Auckland Local Heroes honoured for services to the community

1 Dec 2016

Auckland Local Hero Ceremony
Auckland Local Hero Ceremony

As part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2017, the 61 winners of the Local Heroes category were presented with their awards last night at a special medal presentation ceremony held at MOTAT Aviation Hall.

1 December 2016

Local Heroes honoured for services to the community

Everyday people doing exceptional things were the toast of the town last night as Auckland honoured its very own “Local Heroes”.

As part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards 2017, the 61 winners of the Local Heroes category were presented with their awards last night at a special medal presentation ceremony held at MOTAT Aviation Hall.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was on hand to present the medals. He congratulated the recipients on their award and acknowledged the vital contribution they had made to their communities.

“These medal winners are the unsung heroes of our communities. Their selflessness has a profound effect on the lives of many people and I want to thank everyone who was considered for an award for their positive contribution to our city and country,” he said.

The recipients of the Kiwibank Local Hero Awards for Auckland were:

Alan Breslau

Alan Lyth

Amanda Fraser Jones

Bob Kerridge*

Chris Paulsen**

David Letele (Father)

Delwyn Breslau

Eliza McCartney

Evelyn Cassie

Gail Paul

Gary Diprose

Grace Benson

Gwenda Holster-Dowler

Hartley Holder

Hayden Smith

Heather Laanbroek*

Hurimoana Dennis

Iris Donoghue

Jamie Beaton

Jasmine McPhee

Jeffrey Paterson

Jenene Crossan

Jennifer Gill

Joseph Fa'afiu

Joshua Iosefo

Julie King*

Julie Lee

Kahurangi Taylor

Katherine Corich

Kelly Kidd

Laura Howard

Liam Malone

Lillian Grace

Lisa King*

Liz Manley

Lizzie Marvelly

Mark Webster

Marty Smith

Matua Witika

Megan Lloyd

Michael Meredith*

Mike Carter

Mike King*

Mike Lloyd

Morgan Sobanja

Nadia Lim

Nikki Denholm

Orquidea Mortera

Parshotam Govind

Peter Clifton-Sprigg

Rachel Petero

Ramon Narayan

Richard Carrington

Robb Henry

Robert Bruce

Rodney Wayne

Samuel Kau

Sarah Colcord

Senthil Perumal

Shauna Eldridge

Sian Simpson

Simon Carryer

Simon Thomas

Sonia Faulkner

Stephen Theobald

Sue Crawshay

Tim Seabrook

Tricia Clarkson

The Kiwibank Local Hero awards are now New Zealand’s premier community award and give thanks to those providing a positive contribution to their region, town, suburb or community. Nearly 350 medals will be presented nationwide during November and December.

Kiwibank CEO, Paul Brock, said that Kiwibank was proud to be supporting local communities celebrate their outstanding citizens over the past eight years.

“New Zealand has a long-standing tradition of community service. It’s therefore equally important that we have a tradition, like the Local Heroes Awards, where we can give our thanks to those who have improved the lives of others in their communities.”

The 2017 New Zealander of the Year Awards are presented in six award categories. The overall winner for each category will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala in February 2017.

In December, the judging panel - comprising representatives of all the awards patrons, presenters, sponsors, community leaders and independent experts - will announce the 10 semi-finalists for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year and supporting categories.

The categories are:

• The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

• The Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year

• The University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year

• The Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year

• The Sanitarium New Zealand Innovator of the Year

• The Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year

*Previous medal recipient is ineligible for a second medal but will be considered for the National Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award which will be announced at the Gala on 22nd February, 2017.

** Chris Paulsen lives in Auckland but will be receiving his medal in Nelson on Friday 9th December

Media contact: Nicky Barton, 0273 060603

For images and further details on the recipients:

Glyn Taylor, New Zealander of the Year Awards, 021 671799,

Editors notes: 

Auckland’s Local Heroes

Central Auckland

Iris Marie Donoghue (Three Kings)

Iris was recognised for her services to the environment in the Queen’s Honours of 2005. She has continued to make a significant impact both locally and nationally since then.

Iris is still actively involved in a number of trusts and organisations, despite formally ‘retiring’ a few years ago. Beginning in 1992 and continuing to the present, Iris volunteers up to 20 hours per week to various organisations and projects. This work has included resurrecting the Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Be A Tidy Kiwi brands which will have a lasting impact on the New Zealand environment.

Iris is the founding chair of the Tag Out Trust, where she spearheaded an all-of-Auckland graffiti strategy that remains in place to this day. In 2014 she launched the Whau Coastal Walkway Environment Trust, kick-starting a multi-year project to link the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours.

New Zealand is a better place, both now and in the future, because of the work that Iris is doing.

Ramon Narayan (Ponsonby)

Youth worker and poet, Ramon has been working for the last fifteen years in many community roles including facilitating groups, leading youth advisory and participation processes, mentoring, coordinating events and developing youth development tools and models.

In 2010 Ramon took on the role of manager for Action Education. The role has seen him facilitate and develop several programmes including the Drama Toolkit, the Breakdown DJ Programme, and spoken word poetry workshops, while supporting a team of youth workers and facilitators. 

Today, he has positively changed thousands of young lives and is leading an inspiring and creative movement of youth development in New Zealand.

Lizzie Marvelly (Parnell)

Lizzie is a singer, writer and editor who is best known for her career as a classical crossover vocalist and her many performances of the New Zealand national anthem at rugby games.

While Lizzie traverses many diverse paths, her journey started with her love for music. In just ten years, Lizzie has become something of an industry veteran at the age of 26.

In May 2015, Lizzie launched, an online media project aiming to create smart, ‘no-filter’ media for young women.

In September 2015, Lizzie launched Villainesse’s first major campaign, the globally-successful #MyBodyMyTerms. The campaign aimed to spark conversation about victim-blaming, revenge porn, consent and sexual violence. The #MyBodyMyTerms videos have been viewed over 450,000 times, and received press attention from the Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed US, Cosmopolitan US, Bustle, and the New Zealand Herald.

