(TVNZ) An Auckland University Maori Studies professor has been named New Zealander of the Year.
Dame Anne Salmond was awarded the title for her services in Maori and Pacific studies at a gala dinner in Auckland this evening.
The multi-award winning professor said it was a great and humbling honour to be selected for the New Zealander of the Year award.
“I think it’s a fantastic thing because it comes from the grass roots and the flax roots and that’s the thing I love about it.”
Dame Anne is author of seven award-winning books and a number of articles on Maori life and cross-cultural encounters in New Zealand and the Pacific.
As well as holding the title of Dame, she has many honours and titles to her name, and has served on a number of boards including chair of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and is a former Pro Vice-Chancellor at The University of Auckland.
Dame Anne is also an environmentalist and has been involved in restoration of Longbush Reserve near Gisborne over the last 12 years.
She said she had had a privileged life and career.
I suppose the thing when I look back is this idea of working in the middle ground across the divides, helping to build bridges, bringing people together in areas like environmental issues, or between Maori and other New Zealanders. I’ve just had such an amazing time”
The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year honours the achievements and contributions of a Kiwi who has made a major contribution to the nation, given outstanding service to the country, and provided inspiration to New Zealanders.
- Other finalists included a plastic surgeon Professor Swee Tan – whose research into the origin of strawberry birthmarks has had implications for the treatment of cancer – and technology entrepreneur Bill Buckley – who manufactures a silicon chip used in iPhones and LCD televisions.