Company-X user experience (UX) lead Hōhepa (Cory) McKenzie has been named a finalist in the Te Hapori Matihiko Awards.

Company-X user experience (UX) lead Hōhepa (Cory) McKenzie has been named a finalist in the Te Hapori Matihiko Awards.

McKenzie is a finalist in the Whiua ki te Ao (Take it to the World) category for contribution to global projects in digital and tech.

McKenzie has been leading UX design for US multinational Cisco Systems Inc’s Mergers and Acquisitions Hub since 2021. The hub manages Cisco’s acquisitions and its integration process.

Company-X Software Engineer Mark Nikora, who works alongside McKenzie on the project, nominated him for the award.

Nikora said he was “over the moon” that McKenzie was a finalist.

“When you look at the ‘before UX design’ and then the ‘after UX design’ versions of things you can see the footprint of someone who has a deep drive for making a product a success,” Nikora said.

“Meticulous. Understanding. Passionate. It is a pleasure to see Cory’s work.”

Company-X project technical lead Jake Wilkinson said: “Over the past two years, Cory has played a pivotal role in revolutionising the project’s digital and tech landscape. What began as a consulting position for a brief period of three months quickly transformed into a full-time commitment, as it became evident that Cory’s remarkable skills were indispensable for the project’s success.

“Beyond his remarkable technical contributions, Cory has also revolutionised the stakeholder engagement processes. Through his ingenious strategies, he has facilitated simultaneous cross-continental focus groups with various levels of user groups. This approach has not only streamlined stakeholder feedback but has also facilitated more effective decision-making and alignment across global teams.

“Cory’s exceptional contributions to global projects in the digital and tech domain make him an outstanding candidate for this award. His ability to blend technical expertise, innovative thinking, and leadership skills has had a profound impact on Cisco’s project and the wider industry.”

Cisco group product manager Chris DeMaio said: “I've been working with Cory at Cisco for roughly the past two years. He's got a great eye for design and really understands how to create component-based interfaces that are easy to use and offer value to the enterprise. Cory's ability to deal with complex business workflows, serving a wide range of stakeholders, is amazing to say the least.”

Company-X user interface (UI) and UX consultant Briana Christey said: “Cory has established a presence for UX Waikato on LinkedIn and co-organises regular group meetups to connect, inspire and support UX/UI designers in the Waikato region, both those who are well-established in their careers, and those who are just starting out.

“In the group, Cory is a thought leader on industry trends, design best practices and resources. His wealth of experience as a designer, coupled with his real passion for UX/UI, make him a valuable contributor and mentor for other designers in our region. He regularly shares resources such as design podcasts, articles, and emerging tools and technologies, and facilitates conversations that enable other designers to level up their craft.”

McKenzie heard he was shortlisted on Tuesday night. Asked how he felt on Wednesday morning he said: “Amazing. Humbled. Still in shock. I never thought I would be a finalist for an award like this. It just goes to show with the right focus and attitude doors open for you where you least expect it.”

Matihiko Award winners will be announced at a celebration of Māori contribution to digital and tech on July 7 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.

There are 11 categories with a Totara (leader) and a Tipu (emergent leader) due to be announced.