redeem mileage on select flights. Flight and vacation essentials can be booked on Flight and vacation bookings can also be made by calling 1-800-262-1234 in the USA and 1-800-663-5494 in Canada.


Ian Jeffries   Karen Laugesen
Cohn & Wolfe   Air New Zealand
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