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The Industry Awards are back! Looking back at where it all began

The Industry Awards are back! Looking back at where it all began

With entries now open for The Industry Awards 2023, it’s the opportune time to reflect on the history of New Zealand’s most prestigious event for the hair, beauty, and barbering industries.

This year’s event will be held on Sunday 12th November at the Cordis in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. Brought to life by HITO | Te Pūkenga, Kitomba Salon & Spa Software and Hair & Barber New Zealand, the coveted awards seek to celebrate both individual and team success. In addition to the lead partners, previous awards sponsors have included L’Oréal, Salon Owners Collective, ghd, Dyson, NZ Hair & Beauty Expo, and Wella Professionals.

While The Industry Awards was officially coined in 2010 and it’s continued to evolve each year, its roots trace back far earlier. Ahead, we reflect on its 20 year history…


HITO first announced the coveted Apprentice of the Year award. Announced at the NZARH Supreme Awards, HITO selected one overall Top Apprentice of the Year and winners from each of the Hair & Barber New Zealand (formerly known as NZARH) regions.


HITO grew the Training Awards with the creation of the Tutor of the Year award.


This year was a huge milestone: The creation of the Kitomba NZARH Business Awards. The Business Awards were created to start something new – build a culture of recognising and celebrating hairdressing business excellence. The first Business Awards ceremony was celebrated in a small room on Waiheke Island with a group of just 30 salon owners.

This year also marked the first Jasmine McBeth Memorial Scholarship. Jasmine was a hairdressing apprentice (and 2006 HITO Apprentice of the Year) who passed away from cancer shortly after gaining her qualification. The scholarship money comes from the money Jasmine saved to open her own salon. This scholarship ran for 14 years, with the last recipient receiving it in 2022.


The Training awards grew with the addition of the Training Salon of the Year to the mix. This award was included to celebrate salons that are committed to training, use innovative training solutions and those of all levels in training.


Up until this point, both awards were separate awards until this year. HITO, Kitomba, and NZARH brought their awards together and created The Industry Awards. The first Industry Awards, held in Christchurch, was a massive weekend full of celebrations, including the awards dinner, NZARH competitions, Supreme Awards announcements, and a series of seminars.


HITO grew its award offering with a new award in 2011; Trainer of the Year.

The Industry Trainer of the Year award acknowledges an individual who offers excellent training to current HITO apprentices. Industry Trainers must show how they support the training and success of their apprentices and the wider industry.


The Kitomba NZARH Business Awards saw the growing need and relevance of sustainability across the industries, in turn establishing the Sustainable Salon of the Year.

The Sustainable Salon of the Year award celebrates a business with a clear focus on sustainable practices which are an integral part of their day-to-day running.


HITO opened their awards to the beauty industry in 2014 and gave its growing range of awards an official name – the HITO Training Awards.


Understanding that business success can be measured beyond finances, Kitomba created a new award; Best Salon Design. This award recognises excellence in design that perfectly balances both form and function within a salon, spa, clinic or barbershop.


Although Kitomba, HITO and NZARH have worked together for almost a decade, 2018 marked an exciting and monumental change to the awards. The HITO Training Awards and Kitomba NZARH Business Awards no longer exist, instead they were combined into a seamless night of celebration under the name: The Industry Awards.

2018 also saw the inclusion of two new awards in the Creative category: The Patrick Cameron Instagram Challenge, and The Derek Elvy Visionary Award: in recognition of the passing of Derek Elvy, after a long battle with cancer.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Industry Awards were delayed in 2021, and ended up transforming into a digital awards night. Entrants were encouraged to dress up to the nines and celebrate from the comfort of their homes or salons as we live-streamed the awards across the country.


The Industry Awards 2022 saw a return to Christchurch for the (largest ever) awards evening. The toll of the Christchurch earthquake meant that there was no suitable venue for many years, until the opening of Te Pae Convention Centre.


The Industry Awards 2023 is officially back and entries are now open!