Carrie Hurihanganui: “We need to break down the silos and systems that hold women back”

On 8 February 2022, Auckland International Airport welcomed a new Chief Executive — it’s first female Chief Executive: Global Women member Carrie Hurihanganui.

To celebrate and commemorate the occasion, Carrie joined in conversation with fellow Global Women member, Jenni Prisk, to explore what this turn in her page means for her career, the industry, and of course, women in leadership.

Enthusiastic about her new role, Carrie is looking forward to putting her stamp on this next chapter in New Zealand’s aviation industry and our borders’ opening up, post-covid.

What does Carrie aspire to for Auckland International Airport? “The organisation’s 30-year master plan will play a role in New Zealand’s recovery in trade and tourism. There needs to be economic and aviation revitalisation. Fortunately, the airport has an incredibly passionate and capable team. However, COVID has forced us all to adapt and flex to the new environment; business continuity is challenged, HR systems are not designed for contraction, digital technology must lead the way. And we’ve all been impacted personally. How do we find the balance?”

Having been a Global Women member since joining in 2019, Carrie is passionate about advancing women. “We need to break down the silos and systems that hold women back,” she shares with Jenni. “Our numbers are disproportionate; 30% on boards, 25% in senior leadership. It’s important that young women have role models to inspire them to fill principal roles.

In kōrero with Global Women when her exciting move was announced last year, Carrie reflected on her trailblazing within New Zealand’s aviation industry and desire to see more of the kind: “I am delighted to lead such a key NZ company. With only a handful of female CEOs on the NZX50, we need to continue to advocate the equal abilities of men and women, while respecting the value of our differences.

As the former Chief Operating Officer of our Partner organisation, Air New Zealand, Carrie boasts a stellar career in aviation. Starting in the cabin crew and rising through the ranks, Carrie’s career has been nothing short of inspiring.

People are drawn to connecting,” she shares as she starts this new role, “and it’s our responsibility during COVID to provide a seamless journey while keeping everyone safe. Auckland airport was the first airport in NZ to achieve the Airports Council International’s Health Accreditation and be designated a Quarantine-free Travel Airport through proactively meeting the key health requirements.

Watch this space — Carrie Hurihanganui’ s professional drive and determination will renew and change the gateway to Āotearoa New Zealand.

In the meantime, learn more about Carrie and her career and this next move through’s latest feature.


A special thanks to Global Women member and Mozaic editor, Jenni Prisk, for her storytelling and interviewing of Carrie — originally published in the Global Women Members’ newsletter.