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New Zealander of the Year finalists announced

Published: 8:03AM Friday January 18, 2013 Source: ONE News

  • New Zealander of the Year
    Bill Buckley, Swee Tan and Dame Anne Salmond

The finalists for this year's New Zealander of the Year Awards have been announced, and it looks like stiff competition.

The top 15 include global entrepreneurs, environmental activists, revolutionary medical practitioners, extraordinary young people, charity workers and volunteers.

A plastic surgeon with pioneering cancer research, a man who makes microchips for iPhones, and a young dentist who set up a free dental programme for the homeless will compete with a young paralympian and an historian, among others, to claim the coveted title.

The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2013 will receive a $5000 donation towards their chosen work, as well as a trophy, when their name is read out at the gala dinner ceremony in Auckland on February 28.

For the fourth year running the award will be given to someone who has earned the respect of their community through their tireless and inspirational work.

Organisers received almost a thousand nominations as people put forward names of individuals and community organisations they believed deserve to be honoured at this year's awards, and the judges have whittled those down to a final 15.

This year's panel of judges included awards patron Jim Bolger, 2010 New Zealander of the Year Sir Ray Avery, former Olympian Beatrice Faumuina and business leaders Sir Roderick Deane and Jenny Morell along with broadcasters Cameron Bennett, Mark Jennings and Bill Francis, and community leaders Dame Rosie Horton and Bill Kerridge.

Their shortlist includes Wellington professor Swee Tan, a plastic surgeon whose research into the origin of strawberry birthmarks and their treatment, has some exciting implications for the treatment of cancer and regenerative medicine.

Finalist Dame Anne Salmond is a writer, historian and Distinguished Professor of Maori Studies and Anthropology at the University of Auckland while Bill Buckley, a man described as "a bloke in faded overalls who runs a nondescript factory" in fact makes 90% of the world's silicon chips which help power Apple iPhones and iPods, LCD televisions and DVD players.

FINALISTS:

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

Awarded for major contribution to the nation, outstanding service to the country and inspiration through achievement.

* Professor Swee Tan, revolutionary plastic surgeon, Wellington

* Bill Buckley, global entrepreneur, Auckland

* Dame Anne Salmond, writer, historian & environmentalist, 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.

* Marcia Read, devoted over 35 years of her life to helping sufferers of Anxiety Disorders and their families. Founder of the Phobic Trust, Auckland

* Ian Grant, established the Parenting Place helping to set parents up with tools to enable them to better raise and relate to their children, promoting the roles of fathers and encouraging positive male role-models for children to have in their lives, Auckland

* Dorothy Hopkins is legendary in New Zealand musical circles and for well over 60 years has contributed in areas of the arts and community. She has entertained thousands of Kiwis and through her teaching and training continues to entertain generations of New Zealanders by way of her amazing pupils, Auckland

Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year

15 to 30 year olds who are making a positive impact on the nation.

* Assil Russell, a 23-year-old dentist from Hamilton. She established and runs the Revive a Smile programme, aimed at providing Hamilton's homeless and disadvantaged people with free dental care. Assil established ICARE, New Zealand's first and only registered medical and dental charity for Iraqi orphans.

* Sophie Pascoe from Christchurch is an amazing role model for all young aspiring athletes, regardless of disability. She recently won three gold and three silver medals at the London Paralympics.

* Sam Judd, Auckland, is passionate about educating the public about environmental, health, social and economic consequences of marine debris and is co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines.

Mitre 10 Community of the Year

Acknowledges groups working together up and down the country to build stronger communities.

* The Hawea Community, a small community of 3000 in the lakes area of Central Otago, which has worked tirelessly together to improve infrastructure in response to growth. Hawea has maintained a strong community spirit and worked proactively to preserve the unique beauty of the area.

* Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust, a nationwide group that has over 5200 members and provides information, support, advice and advocacy for grandparents raising their grandchildren/kin on a full-time basis.

* The community of Uawa - Tolaga Bay, population 800, have completed some very important, ambitious and inspiring projects, including the Transit of Venus and raising $5.5m for the wharf restoration

Kiwibank Local Heroes Awards

Recognises everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local communities.

* Jade Temepara of Ashburton, established Hand Over a Hundy, an initiative giving families the funds, tools and education to grow their own vegetable gardens

* Jim Morunga of Napier, an inspiration for kapo Maori and disabled Maori, an advocate for guide dogs in the Maori and Pacific Island communities and a local community leader. As a co-ordinator of the Kia Piki te Ora Suicide Prevention programme, he has had a huge impact on many lives.

* Scott Gilmour of Auckland, pioneered and developed New Zealand's very first I Have a Dream programme in the low socio-economic community of Wesley, Mt Roskill, Auckland in 2003.

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