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New Zealander of the Year finalists announced

Published: 5:01AM Monday January 16, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Richard Taylor holds World Class NZ supreme award (Source: ONE News)
    Richard Taylor holds World Class NZ supreme award - Source: ONE News

The finalists have been announced for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2012.

Now into its third year, the awards recognise individuals, organisations and community groups for their outstanding contributions to the nation.

The shortlist for the main award, New Zealander of the Year, includes Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Sir Richard Taylor and Dr Sharad Paul.

Nominations were whittled down by panels of judges made up of such figures as Jim Bolger, Sir Ray Avery, Michael Basset, Teresa Gattung and Peri Drysdale.

"The calibre and number of nominations received this year has been outstanding," Bolger said.

"It's humbling to know that there are so many Kiwis out there who are contributing significantly to the positive growth of our nation."

Three finalists were selected in each category, with the winners to be announced at a Gala dinner at the Langham Auckland tonight.

Dame Suzie Moncrieff is the creator of the World of Wearable Arts, which she started in a Nelson garage. The event is now one of the world's most prestigious art and design competitions.

Sir Richard Taylor's is the creator and head of Weta Workshop, most well-known for creating the props, costumes, prosthetics, miniatures and weaponry for Peter Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Sir Richard shared in the winning of four Academy Awards for the films.

Dr Sharad Paul, in 2010, invented the first new skin graft technique in 100 years, cutting costs, pain and healing time for patients.

He gives more than 5000 free skin cancer checks each year, and uses proceeds from his award winning bookstore to fund literacy programs in low decile Auckland schools.

Tonight will see awards also presented to the Senior New Zealander of the Year, Young New Zealander of the Year, Community of the Year and Local Heroes.

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.

Finalists include:

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year
Awarded for major contribution to the nation, outstanding service to the country and inspiration through achievement.
- Dame Suzie Moncreiff, visionary award winning entrepreneur in the arts, Nelson
- Sir Richard Taylor, taking NZ to the world in the film industry, Wellington
- Dr Sharad Paul, medical doctor inventing revolutionary skin grafting techniques, 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.
- Don McKenzie, continues to dedicate his life to enhance the quality of others despite being blind, Waiheke Island
- Malcolm Cameron, a social entrepreneur and founder of the Malcam Charitable Trust, a major provider of youth development and support programmes, Dunedin
- Pat Magill, over 30 years of significant contributions to his community, Napier
Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year
Fifteen to thirty year olds who are making a positive impact on the nation.
- Bailey Lovett, carried out an internationally awarded project in final school year based in marine science that has made a significant difference to the environment, Bluff
- Sam Johnson, founder and leader of the Student Volunteer Army in Christchurch that makes a significant difference to stricken communities, Christchurch
- Elizabeth Chan, through significant voluntary roles is passionate about empowering youth, improving access to justice and advancing women's and refugees' rights Waitakere
Mitre 10 Community of the Year
Acknowledges groups working together up and down the country to build stronger communities.
- Christchurch Charity Hospital, this global model for professional volunteerism provides a community-funded and volunteer-staffed hospital, Christchurch
- The Paeroa Community, has demonstrated the positive impact that a large number of volunteers has seen the community develop to be a safe and vibrant, Paeroa
- The Asian Events Trust, a charitable organisation that was set up to organise the Wellington Chinese New Year Festival bringing together over 35,000 people in 2011, Wellington
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.
- John Hartnell, nominated in recognition of his leadership of Federated Farmers 'Farmy-Army', which assisted the earthquake recovery after the February and June events, Christchurch
- Henare O'Keefe, overcoming significant challenges inspires and uplifts his community through seeking to reverse negative social statistics, combating family violence; & mentoring youth Hastings
- Bernie Monk, voluntary spokesperson for the Pike River Families representing the group with strength, dignity and maintaining strong advocacy on its behalf, Greymouth