She was invited to speak at TEDx Auckland 2016, presenting a talk about the need for open discussion and comprehensive education around sex and sexuality and she has been an ambassador for Variety - The Children's Charity since 2011.

Morgan Sobanja (Grey Lynn)

Morgan has spent the last 25 years dedicating his life to helping others. He has spent over 13 years as a volunteer for the New Zealand Fire Services.

He has also volunteered his time in support of events for breast cancer and prostate cancer. This has included organizing ‘Bikers in Blues’, an annual motorcycle charity ride to raise awareness and funds for the Prostate Foundation of New Zealand.

The ride now involves more than 300 riders and raises in the region of $16,000 annually.

Morgan’s involvement in Bikers in Blues aims to save many lives through encouraging men to get prostate checks and to catch cancer before it is too late.

Rachel Petero (Mt Eden)

Rachel is a global entrepreneur firmly rooted in her rich Māori heritage which has led her back to Aotearoa after 15 years abroad.

With a vision to develop purposeful leaders who rise to empower many, Rachel is the founder of GENVIVA, RP Enterprise & Investment Ltd, Women Leading Change Qatar and Rise 2025. She is a woman of influence in many New Zealand and international communities.

Rachel is also a board member of Kiwa-Middle East in Abu Dhabi and an advisory board member to Global Angels Foundation.

The launch of #rise2025 coaching and leadership for indigenous women in December 2015 was the beginning of a 10-year strategy which is starting in Aotearoa. By 2025, 100,000 indigenous women and girls will be positively impacted by #rise2025 globally.

Hayden Smith (Auckland Central)

Concerned about the state of New Zealand’s coastline, Hayden persuaded the then five Mayors of the greater Auckland region to sponsor him and for the past 13 years he has been cleaning up the coastlines around Waitemata Harbour.

Each year he has to raise funds for this work cleaning up the coastline with self-formed Sea Cleaners Trust. The Trust has been blessed with money from philanthropic trusts who see the benefits of what Hayden and his team are doing and want to support him in his endeavours.

Hayden’s work has also attracted international support. He is the only recipient of the Clearwater Award outside of the USA for his work in cleaning up the environment.

He also gives talks to teenagers of secondary schools around the region sharing his message for healthier coastlines.

During a visit to Hawaii, Hayden decided to help clean up part of the coastline and caught the attention of the US Navy stationed at Pearl Harbour. This year Hayden returned to Hawaii at the time of the RIMPAC Navy exercises and was instrumental in organising a joint clean-up project with the combined cadets of both the US and NZ Navies.

Hayden is a young man who has achieved more than many in their life time and is a citizen that New Zealand should be proud of.

Joshua Iosefo (Auckland)

Joshua is ‎lead mentor in the Office of Pacific Advancement at Auckland University of Technology.

His quest to change the lives of Pacific people living here in New Zealand began at high school. Of Samoan and Niuean decent, his speech ‘Brown Brother’ went viral in his final year of high school. The speech’s message of equality transcended gender, ethnicity, generations and nations.

Joshua continued to advocate for Pacific people during his three year Bachelor of Communications Studies degree. His speech on his graduation once again silenced the crowd and brought questions of equality and inclusion into the light.

Now as lead mentor in the Office of Pacific Advancement at Auckland University, Joshua is making a positive change in the lives of fellow Pacific Island students. Through his work, Joshua is challenging statistics of Pacific Island success and paving the way for more New Zealanders to reach high levels of achievement.

Hartley Holder (Three Kings)

Hartley is a young woman with a passion for protecting and improving the lives of all animals, in particular guinea pigs. In October 2012, at just 14 years old she started a guinea pig rescue centre. Now, at 17, with the support of her mother, she has turned their Auckland home into a rescue centre for abandoned, neglected and unwanted guinea pigs.

Hartley, who has autism, named the rescue centre Auckland Cavy Care and has managed it successfully while studying full time to be a vet nurse and working a part time job at the local vet practice.

In addition to her work with guinea pigs she also has a concern for the welfare of other animals collecting stray cats and dogs and taking them to the SPCA.

Nikki Denholm (Freemans Bay)

Nikki’s camera lens has seen a lifetime of stories. Her images, captured across 30 countries have told the tales of those often unable to speak for themselves.

Nikki’s drive for justice has seen her publish large format works and fundraising exhibits, granting a much-needed voice to the voiceless. This has included Somalia’s refugee camps, Ethiopia’s orphanages, India’s alleyway brothels and prisons from around the globe.

Her health background has seen her work as a consultant for the New Zealand Ministry of Health specialising in gender issues amongst migrant/refugee women and working with key international women’s organisations working against traditional harmful practices.

She founded the New Zealand Female Genital Mutilation Education (FGM) Programme and the New Zealand National African Refugee HIV/AIDS Education Programme. Nikki was appointed as an FGM Technical Advisor for the WHO, Geneva in 1999.

Orquidea Tamayo Mortera (Mt Roskill)

Orquidea has been employed by the Selwyn Foundation as a diversional therapist since 2015. The Selwyn Foundation provide quality retirement living, care and community services to the over 65s and as a diversional therapist, Orquidea is in charge of arranging and delivering leisure based activity programmes.

In this role, she continues to go well beyond the scope of her paid position to ensure that the residents are happy, active and stimulated.

She has shifted the focus of the Selwyn Foundation to offer a more robust and holistic healthcare and while it has been a team effort her colleagues say there is no doubt that Orquidea has been in the driving seat.

Orquidea is having a positive influence on the lives of many in the Selwyn Foundation’s care, making her a hero to both residents and her colleagues.

Jennifer Gill (Ponsonby)

Jennifer is chief executive of Foundation North, the community trust for Auckland and Northland. With an endowment of over a billion dollars, it invests around $40 million a year in regional arts, sports, conservation, community groups, major regional facilities and innovative social change initiatives.

