Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators


Shine the light on clear communication | Photo of colourful lights and reflections on Whairepo Lagoon by Ann Kilpatrick on Excio

Write and its sister company WriteMark are the founding sponsors of the Plain Language Awards — raising the bar for clear communication in New Zealand, and now in Australia too. Both Write and WriteMark are continuing their support for the Awards in 2022 as major sponsors.

Write chief executive Lynda Harris sees sponsorship of the Plain Language Awards as another way Write can champion the positive impact that clear communication has on people’s lives.

Lynda says:

We support the Awards because they celebrate clear communication in business and government organisations. Everyone who enters the Awards, or who nominates a People’s Choice entry, is doing their bit to make the world a clearer place.

We believe that everyone in the community has the ethical and democratic right to understand communications that are central to their lives — government forms, legal documents, financial applications and agreements, terms and conditions, and more.

Ultimately, we want people to be able to understand important information. When that information is as clear as possible, they can make decisions more easily — especially those related to health, financial, and legal matters.

Let’s get the plain language message out

The Awards celebrate the communicators who create clear, accessible documents and websites. And in doing so, the Awards help to share the message that we all benefit from plain language in everyday life.

Plain language enables us all to participate more easily in society and make important legal, financial, and health decisions based on better understanding. That’s got to be a good outcome!

Check out the Awards categories for 2022

Are you willing to join the call for clear communication?

A plain language approach to communication means truly committing to putting customers and colleagues first — a culture-changing shift in how business and society operate. Our sponsors are joining the call for fairer, clearer communication from all sectors.

If you’re interested in supporting the 2022 Plain Language Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and have you on our team.

Meet our sponsors

Become a sponsor

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We celebrate the generous support of our friends | Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

One of the goals behind the Awards is to create a fairer society through improving people’s access to important communications. We acknowledge that this is an ambitious goal, but it’s one that moves a step closer to reality with every bit of support we get.

Among our supporters are our judges, who are all expert plain language specialists from around the world. They seem to come back each year even keener to to help us out again!

Adding to this wonderful level of support, our sponsors are all shining examples from the community of individuals and organisations committed to doing good.

Taking care of our printing needs

For 7 years now, the Wellington branch of has been one of our loyal sponsors. We feel fortunate to have their support. As their commitment to the Awards, covers all our printing needs for the Plain English Awards.

‘We see the Awards as being extremely important for supporting the government and business sectors as they continuously improve the way they communicate with the general public of New Zealand,’ says Nathan Jennings, business development manager at

Thank you for your ongoing support. We couldn’t do it without you and all our other friends!

Read about and our other sponsors

Become a sponsor


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Graphic Solutions believes clear design brings out the best in a communication. Photo by Crissy Jarvis on Unsplash

The Plain Language Awards owes a huge amount to design sponsor Graphic Solutions. This boutique Wellington-based design company has sponsored the Awards for many years now!

Craig Christensen is the inspired designer behind our favourite Awards catchcry ‘Who’s the clearest of them all?’ Craig has infused the Awards brand with bold colour and quirky, eye-catching icons.

Read Craig’s story behind the Awards branding

Craig has always been a keen supporter of clear communication and of the Awards, and says becoming a sponsor was an easy decision to make. He believes in the intimate link between clear communication and clear design, so he welcomed the opportunity to sponsor a cause so closely related to his professional practice.

Good design starts with good content. Clear, well-designed, and well-planned content means your messages get through with less effort.

We agree!

Read more about why Graphic Solutions chooses to sponsor the Awards

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Well done to our patron, Chloe, who was recognised as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2021 New Year Honours List.

We couldn’t be more proud of our generous patron, Chloe Wright. In recognition of her enormous commitment to philanthropy, education, and health, Chloe was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit at the start of 2021.

An exemplar of kindness and care

In 1996, Chloe and her husband Wayne co-founded BestStart Educare, an early learning education organisation. BestStart is now New Zealand’s largest early learning organisation and is run under the Wright Family Foundation. This foundation provides funds and assistance to improve the educational, emotional, and psychological wellbeing of New Zealanders.

As well as carrying out her philanthropic work through the Wright Family Foundation, Chloe founded Birthing Centre in 2014, which now has four locations. Birthing Centre is a service offering extensive postnatal support to new mothers and their babies. Its vision is to work in partnership with families to effect an informed, active, and natural birthing experience.

