The most influential Aucklanders

Ricardo Simich,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 26 November 2016, 12:32PM
Jaime Ridge, Mike Hosking and Gilda Kirkpatrick are among our list of Auckland's most influential people.
Jaime Ridge, Mike Hosking and Gilda Kirkpatrick are among our list of Auckland's most influential people.

Some are household names, some are behind-the-scenes powerhouses. But what they have in common is  they know who — and what — counts when it comes to having clout. Between them they cut a swathe through Auckland’s A-list as they attend, network and put together the best parties and events on the social calendar.

Spy’s picks of the current top influencers are:

The IT Couple

Chrystal Chenery and Ricky Cave

Art Green and Matilda Rice have people lining up for their brand power, but the relationship of former Bachelorette and Dancing with the Stars’ runner up Chenery with real estate extraordinaire Cave combines influence with affluence.

Cave may become a reality star himself should Bravo Channel’s Million Dollar Listing get the green light for an Auckland series.
The pair live together in a smart love nest in Mission Bay.

The Agent

Imogen Johnson

Johnson runs New Zealand’s top talent agency and has a celebrity client list to die for.

Her showbiz connections in Australia and Hollywood mean more and more of our homegrown talent are being snapped up to work on international film and TV series.

Danielle Cormack, Robbie Magasiva, Sara Wiseman and Craig Hall are just some of J&L’s clients starring in leading roles on Australian television screens and Karl Urban, Frankie Adams, Rose McIver and Mattias Inwood are a few of J&L’s clients to  crack Hollywood in recent years.

Closer to home, her team of 11 agents manage celebs, MCs and entertainers like Jono and Ben, Carol Hirschfeld, Jaquie Brown,  Michelle Dickinson and Te Radar.

The Sporting Couple

Shaun Johnson and Kayla Cullen

Public life is a two-edge sword for Johnson, as he juggles losses on the field and a love-hate relationship with social media.

His partner, Silver Fern  Cullen, is universally liked, and won the People’s Choice Award at the recent NZ Netball Awards.

The pair — who publicly and cutely declared their love on social media — has missed each other since Johnson has been touring the UK. Cullen joined Johnson last weekend for a much-needed reunion.

The Rich Lister

Ben Cook

Cook made his first appearance on the NBR Rich List this year. A commercial property investor, he made the most expensive house purchase of last year, buying a huge minimalist home on Sentinel Rd in Herne Bay for $24 million.

His girlfriend, Lavinia White (pictured), is one of Auckland’s best-dressed women and her good friend is Courtney Rupe, daughter of SPQR owner Chris Rupe. Cook and White hang out with the beautiful set of well-heeled Aucklanders. Their glamour lifestyle is all Rolls-Royces, designer threads and super-luxe holidays.

The Host with the Most

Mike Hosking

Only one man is not playing musical chairs in broadcasting and that is The Hosk. In a Trumpian era, broadcaster Hosking’s Christian Louboutin shoes, $1000 embellished shirts and wry smile are back in vogue.

The man who dominates the airwaves — on NewstalkZB in the mornings and with the wonderful Toni Street on Seven Sharp at night — is selective about which events he graces. But he’s in demand.

The Triple Threat

Gilda Kirkpatrick

As well as ruling The Real Housewives of Auckland, the mother of two is author of the educational sci-fi comic book series Astarons. But it’s her other business, Us&Co, an advertising and marketing agency, that has become a leader in the digital communications and social media spheres, where she works as a creative director.

The company, founded by James Polhill and Jose Alomajan, recently launched its leading influencer marketing platform called Populr.

The company works with some of the smartest creative, digital and social media minds in the country to ensure brands, products and services are part of the online conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat.

Famous Kiwis on the platform include Shaun Johnson, P-Money, Kayla Cullen, Beauden Barrett and a swag of other  All Blacks, along with high-profile actors, musicians, entertainers and new media celebrities.

The Event Maestros

Liam Taylor and Mike Hewitt

The Darkhorse gents Taylor and Hewitt are known for creating the best parties and launches around town.

These boys put the Wow factor into events — their leading premium brands, include Mercedes-Benz, Moet Hennessy, Tiffany & Co, Heineken and more recently, Rata, Madam Woo, Taste of Auckland and ASB Classic. They take a personalised approach where no detail is too small or idea too big to create.

That giant Tiffany box at the Tiffany store launch two weeks ago? They hired a crane to make it come to life in Britomart Square.

The Auckland Councillor

Desley Simpson

That Simpson’s name was bandied about as  deputy to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff shows the esteem in which the recently elected Councillor for Orakei is held.

Known for her strong work ethic, the immaculately dressed wife of richlister Peter Goodfellow, President of the National Party, earned respect as chair of the Orakei local board. Watch this space in three years, when the next Auckland Mayoral elections come around: we tip Simpson could well become Auckland’s third female Mayor.

The Fashion and Luxury Girl

Jaime Ridge

After completing her law degree, Jaime Ridge dived into PR, proving her mettle at Symmetry PR. Ridge has cornered the luxury market with her brand — if she is not modelling or writing on her Dillon Dot blog, she is being approached for ambassadorial roles.

She was the choice of Tiffany & Co as the official spokesperson for Tiffany’s Auckland launch. And she was one of four fashionable and entrepreneurial women honoured by Champagne brand Moet & Chandon at its event last Thursday, “The Now”.