Jenny, who has been chief executive since 2004, is recognised as an outstanding leader of New Zealand’s philanthropic sector.

Jenny's achievements include pioneering “venture philanthropy” for New Zealand through a $20 million investment in initiatives to raise Maori and Pacific student achievement.

She has been involved in the creation of New Zealand's Centre for Social Impact, Foundation North's social enterprise, which shares its experience in effective grant-making and investment in innovative social change initiatives.

Rodney Wayne (Auckland Central)

Arguably, Rodney Wayne is the most recognisable name in hair care in New Zealand.

Rodney opened his first salon in Australia 48 years ago and returned to open his first New Zealand salon in Auckland’s CBD in 1980. The Rodney Wayne stable has expanded to 37 salons and 14 Shampoo ‘n’ Things haircare stores across the country employing 400 staff.

Through his business he has provided hundreds of young New Zealanders with employment opportunities through apprenticeships and mentored them through the start of their hairdressing careers.

Rodney Wayne’s salons also have had a long standing association with the Leukemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and the Shave for a Cure campaign.

Jenene Crossan (Auckland Central)

Jenene is a renowned digital entrepreneur, specialising in predicting, understanding and developing technologies to underpin the evolving consumer behaviour.

She began her career at digital stalwarts Info Tools at the age of 16, by 20 she has launched which has grown into the larest social magazine in New Zealand. She remains a director of the business today.

In 2014 Jenene founded Ltd, a social influence agency. This business now represents 400+ influencers.

Most recently, Jenene founded Flossie, an intelligent assistant which enables customers to book hair and beauty appointments via their mobile phone. Jenene’s entrepreneurship has been not just useful but a positive influence on many New Zealanders.

Mark Webster (Auckland Central)

Mark has been a community pharmacist for 25 years and established Stay Well Pharmacy in June 2001. He continues to step outside of the four walls of his own pharmacy to provide support and mentoring to young and not-so young pharmacists.

Other contributions to the community include working at Pegasus Health during the first week after the February 22nd Christchurch earthquake providing support and coordinated help to Canterbury pharmacies, training of 11 interns since becoming a pharmacy owner, initiating the Community Pharmacy Codeine alert system (which is being implemented throughout New Zealand) and the development of a template with WINZ to help patients apply for funding for medications.

Mark was an inaugural committee member of the Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group, is current chair for the Pharmaceutical Services Limited board, was an expert advisor to the Health and Disability Commissioner and founder and moderator of the New Zealand Community Pharmacy chat group.

Mark has helped establish two karate schools in Christchurch which specialise in taking children with behavioural problems or learning/self-confidence difficulties, and helping them find solutions to these difficulties through the discipline of martial arts.

Sian Simpson (Auckland Central)

Sian is the sole employee of the Kiwi Landing Pad, an organisation which is half funded by the New Zealand Government and half funded by high-profile New Zealand technology investors and entrepreneurs.

Kiwi Landing Pad provide a soft landing point for New Zealand technology companies coming to land and expand into the US market.

Sian manages all aspects of the business and its major growth and success over the past 12 months can be attributed to her drive and passion for building communities.

In addition to her role with the Kiwi Landing Pad, Sian works with various other startup businesses advising on their digital, branding and community strategies.

Sian is also working with Massey University to launch their Entrepreneurship Club as well as mentoring some business students from Albany Senior High School.

Chris Paulsen (Auckland Central)*

Chris is the founder and executive chairman of House of Travel, a company he started from a single office in Timaru in 1987.

House of Travel now has 75 stores, is the third largest travel organisation in the Asia/Pacific region employing close to 2000 staff across the House of Travel group.

Through an initiative led by Chris, House of Travel supported Hospice Care across New Zealand for more than a decade. They have been involved in a number of activities over the years to raise awareness and funds for Hospice and continue to engage with their local communities.

Nadia Lim (Auckland Central)

Nadia is a New Zealand born celebrity chef, entrepreneur, food writer and television personality. She is an advocate of natural, unprocessed foods, and for creating healthy, nutritious recipes by putting a health focus behind real food, which is influenced by her background as a clinical dietitian.

She won the second series of MasterChef New Zealand, airing on TV One in 2011.

Nadia has worked with several New Zealand charities, partnering with Diabetes New Zealand, the Heart Foundation, the Blind Foundation, the Cancer Society and Hospice to help encourage healthy eating and the Cambodia Charitable Trust to raise awareness of the poverty trap of underprivileged children in Cambodia.

Senthil Perumal (Auckland Central)

Senthil is a passionate social entrepreneur, driven to make a difference in the lives of youth.

In early 2013, Senthil created Youth Hub, a central platform to access learning and content from service providers, education providers and employers across New Zealand.

Now this free networking website, which launched late July, offers young people the ability to develop their unique profile and connect with likeminded youth, navigators, service providers and businesses to formulate a real time solution that connects youth to each other and the wider community.

In developing Youth Hub, Senthil has invested an incredible amount of money, set up external businesses employing young people to support his development, left paid employment five years ago, borrowed money from his Mum, established local and overseas development companies and spends 12 hours a day working with different development team time zones to affect change.

Lillian Grace (Auckland Central)

Lillian is the founder and chief executive of Wiki New Zealand, a collaborative website making data about New Zealand visually accessible for everyone. She brings a new perspective on data, one where data is a language in which everyone can be fluent.

In 2012, she established Figure.NZ and she now leads a team to build systems and software.

She believes societies and individuals will benefit when anyone can use data to inform their thinking and insights, without requiring intermediaries.

Lillian is also on the Data Futures Partnership Working Group, as well as on the board of the New Zealand Innovation Partnership and the New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence Te Pūnaha Matatini.

She aims to empower New Zealanders to be engaged and informed in order to make the right decisions that result in the best outcomes.