Chloe is also patron of SuperGrans Aotearoa, Kids’ Lit Quiz, the New Zealand Spelling Bee … and of course the Plain Language Awards!

Chloe believes passionately in the goals of the Awards. She wants to see plain language as the norm in government and business communication — so that information is clear and easy to access for everyone.

Chloe’s enthusiasm for, and dedication to, all the causes she supports is truly remarkable. Congratulations, Chloe! We’re so grateful for her support as Awards patron.

Meet our Awards patron

Interested in sponsoring?

If you’re interested in supporting the Plain Language Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to work with you.

Please contact Hellie to find out about sponsor benefits at

Become a sponsor

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The beauty of helping anyone out is in the end result. Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

Remember the time you helped your cousin learn to ride a bike? Or made your mother breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day? Or picked your friend’s children up from school when your friend got caught in a meeting?

The beauty of helping anyone out is in the end result. It’s the look of exhilaration when you let the bike go and your cousin takes off on his own. The smile on your mother’s face and the appreciation she feels when you treat her. The relief you give your friend, who can finish the meeting he’s in without worrying about his children.

Sponsoring the Awards is like all of these examples. By supporting us to run the Plain English Awards, you’re helping to promote good. Just like the smile on your mother’s face at Mother’s Day, you’ll directly and indirectly be helping to make a difference. That smile will be the equivalent of a patient who understands their medical treatment for the first time. Or someone going through a personal emergency that understands his or her insurance cover immediately.

Sponsoring the Awards shows you support a fairer society

A plain language approach to communication is a radical commitment to putting customers and colleagues first — a culture-changing shift in how society operates. Our sponsors sit alongside us on the journey, adding a new voice to the chorus calling for fair and clear communication from private and public sector organisations. Our sponsors become part of our Awards team.

If you’re interested in supporting the 2021 Plain English Awards, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you, and we’d love to work with you.

Please contact Melissa to find out about sponsor benefits at

Become a sponsor

Meet our sponsors

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A big driver of the Plain English Awards is to improve the quality of communications created for everyday New Zealanders.

We want you, as a member of the New Zealand public, to be able to understand everything that’s communicated to you. Because it’s your right to understand!

Another organisation pushing for clear communications is WriteMark. The WriteMark is a quality mark awarded to documents or websites that achieve a high standard of plain language.

When your document holds the WriteMark, your readers can be sure that your writing meets a very high standard of clarity. The WriteMark is an internationally recognised quality mark developed in New Zealand.

Image, WriteMark Limited logo

We’re very proud to have WriteMark as one of our principal sponsors

Find out more about WriteMark

Posted In: 2019 People's Choice Awards, Social good, Sponsors


Write Ltd. are proud sponsors of this year's People's Choice Awards. Image by Romain Vignes. Unsplash licence.

Like all great things, the Plain English Awards only exist because of the combined vision and ongoing commitment of a group of valuable supporters.

Many hands make light work

At the beginning of our 14-year history, it took a group of passionate professionals, led by Write Limited founder and CEO Lynda Harris, to develop the idea of the Awards and get them started.

Over the course of our history, we’ve relied on various supporters to help us maintain our momentum and keep us working towards our goals. Some have joined us for short periods of time; others have been with us from the start. Check out this year’s sponsors.

Write Limited is one of those long-standing supporters. New Zealand’s premier plain language consultancy, Write is also our founding sponsor. Write believes in using the power of words for good, so sponsoring the Awards fits perfectly with that purpose.
Find out more about why Write chooses to support the Plain English Awards every year

Discover the benefits of sponsorship

Curious about the benefits that sponsoring the Plain English Awards brings to your organisation? Please get in touch — we’d love to discuss sponsorship options with you.

Contact Awards project manager Melissa Mebus on, or call 04 384 6447 if you’d like to sponsor the Awards.



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Consumer NZ wants the best for New Zealand communication. Image by Daria Nepriakhina. Unsplash licence.

The Plain English Awards and Consumer NZ have something very important in common — we both want what’s best for New Zealanders.

The Plain English Awards is a not-for-profit charity that aims to raise the bar for clear communication. We want everyday New Zealanders to understand what’s written for them.

