Previous winners


Finalist Marie senior

Marie Jujnovich

Marie Jujnovich has been supporting children and whānau impacted by childhood heart conditions for the past 30 years as a Volunteer Family Support Taituarā. She started volunteering in June 1991 at Green Lane Hospital, spending four days per week on the wards. Following the transfer of the paediatric cardiac team to Starship Children’s Hospital in 2003, Marie continued to support Heart Kids NZ members on ward 23b. Up until lockdown 2021, Marie was still on the ward two days per week from 6.30am to 2.00pm – at age 85 years. When lockdown prevented her from supporting in person, Jujnovich embraced technology and posted weekly messages of support and encouragement which received hundreds of positive responses. Affectionately known as ‘Nana Marie’, Jujnovich has been a beacon of light for thousands of New Zealanders at some of their most difficult times.

Finalist Mark Dunajischtik.png

Sir Mark Dunajtschik

Born in Yugoslavia but of German ethnicity, Sir Mark Dunajtschik spent three years in a Yugoslav concentration camp during WWII before escaping with his mother and becoming a refugee in Germany. He eventually arrived in New Zealand, where decades later he is considered one of our nation’s most significant philanthropists – pouring his time, energy and resources into a diverse range of causes. In 2022 – along with his life and business partner, Dorothy Spotswood – Dunajtschik has once again channelled his success back into the community, with a recent commitment to donating $40 million-$50 million towards a new acute mental health unit at Hutt Hospital (following a $50m donation to build a new children's hospital in 2017). Among his many endeavours, his financial support enabled Wellington helicopter pilot, the late Peter Button, to set up an air rescue service, now called the Life Flight Trust, which has been credited with saving 22,000 lives.

Finalist Professor Sir Pou Temara

Professor Sir Pou Temara

Professor Sir Pou Temara (Ngāi Tūhoe) is an internationally renowned professor of Māori language, knowledge and culture. Raised by his grandparents in a Tūhoe environment where te reo was the first language, Temara went on to become a Māori academic, a professor of te reo and tikanga at Waikato University, and both a student and a tutor at Victoria University of Wellington as well as Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. He is considered one of the most significant cultural authorities on whaikōrero whakapapa and karakia, and was one of three founding directors of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Māori, the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language under the umbrella of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He empowers youth and supports women initiatives. He is widely credited with playing a crucial role to the survival of te reo Māori, and is regarded as a leader, mentor and inspiration to people across Aotearoa.


Category Criteria

To be eligible for this award, the nominee must be aged over 70 years and continue to make a positive contribution in Aotearoa, following their career in any service, sector or field. The nominee must be a role model to the wider community, particularly over the past 12-months.

Nominators should consider talking about the following areas in their nomination:

  • THE NOMINEE: Describe the person you are nominating and what they’ve done later in life to inspire you to nominate them as 2023 Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau.
  • PURPOSE: Who benefits from the work, contribution, or influence of this person - and how?
  • LEADERSHIP & SERVICE: How does this person set a positive example of being a senior member of the community - showing potential for making change at any age.
  • COMMITMENT: Describe the commitment of time, risks, and challenges overcome to create an impact to this point (this may still be ongoing). What have they done that has gone above and beyond following their career, achievements, or service to create change and give back?
  • PROVEN IMPACT: How has this person clearly demonstrated a positive impact in their area of influence? How has this been measured?
  • LONG-TERM IMPACT: If known, how does the nominee plan to continue, grow, and/or adapt their work, contribution, or influence going forward? How would winning this award impact this person and the work that they are doing?

Conditions of Entry

“We’re absolutely delighted to support the Senior New Zealander of the Year award. We know there are thousands of older Kiwis who never retire, and continue to make a massive contribution to their communities and New Zealand as a whole. We think this award is an excellent way of recognising how much they give back.”
Richard Umbers
Group CEO, Ryman Healthcare