Jamie Beaton (Newmarket)

At just 21 years old, Jamie is CEO and co-founder of Crimson, a transformative education company formed in 2013.

Since inception, Crimson has assisted hundreds of students by paving pathways for them to access the best education and career opportunities around the world. Over the past three years, Crimson has expanded to include a portfolio of education services and products, supporting over 20,000 students and with more 2000 tutors worldwide.

Jamie found the experience of navigating the US and UK College application system overwhelming and challenging and founded Crimson on the belief that students’ geographical location and financial standing should not limit access to world-class education.

Whether it be through participating in the Global Student Enterprise Awards for which he was a national winner, speaking at seminars or industry conferences such as the Pacific Wave Conference and IP Roundtable, Jamie is on a constant mission to lift the performance of New Zealand students on the global stage.

Amanda Fraser Jones (Onehunga)

Amanda works with numerous animal rescue organisations in New Zealand, the main one being Chained Dog Awareness New Zealand.

She devotes hours of her time every week free of charge (all while working full time) providing advice and guidance. She also works to help unwanted and neglected animals get into a rescue or foster home.

She dedicates every minute of her free time to helping those without a voice and educating people on their responsibilities of animal ownership.

Amanda is a hero for making such a positive change in the community both in the animal rescue world and for all the dogs and cats she has had a part to play in saving.

Robb Henry (Waiheke)

Robb has been at the forefront of keeping boaties safe as a long standing member of the Coastguard team. With 24 years’ service in total, Robb has been involved in almost every volunteer level of coastguard.

Robb has been involved in hundreds of on-water operations over the years, from helping tow boaties home after a mechanical issue, helping young children who are feeling seasick, to pulling stricken survivors out of choppy seas after sinking.

Robb’s professionalism along with his ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds, has allowed him to contribute in a huge way to all aspects of Coastguard.

Robb was named Volunteer of the Year at the Coastguard Northern Region Awards of Excellence in September, he received a standing ovation from the 120+ people attending.

East Auckland

Sonia Faulkner (Meadowbank)

Sonia is the National President of Girl Guiding New Zealand (GGNZ), the largest girl-only organisation in New Zealand.

Sonia provides leadership to all volunteer leaders across New Zealand, and her approach is one of empowerment for the individuals in the organisation.

Sonia has been a dedicated volunteer for nearly 50 years and her vast experience and knowledge of the organisation over this time is invaluable. Sonia has held numerous roles and always finds time to talk to anyone in the organization from the youngest Pippin through to the Ranger age group and any of the volunteer leader team members.

Sonia is also active in other ways in the community and has been a long serving member of the Zonta Club of South Auckland, where she has again held a variety of leadership roles.

Sue Crawshay (Remuera)

From gardener to beekeeper to environmental warrior, Sue has given an extraordinary amount back to her local community.

Sue leads a team from within Auckland Council, who deliver the Trees for Survival programme in the area north of the Waikato River. Trees for Survival is a hands-on programme in which school students raise and nurture a range of native tree seedlings.

A year after planting their seedlings, the students experience a day in the country planting their trees on erosion-prone land and learning about the environmental benefits of their work. The planting of these trees will help control soil erosion, safeguard water quality, provide new habitats for native birds as well as other plants and animals, and beautify our environment.

The programme is rolled out to 72 schools and through Sue’s hard work, students are able to learn about the important role trees play in the environment, and have fun while doing it.

West Auckland

Jeffrey John Paterson (Henderson Heights)

– DECEASED (Anita Woodger (mother) and Father (Mr. Paterson) accepted the award on his behalf)

Jeff was just 23 years of age when he passed away on Daffodil Day (26th August 2016) from melanoma.

Jeff was an important campaigner in securing funding for the melanoma drug Keytruda in New Zealand. With heavy petitioning and persistent dedication and campaigning, Jeff sacrificed everything for the melanoma community to help win the battle with Pharmac.

Unfortunately by the time the funding was granted, Jeff's illness was too far gone with tumours throughout his body that he was too unwell to take the medicine.

Jeff’s legacy will live on through the lives he has touched and those who may be able to access suitable medication in time to catch the disease.

Gail Paul (Te Atatu)

Gail, known to most of the past and present students of Rutherford College as Aunty Gail has been an inspiration to so many students and young people over the years.

Gail is a talented basketball and softball coach, not just encouraging people in their pursuits on court or field but ensuring they are aspiring for great things in all areas of life.

She works backstage with musicians, dancers or actors when performances are taking place at the school. She co-ordinates the Rutherford College Community Service Club, including providing volunteers for Te Atatu Fun Day, the primary school galas and at the bi-annual Sculpture Park.

Her encouragement and dedication makes her one in a million and there are many who would have stories to share about the generosity of this amazing woman.

Stephen Theobald (Waimauku)

Stephen has lived and supported the wider Waimauku area for more than 30 years. He is known as the local "go to" person when anyone "needs a hand", while never seeking personal recognition. His background was a career in the fire service until an accident meant he could no longer pursue that line of work. Being a natural people person he turned to a career in real estate.

He has relentlessly contributed to the community through his heavy involvement in the local Lions Club, holding the president’s position more than once, a director for most of the 30 years and being recognised some years ago by fellow Lions in receiving the Melvin Jones Fellow Award.

Stephen can always be relied on to assist at local School Agriculture days, Scouts and he also regularly assists as a volunteer at Child Cancer Foundation Camps.

Liz Manley (Titirangi)

Liz is not just principal of Woodlands Park School but also a hero to many students, parents and families in the Auckland region, particularly those with special learning needs.

She has a talent for connecting with students and has made a huge difference in the lives of her students. She is even known to sit and play Lego with them as a means of connecting with those who might be having trouble in class.

Her passion, love and commitment to integrate those who might seem impossible, is legendary.

Mike Carter (Titirangi)

Mike has dedicated more than 45 years to assisting those in need in the Titirangi Community.

As owner and operator of Titirangi Village Pharmacy for more than 46 years Mike got to know his local community very well. Mike delivered prescriptions to anyone who was not able to pick up and always popped in on his elderly customers to check up on them.

He quickly became involved in a number of initiatives having a positive influence on the locals. Mike become involved in the Titirangi Business Association as chairman and as a business owner Mike has been a sponsor and supporter of nearly every charity and school in the area.

Mike took particular interests in supporting women's health and well-being and those needs of young children. He has been a regular supporter of Women's Refuge and Parent Aid.

Mike played Santa for the children for years, has offered work experience to local students and provided first aid kits for the Motu Moana Scout Group.

Even in retirement Mike’s commitment to the local community has not wavered, as he is currently helping with restoration to the Soldiers’ Memorial Church on Park Rd.

His recent retirement saw an enormous outpouring of support at his retirement function.

Peter Clifton-Sprigg (Titirangi)

– DECEASED (Anne Clifton-Sprigg will collect this award on his behalf)

As a Sensai in karate, Peter took his commitment to teaching young charges seriously.

Even while suffering the latter stages of terminal cancer he was not deterred from doing what he loves, influencing and empowering children to be the best they can through karate.

When he was not doing karate he was often seen walking or gardening and raising funds to support West Auckland Hospice.

He previously served as a Missionary in Uganda, worked with disabled young people to teach them to garden, fostered many children and worked with troubled youth.

While cancer may have robbed him from getting his black belt in karate, if the way he fought his cancer is anything to go by, he has truly earned this and is a genuine local hero.

Julie Lee (Titirangi)

Julie started working with children more than 25 years ago, arranging camps for children with Down Syndrome, Heart Kids, Epilepsy in Children and children she knew needed help.

In 2015, Julie started and registered her own charity in West Auckland BRO-CCAAB (Bike Riderz Optimizing - Children's Charities Abuse and Bullying). Since then Julie has attracted the attention of the media and local MPs for her work in the community.

She has raised over $10,000 dollars for Shaken Baby Syndrome, Women's Refuge and Homes of Hope Children suffering from brain damage as a result of child abuse. BRO-CCAAB is becoming one of the fastest upcoming charities in Auckland with a music festival in February 2017 fundraising for children in need.

Julie is also doing a major ride around the South Island in March to raise money for Camp Quality (a camp for children living with cancer).

Kahurangi Taylor (Waiuku)

Kahurangi is project development manager for a youth development project Te Ara Rangatahi o Ngati Te Ataha. This group focusses on giving youth the opportunities to create and lead projects that in turn help other youth in their area.

As the project manager and creator of Te Ara Rangatahi, Kahurangi’s innovative idea, hard work and determination has resulted in a number of youth in Waiuku being employed. Youth involved are also gaining invaluable skills and experience to prepare them for their careers, whatever path they choose.

Kahurangi is selfless in her work and since starting Te Ara Rangatahi, she has worked countless hours to get the programme up and running. Youth are now prospering through these endeavours as well as being part of something rewarding.

Richard Carrington (Waitakere)

Since 2014, Richard has been a volunteer with StarJam, a not-for-profit organisation which provides music and performance opportunities for young people with disabilities.

He volunteers every Tuesday evening in the StarJam North Dazzling Dance workshop. Richard’s role in the workshop is to support and assist the young people (aged between 6-25), making sure they’re in a safe and happy environment. Richard lives in Te Atatu but travels to Belmont every week to attend the workshop.

In 2014, one of Richard’s friend could no longer run the Auckland Marathon and Richard decided to take his place. The Auckland Marathon was one of StarJam’s fundraising events that year and even in the 24 hours before Richard ran he was able to raise $500 for the group.

Richard is always so enthusiastic, positive, reliable and willing to give anything a go. StarJam and especially the North Dazzling Dance workshop wouldn’t be the same without him.

Laura Howard (New Lynn)

In 2013, following the birth of her daughter in late 2012, Laura founded ‘Littlemore’ a charity that collects and distributes pre-loved baby essentials to those in need of assistance and support.

Initially run by Laura from home, the size of the operation has grown to such an extent that they now have storage units, generously supplied by Storage King New Lynn and a team of 30 volunteers.

The team coordinate with 11 partner agencies to supply essentials like clothing, equipment, books and toys to those who otherwise cannot afford them.

Littlemore support groups from across the wide range of nationalities, cultures and age groups that make up New Zealand.

Evelyn Cassie (West Auckland)

Evelyn is a truly amazing woman, who not only manages The Koha Shed West Auckland but a few other Koha Sheds in the North Island as well.

This work is done on an entirely voluntary basis and although Evelyn is facing her own health problems she continues to give 100%.

The Koha Shed rely on donations of everything from blankets and clothing, to cutlery and furniture.

At the end of 2015, The Koha Shed helped five families that had been victims of house fires. This is just a short snapshot of the work Evelyn and her team do.

Evelyn also liaises with Helping Hand who organize support for the homeless.

David Letele (Glendene)

David works endlessly for the benefit of the Grace Foundation. The foundation runs 20+ homes in South Auckland for people in need including those with mental health issues, those coming out of prison, from corrections and the homeless.

The Grace Foundation receives no government funding and relies only on donations. Their staff are also all volunteers and David is dedicated to providing a place for people to come and learn to transform and rebuild their lives for the better.

David devotes seven days a week from 7am till 10pm to helping the residents of Grace Foundation. He has been a hero to many and his entire life has been centered around helping and serving his community.

Robert Bruce (Laingholm)

Robert is the founder of the social enterprise called Got to Get Out, which is a group that is dedicated to getting people outdoors, active, making new friends and seeing the world.

After leaving his role in a busy marketing company in 2014, Robert began walking, hiking and cycling. In the process he turned his life around becoming fit and healthy. After trekking through Nepal in early 2015 to Mt Everest Base Camp he decided he wanted to take his experience and encourage others to get outdoors.

After less than two years, Got to Get Out has around 5000 fans on Facebook, and in the past 12 months in his own time he has arranged more than 30 adventures around New Zealand, many of which are free of charge.

Robert is having a positive influence on the health and live’s of many living both local to him, and in the rest of New Zealand.

South Auckland

Jasmine McPhee (East Tamaki)

Jasmine is the founder of the page How to Feed a Family of 6 for under $20. Through a popular Facebook page, with more than 83,000 followers, Jasmine and her husband show other families how to cook good meals on a budget.

They have already helped many families in need, including arranging food parcels for those at crisis point.

Alongside the Facebook page, Jasmine arranges to feed the homeless every Monday night. What started out of her own pocket has now attracted the attention of local people and businesses who are keen to support through either time or donations.

Along with the Monday night meals, Jasmine makes up to 60 school lunches for people to take away on the Monday night to ensure their kids go to school with adequate food and nutrition.

Mike & Megan Lloyd (Papatoetoe)

Mika and Megan are a very generous and passionate couple who are always willing to help those in the community in any way they can.

They have played a crucial role in getting people back on their feet when they have been struggling, securing them appropriate identification so they can receive assistance from Work and Income, and helping them gain access to food, housing, clothing and employment.

Every Sunday morning for the last 10 years, Mike and Megan have headed along to the Papatoetoe Rugby League fields to feed those in need. They are yet to miss a Sunday and will be there with food in rain, hail or shine for more than 40 people.

They take people to and from appointments and lend vehicles where possible. They have supported countless lives through recovery from all walks of life and afflictions.

They give, their hearts, their home, their lives to help others to improve themselves and their communities.

Grace Annie Hight Benson (Manukau)

Grace is 79 years old and currently a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Nursing and Health at Manukau Institute of Technology.

She has had a long and dedicated career as a nurse for more than 50 years, and a lecturer for more than 30 years. She is an expert on the work and life of Florence Nightingale, and has imparted her knowledge of Florence’s theories on the art of caring and compassion, to past, present and the future nurses of New Zealand.

It is Grace’s passion and selfless commitment to ensure caring and compassion feature as part of the holistic nursing care given by nurses of all ethnicities.

The staff and students of Manukau Institute of Technology believe Grace is truly one of a kind, a special person who had made a great impact to all those whose lives she has touched, in whatever capacity.

Hurimoana Dennis (Mangere)

As chairman of Te Puea Marae, Hurimoana saw the opportunity to ease some of the burden that homeless people face on a daily basis. He stepped up and opened the doors of the marae, opening the eyes of many New Zealanders locally and nationally to a problem at crisis point.

The charitable trust generated huge public support after it welcomed families and individuals who had been living rough in cars, garages and on the streets.

The work of Hurimoana has brought people in the community together to selflessly offer their time or donate whatever and wherever they can to help out.

The Marae became home to more than 200 people over the harsh winter months, many of those were children. The nannies and kaumata all offered warmth not only in housing but also love when families were struggling most.

Hurimoana and his team have drawn attention to major crisis in Auckland and prompted the government and other agencies to pay more attention to housing the homeless.

Joseph Fa'afiu (Papakura)

As founder of Hopewalk, a suicide awareness and prevention movement, Joseph has had a postivie influence on the lives of thousands of people in his community.

The walk was designed to give people a safe environment to talk and walk with no stigma, no silence and no shame around the topic of mental illness and suicide.

The initiative now sees walks taking place in 15 centres both here in New Zealand, and Australia and Canada. Now operating at a global level, Joseph ensures the events a rolled out with their purpose of inclusion and raising awareness of suicide, in the hopes of one day saving the life of someone at risk.

Outside of the walks Joseph hosts free suicide education workshop in partnership with other organisations.

Tim Seabrook (Clevedon)

For more than 20 years, Tim has immersed himself in his local community, regularly taking part in community, sports and fundraising events.

His involvements have included nine years as Wairoa Ranger Rugby Club secretary, chair of the annual Wairoa Rangers Father Day Tournament, senior committee member for Ardmore Marist RFC, coach at Clevedon Cricket Club.

Tim has also been continuously on fundraising committees for Clevedon Primary School, Clevedon Tennis Club, Wairoa Rangers and Clevedon Cricket Club.

Tim’s commitment to the community would exceed 15 hours a week across the various organizations he is involved in.

When time allows, Tim ropes in wife Mandy, a registered nurse, to be in charge of first aid for motor cross fundraisers, Father’s Day rugby tournaments and other events.

Sarah Colcord (Manurewa)

Since the age of 13, Sarah has painted murals across Manurewa; from the Counties Manukau building, Dawson Road shops, to James Cook High School.

At 17 years old she identified the need for more positive youth-oriented events that encouraged greater awareness of social and community issues affecting Manurewa. This prompted her to launch the outdoor festival YouthFest and The Young Leaders Conference.

The festival has seen 3000 locals pass through in the past three years. Her leadership conference has attracted more than 500 young people in the last three years.

She is chairwoman of the Manurewa Youth Council and recently co-led the Manurewa Youth Council in partnership with Counties Manukau Police to produce a video with the aim of changing perceptions of the community.

She has been advocating for a performing arts space for the past few years and is currently developing a plan for her own social enterprise performing arts space to be located in the heart of Manurewa.

At 19 years old she stood as the youngest candidate in Auckland to run in the Local Governing Body elections for Manurewa. She is ready to get her foot in the door of local government so that more young people can step up and have a great leader they can look up to. 

Parshotam Govind (Papakura)

Arriving in New Zealand in 1972, and moving to Auckland in 1984, Parshotam has owned and operated several businesses and has become a big part of the wider Auckland Indian community.

Parshotam was president of the Auckland Indian Association from 2002-2005 and was involved in the purchase of the current Indian community hall located in Mt Eden.