Consumer NZ is a non-profit organisation dedicated to getting New Zealanders a fairer deal. So it’ll be no surprise that Consumer NZ is a long-term supporter of the Plain English Awards. In particular, Consumer NZ has supported our People’s Choice categories for many years.

Consumer’s Chief Executive, Sue Chetwin, has been a member of our judging panel for several years, focusing specifically on our People’s Choice categories. She’s returning again this year as one of the panel judging our Worst Brainstrain category.

We’re sure you’ll join us too by nominating the best and the worst communications you find in your daily life. All of us want New Zealanders to be able to make legal, financial, health, and all sorts of other decisions with ease.

Take a look at what Consumer NZ has to say about this year’s People’s Choice Awards

Find out how to nominate documents here

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Taking care costs nothing and means everything. Image by Ross Findon. Unsplash licence

Read on for part 1 of the inspiring speech given by Lynda Harris, Awards founder and CE of main sponsor Write Limited, at the 2018 Plain English Awards

Good evening! Let me start with a question: Why are you here? What prompted you to enter the annual Plain English Awards? What brought you along tonight?

I’m pretty sure that you’re here because you care. You care about the cause. You care about the ideal of plain language because you understand the cost, in both financial and human terms, of poorly conceived and written communications. You care about wasted effort, wasted time, and wasted money.

And you care about the enormous disadvantage that poor writing can bring, especially when the communications are about access to justice, or help of some kind, or are connected with legal, financial, or health services.

It was the very same notion of care that prompted us, 13 years ago, to set up these Awards.

It was because they cared that our foundation sponsors, Consumer, TechCommNZ, and Graphic Solutions came on board, as did our other wonderful sponsors who followed.

And it was also that notion of care that led us to establish the WriteMark Plain Language Standard, now cleverly rebranded by Craig Christensen to reflect that central idea of — you got it — care.

Image, WriteMark Limited logo

The thought I’d like to leave you with tonight is that, rather than thinking of care as simply an emotion connected with plain language, let’s recognise that care has tremendous value in its own right. Care can be a powerful catalyst for action if we follow through on what we feel prompted to do.

I came to this conclusion after preparing for a presentation at Clarity2018 in Montreal recently. The conference was attended by over 500 delegates from around the world, most of them lawyers. In my presentation I explored the idea that having a set of strong, people-based values baked into the firm’s mission might lead naturally to clearer, more accessible law.

I interviewed several B Corp law firms in Australia and Canada. B Corps are accredited organisations that believe business can be a force for good in the world.

What struck me was that in each conversation the people I interviewed used the word care — a lot. They also used another word: ‘believe’. As they spoke about what they believed in, their values, and precisely what they care about, became clear.

Here’s what three of those firms said.

Alexandra Doig from Atticus values care in communication

I loved my interview with Alexandra Doig, Managing Partner of Atticus Lawyers in Melbourne, Australia. With strong convictions about human rights, Alexandra chose to get B Corp accreditation several years ago. Her core philosophy, ‘We believe in treating people as they would want to be treated’, shone through our entire conversation.

It’s not often you hear a lawyer say, ‘We want everyone to feel comfortable all of the time. We know clients are already stressed with the issue. We aim to reduce that stress and make them feel happier … create a safe space … feel that we are their cheerleaders.’

I asked Alexandra the all-important question: Does your chief value of ‘care’ influence the way you write to your clients? The answer: ‘Yes. Telling people what they need to know, and doing all we can to help, means we need to write like a human. We need to communicate clearly and personally in ways that don’t alienate. We can’t give a client a convoluted document. We have to walk the talk and act on what we believe in.

‘We could write a ten-page document. We try to write a one-pager that clearly captures the most important info, and that the client can easily understand and be comfortable with. It’s a calculated risk — with benefits.

‘We want to write in a way that gives clients that lightbulb moment. If a client doesn’t walk away with a greater understanding of their position than they had when they arrived, we haven’t done our job properly.’

Bravo, Alexandra!

Joel Cranshaw from Clearpoint. believes in simple legal services

Joel’s strapline on his website says it all: ‘Legal services — reimagined simply.’ With a background as an experienced corporate lawyer, Joel said he’d always loved solving client problems. But as time went on, he felt less and less comfortable in a system based on chargeable units. ‘I felt there was no incentive to be efficient, and this often led to friction between client and lawyer.’

