Former New Zealand rugby captain and charity leader Richie McCaw was named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2016 at the gala awards ceremony held last Wednesday at The Langham, Auckland.
McCaw was presented with the award by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key, and received the Kiwibank award winner’s kaitaka huaki cloak, Pouhine, from last year’s New Zealander of the Year, Sir Stephen Tindall.
In his 14-year professional rugby career McCaw has achieved unrivalled success as a leader and inspirational player.
Off the field McCaw has devoted much of his time to helping other Kiwis. He has fundraised for the Christchurch rebuild and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand. As patron of the Catwalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust, McCaw helped raise $200,000 for research into the development of a cure for spinal cord injury.
In 2009, McCaw and fellow All Blacks Dan Carter and Ali Williams set up the For Everyone Charity. Now called iSPORT, it works with schools, and local, regional and national sporting bodies to support young sportspeople and teams to succeed in their chosen fields.
“Although each comes from very different backgrounds, this year’s three finalists embody the core values we aspire to as Kiwis – aspiration, ambition, drive and determination.
“Given the calibre of this year’s finalists it was tough for the judging panel to select the winner but we felt that Richie McCaw’s contribution to New Zealand on and off the rugby field was simply extraordinary.
“As a rugby player Richie always led by example and it’s a special quality he has translated to his charitable work outside the game. His courage, leadership and humility is an inspiration to legions of Kiwi kids.
“Richie is the genuine article and a truly worthy recipient of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award.”
University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year: Lydia Ko (Auckland) – for excellence and achievement in sport
Lydia Ko is a New Zealand professional golfer who, at the age of 17 became the youngest world No. 1-ranked professional – male or female – in the game.
In April 2014, Lydia was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people. In November 2015 she won the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award, making her the youngest winner in the 49 years of the award’s history.
In both 2014 and 2015 Lydia was named on espnW’s list of 25 athletes and influencers who have made the greatest impact for women in sport.
Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year: John Russell (Wellington) – for services to education
Veteran educator John Russell is principal of Naenae College, having transformed the school into a thriving hub for the community.
John is dedicated to leading, mentoring and supporting his peers. He is committed to fostering talent and leadership among the education profession and he invests time and energy exposing future educational leaders to innovative ways of thinking. He models collaborative and considered leadership. John’s drive is for better educational outcomes for all.
His significant contribution to New Zealand education has resulted in him developing, leading and mentoring many current secondary school principals around the country.
Mitre 10 Community of the Year: Community Fruit Harvesting (Auckland, national) – for contribution to community wellbeing
Community Fruit Harvesting collects and redistributes unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards to food banks, charities, schools and others in need.
The group was started in 2011 by North Shore resident Di Celliers and currently operates in 11 centres around New Zealand.
In Auckland, more than 4000kg of fruit and 800 bottles of jam and preserves were donated to charities in 2011. This has since increased to an estimated 20,000kg of fruit and 2000 jars of preserves annually.
The main recipient for fruit and preserves was initially the Auckland City Mission, which supplies 70 food banks across the city, but now includes more than 46 other recipients, including many other charities, schools, refugee outreach centres, student support centres and community groups.
Community Fruit Harvesting now has groups in Auckland, Hibiscus Coast, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Whangarei, Manawatu, Tauranga, Warkworth, Puhoi, Nelson, Gisborne, Whanganui, Dunedin and Blenheim.
Sanitarium Innovator of the Year: HYVAN Anaesthesia Ltd (Kaiapoi) – for innovation in medicine
In recognition of the inadequacy of anaesthetic equipment in the Pacific Islands, Kaiapoi anaesthetist John Hyndman and Auckland engineer Ivan Batistich developed a simple, robust, cheap anaesthetic machine – the HYVAN.
The HYVAN can be easily repaired in a hospital workshop and yet is sophisticated and safe enough to provide a quality anaesthetic.
Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year: Selwyn Cook (Hamilton) – for disability advocacy and support
Selwyn owns and operates 11 Shell and Z Energy Service Stations throughout the Waikato. Trading as SSC Service Stations, under Selwyn’s leadership the family-run business has developed a strong workplace culture of caring, family values and looking out for each other.
Selwyn works with organisations such as Workbridge, Enrich+, the Blind Foundation and Idea Services to recruit people with physical and mental disabilities. In the past three years he has employed nearly 80 jobseekers through Workbridge alone.
Join us in congratualting our amazing 2016 Winners. Also a special mention to all the finalists in each category, unfortunatley there can only be one winner. But our finalists are all outstanding New Zealanders, doing great things for our country. We sure are proud to be Kiwi!
Photos from the night can now be found on our Facebook page: