Nicky Primrose (Mitre 10 (NZ) Ltd)

Nominee/entrant details

Nicky Primrose, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Business Partner

Employer details

Mitre 10 (NZ) Ltd

Size: 5,000-9,999 staff

Industry: Retail Trade

Background on entrant/nominee's employer

Mitre 10 is one of New Zealand’s most iconic and trusted brands. As New Zealand’s largest home improvement and garden retailer, we employ more than 6,300 team members across more than 150 locations. Our cooperative of businesses is owned by New Zealand families, and we are a major contributor to local communities. From Kaitaia to Invercargill, our people are at the heart of our business. They’re one of the main reasons why our customers choose us. That’s why we prioritise the safety and wellbeing of every team member – now, more than ever, in our near 50-year history.

Executive summary

The retail industry is a challenging one. Competition is unrelenting, staff turnover is high, and public aggression towards customer-facing employees is on the increase. Furthermore, we operate in an industry – construction - which sadly has the highest rate of suicide in Aotearoa. Nicky Primrose is an outstanding team member whose contribution to Mitre 10’s mental health programme has been instrumental. Her incredible work rate and compassionate nature has resulted in multiple, positive wellbeing outcomes that have touched our team members who make up the full diversity of NZ. Down-to-earth, fun and creative, we are very fortunate to have Nicky lead this space.

Authenticity and vulnerability

Nicky showed immense vulnerability and authenticity by sharing her personal experiences with mental health and those of her family at a recent Team Brief (a bi-monthly meeting attended by all staff at Support Centre – approx. 350 team members). With bravery and clarity, she shared her daughter’s journey with cancer, the loss of a parent, personal relationship breakups, and supporting two family members with anxiety. Her candid honesty and vulnerability enabled other team members to seek Nicky out as a listening ear; someone they feel comfortable sharing their own story or current mental health with. Nicky was quick to put her hand up to be trained as Mental Health First Aider when this training was first offered by St John. She has since promoted this training throughout our organisation. Nicky’s passion is helping others which is one of the reasons health, safety and wellbeing appeals to her. She quickly became the Wellbeing Lead for the business as she was a natural champion for this topic and wasn’t afraid to have those difficult conversations or try new things in this space. While working fulltime Nicky has also been studying and has just completed the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, showing a real dedication for learning and growing herself and her skill set. Nicky is also actively involved in a number of wellbeing collectives and forums allowing for networking and the sharing of resources and information.

Courage and leadership

Nicky displayed courage as a leader to suggest and subsequently organise Mitre 10’s inaugural PRIDE event. This highly successful event was new territory for a mature and traditional organisation. But Nicky’s infectious enthusiasm resulted in the entire Support Centre building being decorated with rainbow balloon garlands, streamers and banners. She also initiated a Support Centre team lunch to create awareness, equality and to be accepting of all. Nicky shows great leadership, motivation and commitment to wellbeing and destigmatising the previously unspoken topics around mental health, bullying and harassment. She encourages and empowers team members to speak up against bullying/harassment by running awareness events like Pink Shirt Day and being instrumental in the implementation and nationwide roll out of an independent external company run Ethical Reporting Hotline (Report It Now). Not being scared to try new things, Nicky put together a series of meditation sessions for team members to try. She actively promoted the benefits of putting yourself first and taking a few minutes each day to calm the mind chatter. The uptake of these sessions surprised many and those that didn’t initially understand the concept or had put it in the ‘fluffy’ basket were the ones that came back to more sessions. Putting the Wellbeing Wednesday videos together meant Nicky had to put herself in front of the camera, again showing leadership and courage to step out of her comfort zone.

Engagement and communication

Nicky is an exceptional communicator. Colleagues radiate towards her warm and humble personality. Her communication style is very natural and engaging – both in person, in writing and on video. Nicky uses a wide range of collaborative and effective communication techniques to engage with key stakeholders and team members. These channels include a dedicated site within Mitre 10’s Sharepoint site - FEELwell - Yammer, Teams, team meetings, internal newsletters, huddles and email. Nicky single-handedly created the FEELwell (Flourish, Engage, Encourage, Learn) intranet SharePoint site. This has become an essential resource within the Mitre 10 network which she continues to manage and maintain. Engagement is high, often with each new piece of content attracting hundreds of views and positive reactions. This site features up-to- date and topical content, resources, information, links to articles, webinars and more. Nicky has also presented a series of Wellbeing Wednesday videos. These were created to boost engagement and enable the team to gather some analytics around traffic increase to the FEELwell SharePoint site. The content included some short fun videos demonstrating things like how to create some healthy snacks and meals, sharing daily rituals to boost mental health and basic yoga and meditation demos. Nicky belongs to the Rangai Wellbeing Collective group. After hearing Grant Pritchard talk at one of their events, Nicky arranged for Grant to be a guest speaker to the entire Mitre 10 network, on the important topic of mental health.


