The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research won the supreme The Dominion Post Gold Award at last night's 2014 Wellington Gold Awards.
The institute also won the Cyber Gold category for research into cancer immunology. Awards director John Dow said the institute was "New Zealand's leading independent medical research institute with a 30-year history of finding better treatments for cancer, asthma and allergies.
The institute's world-class technology underpinned advances in cancer immunology research, part of a worldwide effort that led to the prestigious Science magazine naming their work the worldwide scientific breakthrough for 2013, he said.
"If they can commercialise their cancer research, and that is the key for them, then you could find that we've got [something like] another film industry on our hands in Wellington."
Dow said the supreme award was judged by 40 people from across the business spectrum who ranked their top five finalists. "The overwhelming feedback from judges is that there is some very interesting things going on that you don't even know about. Companies emerge out of nowhere."
The science theme was evident in other category winners, notably Matakina Technology, which won Global Gold for its hi-tech suite of tools revolutionising breast cancer screening, and Honevo by HoneyLab, which picked up the Discovering Gold for creating a treatment for acne, nappy rash and rosacea from Kanuka superhoney.
The company plans to capitalise on the new market of "Pharmanaturals".
Also honoured last night in The Dominion Post's 2014 Tribute to a Wellington Icon was Sir Peter Jackson, the movie titan behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
In presenting Jackson's award to his representative, Matt Dravitzki, Fairfax central region general manager Gerard Watt outlined the producer's humble beginnings as one of the last apprentice photo engravers at The Evening Post. Jackson's early splatter movies - Bad Taste, Braindead, and Meet the Feebles - also had a link with The Evening Post , whose staff were often roped in as extras.
The Dominion Post-sponsored Gold Awards were held in front of an audience of more than 850 at the TSB Bank Arena.
- This story has been corrected
- The Dominion Post