He was appointed Justice of Peace in 2005 and his tireless nature and dedication to the Indian community has been appreciated by all members near and far.

A multitude of hours have been spent answering phone calls, emails, meetings at the hall and local and national community gatherings. This takes a lot of patience, determination and passion which is something not everyone will display in their lifetime.

Parshotam was a recipient of a 2015 Minister of Health Volunteer Award and has given an impressive amount of service to the Indian community in Auckland.

Alan Breslau (Manukau)

While living in the USA and working as a chemical engineer and plastics consultant, Alan was extensively burned in the crash of a commercial airliner in 1963.

Following a visit to a child at a local burn center, Alan realized the importance of peer support for those with burn injuries. From here, he went on to establish one of the first burn support organizations in the United States, the Phoenix Society. After serving as its executive director for 25 years Alan and his wife imigrated to New Zealand.

Since arriving in New Zealand Alan has been a huge support person and is now a patron of the Burn Support Charitable Trust. The Trust, established in 1987, provides support and assistance to burn survivors.

This organization now has more than 2000 members and provides extensive support to both children and adult survivors through various initiatives.

Together with his wife Delwyn, Alan has inspired and supported burns survivors here in New Zealand and around the world.

Delwyn Breslau (Manukau)

Delwyn is the founder and now patron of the Burns Support Charitable Trust, which has the vision to provide support and assistance to burn survivors and their families both during and after hospitalization.

Her commitment to burns survivors was based on personal experience helping her son to deal with extensive burns to 40% of his body when he was eight years old.

Delwyn’s vision has built an organisation that now has more than 2000 members and provides support to both children and adult survivors, whilst being heavily focused on achieving the goal of lowering the incidence of burn injuries through prevention, education and care.

She has dedicated her life to supporting burns victims through various charities and organizations. This has included establishing the first skin bank in New Zealand, fundraising for numerous items of hospital and surgical equipment and establishing summer camps for children suffering from burns.

Shauna Eldridge (Otara)

Shauna is the deputy principal at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate and continues to go above and beyond the expectations of her role. She is a selfless and inspiring woman, who sees and helps students who need extra help the most.

Shauna will buy her students uniforms if they cannot afford them, she runs maths study sessions after school and she will give up her Saturdays and school holidays to tutor her students. The effort she puts in has seen her students flourish into high achieving young adults.

Shauna continually reaches into her own pocket to buy meals, uniforms and clothing for her students. She is an unsung hero whose hard work, motivation and love for others should be known to others.

When she is not helping her students she is also providing a home for new immigrants to New Zealand. She helps them settle in Auckland and find their feet before they move into their own homes.

Samuel Kau (Otara)

Samuel, who was named Lifeguard of the Year at this year’s New Zealand Recreation Association Aquatics Industry Awards is someone who goes the extra mile for his community, encourages people to be more active and is a great leader for other lifeguards.

Samuel is Auckland’s Otara Pool and Leisure Centre lead lifeguard. His career began when he was on a 24 hours curfew after finding himself in trouble with the law. He saw an advert asking 'Do you want to be a lifeguard?' and decided at this point to take charge of his life and make a difference in the lives of others.

In his interview for his first lifeguarding role he asked for a second chance and was given it.

Sam is a great leader to the Aquatics team at Otara and has extended his qualities to the other sites in South Auckland. Sam is proactive in implementing programmes for the local community. This has included the development of a programme called ‘Hydro Fight’ which closely resembles BoxFit, but is aimed at people who find it easier to exercise in water.

Alan Lyth (Otara)

Alan has been the Principal of Bairds Mainfreight Primary School since 2009 and has made a hugely positive difference to the lives of his students.

He initiated a group called The Leadership Children (TLC), a self-selected group of children with leadership potential. The group meet once a week to learn about leadership and improve things around the school. The Leadership Children came up with an initiative to reduce junk food being eaten and litter from junk food in the school.

Through a TLC led petition to the school board, junk food was banned from the school and the school tuck shop menu was changed to include healthier options.

The school holds a Health Expo run by TLC each year where outside health agencies are invited to attend an afternoon session with all the community invited.

Bairds Mainfreight Primary School is now a place where most of the families have embraced many aspects of the healthy eating and the active lifestyle that is promoted through every aspect of school life.

North Shore

Simon Carryer (Whangaparaoa)

By the end of 2016, Simon will have seen, and passed, more than 2000 WaterWise Instructors.

Since 2002, Simon has volunteered his time to New Zealand Schools WaterWise and held positions including vice chairman, treasurer and head of examiners and remains a board member.

Simon’s knowledge of yachting and maritime safety has been invaluable to the WaterWise board and his other voluntary involvements have included working with the Maritime Museum and the Spirit of Adventure boat.

While Simon has now resigned from the WaterWise board following a health scare, his legacy has had an indirect influence on the thousands of children's lives through learning to sail and WaterWise Safety.

Simon Thomas (Takapuna)

Simon has contributed significantly to the provision of educational opportunities for New Zealand youth through NCEA Campus and The Learning Collaborative.

NCEA Campus is a not-for-profit group that provides NCEA group tuition. In 2013 NCEA Campus tutored more than 2000 students and under Simon’s direction, his team were able to support a large proportion of students from low-decile schools who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford tuition.

The Learning Collaborative (TLC) is a social enterprise providing tailored youth-to-youth educational services for students. Simon was part of the founding team in 2015 and as Head of the Academic Coaching service he has been in charge of facilitiating a one-on-one service whereby a student is paired with a university-aged coach for weekly sessions aimed at strengthening critical thinking skills and motivation towards academic goals. Simon has since stepped up into the role of CEO at TLC.

Simon has been pivotal in his contribution to the impact of both organisations and had a positive influence on the lives of many Auckland students.

Matua Murray Witika (Orewa)


Matua Murray has been teaching Kapa Haka in the Orewa area for more than 30 years.