Nicky regularly presents fresh ideas and is a key influencer for mental health initiatives. Mitre 10 wanted to run a nationwide wellbeing initiative that would not only benefit its own team members but would also have a flow on societal impact. In order to provide an initiative of value, Nicky created a Wellbeing Survey in early 2021 for the whole Mitre 10 network. She coordinated the survey across both the national Support Centre and the network of stores. This included liaising, collaborating and influencing various key stakeholders and senior leaders, creating and rolling out communications and having posters created and sent out to all stores. She is a key driver of the Mental Health Awareness Week each year. She organises activities for every day of this week (Guest speakers [Tui Fleming & Wade Jackson], smoothie tastings, local walks, skin checks, financial wellbeing sessions, yoga/meditation, competitions). Nicky has organised Listening Sessions using the Mental Health First Aiders as facilitators. These sessions gave team members an opportunity to talk about and reflect on their experience over the past year through the various lockdowns and whole Covid experience (good and bad) and sought feedback around mental health using questions like: • What would make you feel safe and supported to talk about your mental health? • What were the positive things that have come out of this experience, that you don’t want to lose? • What are your ideas as to how we can be an even better business in the future from these learnings? The responses were shared with the Executive Leadership Team and changes to the organisation were made as a result. Outcomes included updating the Flexible Working Policy; allowing more people to work from home; providing team members the option to purchase home office equipment at discounted rates; education and training for people leaders around mental health. Nicky attended and promoted the Open Minds webinars and eLearning modules created by the Mental Health Foundation which resulted in the MHF interviewing her and creating a case study which is now published on their website and social media channels -see Supporting Document) Nicky has made a significant positive impact on mental health in our workplace by consistently providing messaging and resources around mental health, putting together resource packs, running events, providing communications, raising awareness and destigmatising the topic.


Nicky has high emotional intelligence and operates with a very inclusive approach. She ensures the diversity in our workplace is celebrated and ensures wellbeing initiatives are tailored to the many different cultures in the business (i.e. Chinese New Year, Diwali, PRIDE, Matariki) as well as offering a variety of initiatives to cater to all different socio economic and demographic team members (hearing tests, skin checks, spinal checks, flu vaccinations, financial wellbeing). She also shines the light on anti-bullying and harassment through events like Pink Shirt Day. And this year, Mitre 10 rans its inaugural PRIDE event to celebrate inclusiveness and acceptance of all.

Innovation and creativity

Nicky was a key organiser of the extremely successful Gumboot Friday event run at our Support centre. This raised over $6000 for mental health counselling for youth. Nicky arranged for a huge raffle (with literally hundreds of prizes) using her first-class communication skills. She successfully secured multiple stakeholders in the business to get involved and lend their support. Prizes included a lawnmower, pizza oven, gift baskets, tools, gift hampers and more. A mini market was also coordinated which sold baked goods, crafts and product samples. Nicky was a key organiser of a Wellbeing Wednesday campaign which included putting together videos showcasing herself (and others) doing various wellbeing activities. These videos demonstrated innovation and creativity in getting wellbeing messages across the organisation and analytics showed the rise in engagement levels. The video of Nicky making the Chocolate Bliss Balls from a Healthy Food Guide recipe evidenced innovation and creativity beautifully.

Supporting materials (optional)

Photograph of entrant/nominee (optional)

Link to video (optional)

Referee details

Shirley Kennett, Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing (Mitre 10 (NZ) Limited)

0274452483 • [email protected]

Key contact

Anna Campbell, Chief People & Transformation Officer (Mitre 10 (NZ) Limited)

0272173983 • [email protected]

6 Months
Since posted
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