We make

Dynamic Engagement

We are a youthful, experienced government relations and communications firm that matches organisations with all levels of Aotearoa New Zealand’s political and media ecosystems. 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 kinds of organisations, let’s kōrero.


Meet Our

Holly Suzanne Bennett

Holly Suzanne Bennett

Kaiwhakahaere | Managing Director
Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao

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

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Daniela Maoate-Cox

Daniela Maoate-Cox

Kaitūhono Matua | Senior Consultant
Rarotonga, Kūki ‘Airani

Daniela is a vehement proponent for breaking down barriers to information so people can make informed decisions.

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Jesse Thompson

Jesse Thompson

Kaitūhono Matua | Senior Consultant
Ngāruahine, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngai Tahu

Jesse is an experienced political strategist, with over a decade of experience working on political campaigns. 

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Heloisa Hartuwig De Freitas

Heloisa Hartuwig De Freitas

Kaitūhono Mātāmua | Junior Consultant

Heloisa is an experienced consultant with particular interest in working on projects at the interface between policy, legislation and te Tiriti.

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Mikayla Thompson

Mikayla Thompson

Kaitūhono | Consultant

Mikayla is a driven professional with an extensive background in public policy and politics. Her expertise aligns with a fervent dedication.

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Kia tātai
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.

Learn about our name

case studıes.



Awhi is here to help! We have answers to your frequently asked questions (pātai) about government relations, lobbying and engagement below.


What is government relations?

In technical terms, government relations is the process of influencing public and government policy at all levels (local, regional, national and even global).  It involves the advocacy of an interest that is affected, actually or potentially, by the decisions of government leaders.

In real terms, it is most commonly seen as getting in front of Members of Parliament (Legislature), the Executive (Ministers) and Officials (Public Servants) to advocate for support on a kaupapa (issue) or matter.

Is government relations the same as lobbying?

Essentially, yes. Lobbying, advocacy, government relations, political engagement: they are different terms for the same activity. Effective government relations is actioned through a variety of different mechanisms, at a range of different levels, depending on your kaupapa.

To lobby well is to know how to appropriately leverage a range of engagement opportunities and best land your kaupapa in the eyes of decision makers so they know who you are, what you do, why you’re approaching them, and how you can help them (or how they can help you!).

Knowing what to say when you’re in the room is just as important as getting in the room in the first place.

How do I know I need government relations advice?

Organisations most commonly seek government relations assistance to:

  • influence policy decisions and be part of policy discussions
  • provide feedback on current challenges
  • position themselves as sector leaders
  • have a say through proposed regulatory changes
  • be top of mind when decision makers offer funding opportunities.
How much does government relations advice cost?

Fees vary across the industry. The sector is unregulated, which means that you must take extra care to ensure you are getting value for money.

Awhi upholds the Awhi Lobbying Principles, which outline best practice expectations for the lobbying industry in Aotearoa. These apply in respect of all work carried out for clients by us, and is why our integrity principle includes a commitment to charging a fee that is fair and reasonable.

Why should I choose Awhi over other firms?

Our mission is to make engagement simple. Whether that be political, stakeholder or media engagement, we exist to break down barriers and open up access to traditionally inaccessible processes.

The lobbying industry is infamous for being a tool for those with the deepest pockets; stakeholder engagement is often ad hoc and piecemeal; media engagement can be the same commentators over and over again, regardless of expertise.

Awhi exists to change that. We want these expert services to be something everyone can access; where there is equal opportunity to be heard.

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