2021 Recognition Awards

Event Date: 5th August, 2021

This year’s NZSCA Recognition Awards were sponsored by member company Sucafina. The rustic atmosphere at Sherwood, Queenstown created a celebratory air as 80 coffee industry legends gathered. The Recognition Awards acknowledge the individuals within NZ who give back to the industry and also create the community we have today. Nominated by peers, customers, and providers, the names are collated and then presented in a fun relaxed style befitting our community.

Carl Sara, previous NZSCA President and now representing Sucafina opened the Awards. Carl was a recipient in 2017 of the Development Award and took the moment to mention that the Awards are “an opportunity to work together, support and recognize the people who make a particular effort and who help support the Association and the industry as a whole. We feel very fortunate to support this.”


Sarah Kennard was presented Friend of the Association for her services to Championship volunteering by Scott Pepler and John Cole. Scott says “while Sarah may be in the background, she comes with a lot of coffee expertise. When I met Sarah, straight away, all my colleagues recognized her as a true coffee talent. The key thing with Sarah is her attention to detail and all the key communication to key people. I know how much work events take and with people like Sarah in the background, I’m pretty proud of you.”

Sarah accepted the award by saying she loves all the events she attends and loves being a part of this amazing community. “It’s all about coming along and supporting the community and this is the one time I can be fully involved in the community.

One of my favorite moments is the proud mum moment when the competitors finish their performance and you’re proud of yourselves, and the awards ceremonies and I cry”


Nic McClean then got up to speak: “This award winner is someone who has consistently supported and attended the events for many years. Always willing to lend a hand from helping on the main stage or quietly behind the scenes. Because the distances to the events are probably further than most but are never an issue, they often cut into family time. He, and it is a he, always has a friendly smile and some good advice if you need it. His taste in drinks is a bit sour and he can slag off our treasure of a national airline, but I am pleased to announce the Friend of the Association is Mr David Worth.”

On accepting the award, David said he “was quite chuffed” and perhaps there were a few happy tears shed. “I’m very grateful. It’s wonderful to be appreciated and recognize and it’s taken 40 years for anyone to recognize me as a friend!

“To receive this from my friends and peers in the NZSCA is very humbling. Coming over here in 2012, I was very new to the coffee industry. I was promised beer and skittles! It’s been a ride and an honour to be apart of the industry worldwide.

He was roped into being an MC because he was loud at a Latte Art Championship. “They didn’t have any amplification and I was it! It was such a fantastic event, I was so overwhelmed, I went home and had two heart attacks! That’s how much I put into this industry and how well deserved this award is!”

David carried on to say “Also, this is an award that I take on board for my boss, Greg Clubb as AMC Roastery Supplies have tried to support the industry in New Zealand. We’ve found our voice with Emma Markland Webster and she’s the most amazing person I’ve worked with. She’s our coffee professional and coffee brain. We have our moments. She calls me Angry Man and I don’t know about that, I’ve never been angry in my life!”


“We come along and we try to support, sponsor, and do everything we can. Our company motto is “we’re here to make friends, not money” which may sound silly in a business environment. We always cherish the friendships we make, the relationships we have and I know that the NZSCA is top-notch. Coming across cold and learning about the specialty coffee industry really set the standard for me. You’re aces when it comes to specialty coffee knowledge.”

David Worth summed up his acceptance speech by saying “Thank you to everyone, I have so many friends here, I can’t name you all, you know who you are. If you’re not my friend, come and buy me a beer, we’ll be friends. I’ll teach you how to make a whiskey sour”.


Tom Handiside of La Marzocco in Auckland was awarded the Development Award. Tom was presented his award by David Huang and Emma Markland Webster. These contributions may include but are not limited to the dedication of time, volunteerism, contributions of professional knowledge, exemplary work on a specific NZSCA project, or other notable contributions.​ His mahi towards events, inclusive industry knowledge, and giving of time won him this award.

Tom also served four years of service to the board in both allied and exec positions, another apt reason for him to win. He’d bowed out after spending a year as Vice President, a testament to his character of knowing his capabilities of having too many balls in the air. As such, Tom said, “while this is an individual award, I know that the countless talented teamwork that goes on to make the industry great is what really matters.”

He’s an “ideas guy and loved doing Coffee In Good Spirits. He thanked everyone who supported him too.”

Tom said he “was humbled, I’ve enjoyed contributing and the legacy of the board is great.”


Ongoing Contribution was awarded to Craig Miller of Miller’s Coffee in Auckland.

David Burton spoke: “Craig has always been serious about espresso, backed by a focus on hospitality. He has a passion for sensory delights, coffee, wine, ume plum, chocolate, ice cream. He loves combining flavours. He’s a guy who has such a lovely understanding of flavours and delights, but coffee was the centre of that. He’s so passionate he put his name on it, Miller’s Coffee.

“Craig knows the importance of preserving heritage as such he wrote Coffee Houses of Wellington. He’s done a lot of research. He realized very quickly that he had to gather the history. And we look forward to his next edition.

“Who else could bring us all together, first at the dock way events and more latterly at the Photo exhibition? There were 30 plus people on the wall and it was humbling to see who had been involved in the industry from the start We owe him the recognition for what he’s done for the industry and he deserves for his Outstanding Ongoing Contribution.”

Megan Wyper: “I met with Craig last week and started reading the following: This is an award for an individual in recognition of their outstanding On-going contribution to the NZSCA and the NZ Coffee industry as a whole, they have consistently dedicated time and knowledge to make a lasting impact on the industry and the association.

These contributions may include but are not limited to the dedication of time, volunteer, contributions of professional knowledge, exemplary work on a NZSCA project, or other notable contributions. Importantly, the contributions should be above and beyond every day and have had a long-lasting impact on the NZ Industry as a whole.

Craig’s response, “that sounds like something I’ve felt like an industry we have done together even though it’s an individual award. We must all maintain our individual identities but also work together as a collective.

Thank you, I’m very grateful for all of this.” 

Meg continues: “We then started chatting, as one does with Craig, about the dock way drinks he hosted at the office/garage space on cross street opp the roastery in 2004. I very much remember, as I’d heard whisperings of the event happening in the Millers’ roastery – basically it was being billed as a meeting of heads of states?

“In 2004 I was managing his café Serious Espresso in the city and living at the Roastery. I went out of my way to avoid the dock way that day as wow, it was an intimidating thought all of those old guys all chatting and mingling for this 19-year-old barista. So I hid away in the apartment above the roastery.

“I had picked up a phone book in early 2000 and started asking for jobs, Craig gave me a job at Serious Espresso – I quickly learned the Millers’ way to do things, you do not write orders down and there’s no till. I basically learned to multi-task very quickly and my ability to remember a dozen orders, do math in my head all while yelling at customers to come and grab their coffee.

“For a creative non-mathematical dyslexic this was mad! – but it was one of the best cafe educations you could have and I’ll be forever grateful for that proper start in the hospo game. 

“He taught/showed me to do what I love and that working in coffee and hospitality is a possible career not just something you do between school and life.”

Craig Miller is presented his Award by David Burton, June 2021

Thanks to Sucafina @sucafinaspecialty_asiapacific for sponsoring the Recognition Awards.

The next day at the AGM, Roz Cattell said “Overall, the caliber of the nominees was excellent,” commented Roz “The ceremony was put on hold, like many occasions, last year. Isn’t it incredible to be all together?” 

“It’s encouraging to see the quality and variety of recipients which was recognized this year,” said Roz.