New Zealander of the Year finalist nominations wow judges

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Finalists have been announced today for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2011. They include scientists, community activists, environmentalists, young people, elderly and charity workers, and business leaders.

Building on the success of the inaugural New Zealander of the Year Awards in 2010, the 2011 awards recognise, encourage and reward the remarkable individuals, organisations and community groups who inspire us through their commitment, hard work and achievement. Fifteen finalists making significant contributions to the positive development of New Zealand have been selected from hundreds of nominations.

The shortlist is Professor Sir Paul Callaghan, a leader and science champion who has achieved world-wide recognition as a physicist and contributed extensively to New Zealands economic success. Peri Drysdale, the founder and CEO of Untouched World. Peri is a pioneer of sustainable business practice, and has won many awards in design, business excellence, exporting, retail and ethical governance. Stephen Boxer, who works with the worst 10% of serious youth offenders in Auckland to turn their lives around.

An eminent panel of judges, including awards patron and former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, business leader Dr Roderick Deane, and opera virtuoso Dame Malvina Major carefully considered each nominee.

The calibre and number of nominations received this year has been outstanding. Its humbling to know that there are so many Kiwis out there who are contributing significantly to the positive growth of our nation. I feel honoured and privileged to be part of these awards for a second year running, says Mr Bolger.

Principal sponsor Kiwibank is joined by Countdown, Coca-Cola Amatil and Mitre 10 in sponsoring individual awards.

The New Zealander of the Year family of awards (see below for category details) sought nominations from fields including the arts, sport, community and voluntary sectors, health, public service, the environment, tourism, business, rural, education, entertainment, science, technology and culture.

The 2010 awards saw inventor Ray Avery recognised as New Zealander of the Year for his work to save the sight and lives of millions of the worlds poor by producing low cost, sustainable medical devices.

Nominations from all New Zealand citizens were welcomed.

The New Zealander of the Year Awards winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Auckland on Wednesday, 2 February 2011. The winner of each of the five categories will receive a handcrafted, New Zealand made trophy and $5,000 towards their work from sponsor Kiwibank. All nominees will receive a certificate of appreciation for the contributions they are making to New Zealand.

Finalists include:

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year – Awarded for major contribution to the nation, outstanding service to the country and inspiration through achievement.

Professor Sir Paul Callaghan, leading physicist, scientist, teacher and author, Wellington

Peri Drysdale, award winning sustainable business leader and exporter, Christchurch

Stephen Boxer, works with serious youth offenders reducing major offending, Auckland

Countdown Senior New Zealander of the Year

Celebrating ongoing achievement, this category is for those aged 60 and over who have made a major difference to New Zealand.

Rodger Beatson, Over 50 years of dedicated service to his entire community, Northland

Roy Bartlett, co-founder and more than full-time unpaid office manager, stage manager, secretary of the board of trustees at StarJam, a charitable performance organisation for young people with disabilities, Auckland

Alison Neil, creator of Moreh Home rest home and provider of over 30 years free care to the local elderly, South Canterbury

Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year – 15 to 30 year olds who are making a positive impact on the nation.

Carl Chenery, 28 year old youth leader, sustainability and climate change activist and leader of initiatives to make positive social environmental changes, Auckland

Geoff Cooper, entrepreneurial leader, charitable organisation volunteer and co-founder of not-for-profit development organisation working with disadvantaged communities in Myanmar, Auckland

Jamie Fenton, 17 year old youth role model and academic achiever. Inventor of a classroom noise level monitor for the National Foundation of the Deaf, New Plymouth

Mitre 10 Community of the Year – Acknowledges groups working together up and down the country to build stronger communities.

Christchurch Charity Hospital, Christchurch

The Gibbston Community Association, Queenstown

Aotea Family Support Group, Great Barrier Island

Kiwibank Local Heroes Awards

Recognises everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local communities.

From these winners, three nominees have been selected to go forward to the national awards.

Stephanie Harawira, Established a local community centre and development programmes to help families and young people in need, Waitakere, Auckland

Billy Graham, internationally renowned public speaker and creator of Naenae Boxing Academy – a place of encouragement and guidance for young men, Lower Hutt

Ros Rowe, youth worker and dedicated founder of the Leg-Up Trust a place that extends its arms to less fortunate young people to teach them valuable life skills, Hawkes Bay

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For more information about the awards and finalists, please contact:

Lucie Mairs

Core Communications

Luciem@corecom.co.nz

021 837 125

09 307 3937

Miriam McNicol

Core Communications

Miriam@corecom.co.nz

021 677 214

09 307 3937

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