Prompted by strong values that focused on serving the client in the best way possible, Joel conceived Clearpoint’s unusual model, where they work on retainer for small to medium-sized firms in Melbourne and beyond. Achieving B Corp status was a natural fit.

Joel is a straight talker: ‘We want to work with compassionate people who value what we do and whose approach aligns with the concept of conscious capitalism. We don’t work with clients who don’t have our values.’

When asked if his values-based approach created clearer law, Joel’s answer was unequivocal: ‘Yes! I say that for two reasons. Our retainer-based fee model means that we must work efficiently — so we must be clear, concise, and to the point. And what we believe in, our philosophical approach to compassionately meeting clients’ needs, also means that we must communicate in ways they can readily understand.’

Applause once more from me!

Sophie Tremblay from Novalex runs a purpose-driven business

Sophie’s was a bold start-up story — similar to the Suspended Coffee movement (buy a coffee, pay for two — those who can’t afford to pay get coffee for free). Sophie and her business partner Ryan Hillier set up Novalex to have a self-sufficient business model, serving both corporate clients and others who need legal help. Neither an exclusively for-profit business, nor an exclusively philanthropic organisation, Novalex is a purpose-driven enterprise doing business for good. For every fee-paying hour, they give a pro-bono hour to eligible start-ups, non-profits, or individuals.

In Sophie’s words, ‘We believe everyone should have access to justice and top-notch legal advice. We hope that corporate clients will see using Novalex as a socially responsible choice. And we hope to give back in any way we can.’

Does this values-based model create clearer law? Sophie: ‘Absolutely! We know that even the smartest people aren’t necessarily familiar with legal terms and concepts. So a huge part of what we do is to make the law understandable. We use concrete examples and remove the abstract, along with many other techniques such as metaphor (“It’s like…”), and “This means…” We remove jargon and make important concepts stand out. We do what we need to do to be understood.’

Care intuitively leads to plain language

Hearing this long list of useful and well-founded plain language techniques, I asked Sophie if she had ever had any formal plain language training. She hadn’t. Nor had Alexandra or Joel. Yet instinctively, motivated by strong human values and a sense of care, all three ticked so many plain language boxes.

My hypothesis was looking good — all three firms proving that care really can be a shortcut to plain language. Admittedly my sample size was only three, but these inspiring leaders and others like them are truly showing the way to clearer law using an approach based on care.

Find out more about each of the three firms here:




Find out more about the WriteMark Plain Language Standard

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Everyone wins with a sound sponsorship agreement. Photo by Shirly Niv Marton / Unsplash

Sponsorship isn’t about giving away money to a good cause: that’s donating. Sponsorship offers two parties the opportunity to be part of a win–win agreement.

In return for their support, sponsors get the same feel-good factor they would get from donating. But on top of that, they also get a return on the investment in their chosen cause. So, true sponsorship offers an organisation something sustainable and tangible in return for its commitment.

Sponsors get clear returns on their investment

Sponsoring the Plain English Awards offers clear returns on your investment, such as:

  • alignment with plain English values. You’re seen as customer-focused, transparent, and trustworthy
  • brand exposure. Forget about advertising! You’ll be widely promoted in our Awards publicity, reaching large groups of potential new customers
  • networking opportunities. Plain English Awards entries come from a huge range of public and private organisations. The networking opportunities you get from Awards forums (in person and online) offer a hugely valuable return, as does the actual presentation ceremony.

Is your organisation a sponsorship ‘best match’?

Looking at the values and aims of the Plain English Awards, and from our past experience, we know the types of organisations that benefit most from sponsorship.

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, sponsoring the Plain English Awards could be just the thing for you:

  • Do you want to reinforce to your clients or customers that you always work with their best interests in mind?
  • Do you want to reinforce to your clients or customers that you are transparent in your dealings with them and with other organisations?
  • Do you want to be part of a movement to improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them?
  • Do you want to help build a public preference for plain English?
  • Do you love celebrating success?

Answered ‘Yes’ to one of more of these questions? It’s time for a conversation!

We’d love to hear from you

Get in touch if you’d like to talk through sponsorship opportunities at this year’s Awards. We’d love to discuss a sponsorship arrangement that would benefit both the Awards and your organisation.

Phone:  +64 4 384 6447


Visit our website for more information about the 2018 Plain English Awards



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