2023 Tohu Awards



The Minister of Defence Force’s 2023 Tohu Awards have recognised excellence from members of our Defence Reserve Force, Cadet Force Officers and Limited Service Volunteer Graduates and the commitment from the organisations who support them. 


Tohu Awards winners gather with Senior NZDF Leadership and the Defence Employer Support Council Chair on 07 November 2023 in Wellington


Run by the Defence Employer Support Council (DESC), the annual awards officially acknowledge how employers of our Reserve Force and Cadet Force Officers are vital to our Defence Force effectiveness, enabling attendance of training, fulfilment of deployment opportunities and supplementation to our Regular Force members.  


The awards recognise that employers also benefit in employing and supporting members of our Reserve and Cadet Force Officers, as well as our Limited Service Volunteer Graduates, as the training they received through the NZDF helps develop and sharpen their skills in leadership, teamwork, communication, discipline, planning, management, and much more.


Positive relationships between Employers and Reservists or Cadet Force Officers in their civilian workplace often results in personnel remaining engaged in their work and are more likely to be motivated and committed to their employer.  


Congratulations to our 2023 award winners and thank you to those who nominated organisations that show their support for our people and the role they play in New Zealand’s Defence Force.



Reservist of the year – Winner (Jointly Awarded)

Lance Corporal Rhys Dillon


Lance Corporal DILLON is an outstanding performer within the NZDF Reserve Force and this has been recognised by his unit, Southern Health Support Squadron, Deployable Health Organisation.


One of his major accomplishments was identifying a communication gap within the Reserve unit and introducing a new, local software platform that enabled effective information sharing among team members. This software has been essential in coordinating the activities and outputs of the unit and Lance Corporal DILLON’s efforts have been widely praised.


Lance Corporal DILLON’s commitment to the NZDF is remarkable, especially given his demanding civilian job as a pilot for Air New Zealand. Despite his busy schedule, he has demonstrated exceptional dedication to his work within the NZDF Reserve Force.


Reservist of the year – Winner (Jointly Awarded)

SGT Caroline (Daisy) Williams


Sergeant WILLIAMS is an outstanding performer within the NZDF Reserve Force and this has been recognised by her unit, the Directorate of Army Reserves, AGS.


She has raised the profile of the Army Reserve Forces through her commitment in the role as a photographer and journalist. The quality of her images and the work she has produced has drawn praise and is a direct reflection of her enthusiasm, creative imagination and work ethos to produce exemplary media products.

Her professionalism, dedication and ethical standards make her an exemplary Reservist.


Sergeant WILLIAMS is an asset to both the unit and the wider Defence Force, and she is thoroughly deserving of the Reservist of the Year Award.


Reserve Employer of the year (Large Employer Category)



The Reserve Employer of the Year (Large Employer) for 2023 is awarded to KPMG NZ.


KPMG (NZ) are interested in the careers of Reservists and willingly support their careers in the military alongside a civilian career within KPMG NZ.


KPMG recognisesand embraces Reservists and the skills they have gained through military training, enabling cover of civilian engagements while Reservists attend NZDF training.  Additional emergency response leave is also considered for Reservists when they are required to respond to domestic emergency events at short or even no notice.


KPMG enables a supportive work environment through an HR Policy which includes 10 days of Reservist Leave, enabling Reservists to attend training without having to take unpaid leave.


Reserve Employer of the year (Small Employer Category)

Reswax (Resin and Wax Holdings Ltd)


The Reserve Employer of the Year (Small Employer) for 2023 is awarded to Reswax.


Reswax actively acknowledges the benefits of military service as a contribution to its business by providing flexible working arrangements as required, enabling time to be spent on both reserve and civilian tasks.  This is formally provided for in employment contracts.


Reswax recognises the unique skills Reservists bring to their workplace.  These skills are valued and seen as beneficial to the company.  The company acknowledges the benefits of employing reservists by granting extensive leave when required and providing flexible day-to-day working arrangements.


Reswax has developed its ability to support Reservist employees while balancing the company’s goals through reassignment and/or reprioritisation of tasks ultimately contributing to the development of staff and organisational resilience.


Outstanding Contribution to the Limited Service Volunteer Programme

Glenn Dawson, NZ Police


The Outstanding Contribution to the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) Programme Award for 2023 is awarded to Glenn Dawson in recognition of his enduring support and actions as an LSV Course Police Mentor, specifically his devotion and participation in course activities where he engaged with trainees and staff with consistent professionalism, enthusiasm and passion.


During his time as a Police Mentor for the LSV course, Glenn’s sole focus was the success of trainees on the course. Glenn made the most of his opportunities throughout his time, to create a rapport and bond with the course trainees. He is an engaging person who has the confidence to establish effective relationships with all youth, enabling him to gain their trust and break down perceptions and barriers.


Glenn has regularly sought guidance and provided counsel and direction, allowing youth to make a positive change in their lives and give themselves options for a pathway towards a better life, including briefing them on the LSV course.


Employer Contribution to the Limited Service Volunteer Programme:

Taylor Preston


The Outstanding Contribution to the LSV Programme for 2023 is awarded to Taylor Preston.


Taylor Preston has been an enduring supporter of the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) Programme and the company’s Recruitment Manager, Barry Walsh, is a long-time active benefactor of the LSV programme. Over many years, Barry has given up evenings to speak with the trainees in an open and honest approach about what working in the meat industry looks like, the type of work, and the opportunities that come from working in the industry.


Since the LSV programme returned to the Wellington region in 2019, Taylor Preston have employed over 30 graduates and these graduates are given time off to talk to current trainees about their LSV experience and work journey.


The values, vision and purpose of the LSV programme continue to be reinforced by Taylor Preston with graduates who accept employment opportunities with the company.


New Zealand Cadet Force Officer Employer of the year 

Toi Ohomai – Te Pūkenga 


The New Zealand Cadet Force Officer Employer of the Year is awarded to Toi Ohomai – Te Pūkenga, Tauranga, nominated by Cadet Force Officer, MAJ E. Crawshaw.


Toi Ohomai has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting the New Zealand Cadet Forces (NZCF) and has consistently provided support to MAJ Crawshaw and the Cadet Units in Western Bay of Plenty.  


Toi Ohomai – Te Pūkenga have HR policies that prioritise service in the organisation and recognise the value of skills obtained through the NZCF training programme, regularly utilising skills gained from NZCF in the workplace.  


Leadership and guidance provided by line managers at Toi Ohomai - Te Pūkenga have been instrumental in helping MAJ Crawshaw achieve success in his role as a senior Cadet Force Officer.