Students reaping the benefits of his Kapa Haka tuition include those at Orewa Primary School, Red Beach School, Wellsford Primary, Whangaparaoa Primary, Whangaparaoa College, Orewa College, Nga Iwi O Putorino and Silverdale Primary.

For more than ten years, he has taken young men from the Rodney area to Mokoia Island to teach Taiaha and runs his own community Taiaha group which he tutors every week at Te Heringa Waka O Orewa.

Murray has given so much to the community over the years and is well known for his humble down to earth approach, his efforts have been noted not only by schools but also by community and government agencies.

Gwenda Holster-Dowler (Mairangi Bay)

Gwenda is a Plunket community hero. Gwenda started as a volunteer for Plunket on Auckland’s North Shore around twenty years ago. Starting in Beach Haven after her first child was born, Gwenda was instrumental in setting up a playgroup for local families and then went on to set up all five playgroups currently operating on the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast.

Gwenda was a driving force behind the development of Plunket’s dedicated hub on Constellation Drive in Mairangi Bay which is home to some of Plunket’s core services including the Family Centre, B4 School checks, Mairangi Bay Plunket clinic and Plunket’s car seat rental scheme.

Gwenda has been involved in almost every fundraising effort undertaken by Plunket over the past 20 years – from sausage sizzles and teddy bear’s picnics to coordinating Plunket’s Annual Appeals each March and large scale events like What a Woman Wants. Most recently she’s been donning the Plunket “Big Bear” suit for fundraisers right across Auckland.

Gary Diprose (Rodney)

Gary, a former Waikato dairy farmer, tutor and mentor is now the CEO of an organisation called Springboard Community Works.

Springboard was launched 14 years ago after Gary was approached by Agriculture New Zealand to teach farming skills as an alternative education course for at risk kids from local Mahurangi and Rodney colleges. He saw the opportunity to create better opportunities for these youth and Springboard was the answer.

Springboard now offer programmes including alternative education, youth offender intervention, work transition initiatives, and family support services. The success of the programmes can be attributed directly to the drive, passion and vision of Gary.

Local Police, Youth Court Judges, College Principals and the general community have all paid homage to the amazing achievements Gary has made. He is breaking the cycle of making trouble and creating opportunities for youth to turn their lives around.

Tricia Clarkson (Birkenhead)

Tricia is a volunteer at The Grief Centre, a small not for profit organisation that supports people who are grieving from bereavement or loss in their lives.

Tricia has dedicated her life to helping others. She was North Shore Hospice's first palliative care nurse, and went on to become a manager for Hospice before joining the grief center after she retired.

Tricia’s dedication to the center has been shown time and again – earlier this year she was hospitalised and underwent surgery. Within two weeks she was back at the office, even for just a few hours to help the team. 

The number of patients and family members Tricia has helped over her lifetime would easily be thousands, and she shows no sign of stopping soon.

Marty Smith (Takapuna)

Marty was looking for a meaningful way to do something productive with his two children and decided to make use of his cooking skills and give something back to the society. That was the genesis of Chefs for Compassion, in a nutshell.

In collaboration with Salvation Army, Marty gives one needy family every fortnight the opportunity to dine on a fully catered meal in their own home at no cost to the lucky recipients. Marty and his two children prepare a meal the family have chosen off an extensive menu and deliver it to them in their home.

Marty is now building up the Chefs for Compassion programme by recruiting more everyday people to become chefs for families in need.

Kelly Kidd (North Shore)

Retired navy officer Kelly has been an active member of the community across his lifetime.

Kelly took a large role in the restoring of Navel Sailor James Cross's head stone which was damaged by youth earlier in the year. He is a Friend of Children’s Charities and The Waitakere Cemetery.

Kelly was recently involved in retrieving stolen war medals to their grateful owner. He had recognized the medals in a second hand shop and knowing they shouldn’t of been there he set about finding their rightful owner.

The medals belonged to a young army officer and the return of the medals was much appreciated.

Eliza McCartney (Devonport)

Eliza captured the hearts of New Zealanders winning a Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Eliza has been vaulting very well for a number of years and made the international athletics world take notice of her abilities with a fourth place at the World Under 18 Championships in 2013. She followed up with a bronze medal at the 2014 World Under 20 Championships.

At the end of 2015 Eliza set a world junior pole vault record, clearing 4.64m, just days before her eligibility for a junior record ended.

Since then she has extended her New Zealand record to 4.80m and placed fifth at the World Indoor Championships in America.

Eliza is studying part time at Auckland University, hoping to follow her mother into a career in medicine.

Katherine Corich 

Founder of Sysdoc, a global service provider delivering transformational change and efficiency programmes, Katherine has been a key contributor to New Zealand’s economic success.

Sysdoc’s services include transformation leadership, change management, business process engineering and knowledge management.

A visionary leader, with contagious entrepreneurial energy, Katherine's unique leadership style motivates and inspires teams to deliver complex change.

Katherine was the 2015 UK New Zealander of the Year, 2010 Winner of the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year and 2009 UK National Business Awards finalist for Entrepreneur of Year

Liam Malone (Nelson)

During the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, 22-year-old blade runner Liam Malone made his Paralympic Games debut in a dramatic fashion smashing his goal of winning a Paralympic gold medal.

Liam won gold in the Men’s 200m and 400m T44 and a silver in the Men’s 100m T44. In doing so he has made an enormous contribution toward increasing awareness and influencing how New Zealanders think about disability.

Liam has only been competing in the sport of Para-Athletics for just two years. He has now become a role model for the 1.1 million kiwis living with a form of physical impairment, showing people that how you live life is a choice.

Liam was the Closing Ceremony flag bearer for New Zealand as his team mates overwhelmingly voted for him to take the honour. His story is not yet over, recently confirming plans to contest the 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships in London.

Nicky Barton

PR Consultant

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