Sports dominate Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa nominations – with 15 days to go!

16 Aug 2021

With 15 days until nominations close for Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa the Awards Office announces the notable contenders so far – and urges New Zealanders to give the gift of a nomination to a fellow Kiwi to ensure their mahi doesn’t go unnoticed.

2021 has marked a unique year for Aotearoa. With our borders closed, we’ve had a rare opportunity to look inwards – focussing our attention on the challenges and opportunities that exist right here on our shores. We’ve engaged differently with the world around us – dreaming up new ways to do things, reflecting on our past and looking to the future.

It’s been a year of big moments. While the rest of the world watched on, we gathered in our thousands to cheer on Team New Zealand – a symbol of hope for a world deprived of gatherings. We opened our newspapers to find a public apology from media company Stuff, reflecting on their portrayal of Māori from first editions until now. Without warning, Lorde dropped a new single – her first song since 2017! Matariki was declared to be a public holiday, the pacific community successfully lobbied the Government for a formal apology for the Dawn Raids. In an amazing show of sportsmanship, our New Zealand Olympic team departed Tokyo with our biggest haul of medals – ever. Most recently, an IPCC report on climate change issued a stark message to countries across the globe, making it all the more necessary to recognise and empower those fighting for to protect the natural environment of Aotearoa.

Te Koruru Patron of the Awards, Miriama Kamo says, “It’s wonderful to see so many of our sporting heroes nominated this year – and rightly so, given the many outstanding achievements of the past 12 months. But, we also know Aotearoa is brimming with excellence well beyond the sporting field. So, we’re calling on you to make sure the full breadth of our achievements are reflected on the awards stage this year. Creatives, innovators, seniors... we’d love to recognise and empower your mahi. Look around you, New Zealand – there are people quietly and consistently going above and beyond for our country. Now is your chance to nominate them.”

Nominations have flooded in from across Aotearoa – and so far those received across the seven Awards categories are a true signal to the year, highlighting those making a positive impact on fellow New Zealanders and our country in the past 12 months.

Some of this year’s nominees include:

  • Nicola ‘Nix’ Adams – Recovered addict, social media influencer, and inspirational speaker fighting against sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Dame Valerie Adams – champion shot putter and role model for all New Zealand women.
  • Hon Kiri Allan – MP for East Coast and cervical cancer survivor, demystifying the cervical screening process through her public fight and helping empower, educate and encourage women into getting tested.
  • Lisa Carrington MNZM – flatwater canoeist and New Zealand's most successful Olympian.
  • Allan Halse – Acknowledged internationally as New Zealand's leading anti-workplace bullying
    expert/advocate, founder and sole Director of CultureSafe NZ Ltd.
  • Laurel Hubbard – weightlifter and first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympic Games.
  • Dr Mike Joy – freshwater ecologist and science communicator, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington – a fearless defender of our rivers and lakes.
  • Dame Areta Koopu DNZM, CBE – former Māori Women's Welfare League President, Human Rights Commissioner, Waitangi Tribunal member, mother and grandmother, a veteran social worker and Māori activist.
  • Dave "Brown Buttabean" Letele – professional boxer and fighting against poverty and obesity.
  • Tim Malone – travel agent, who for the past year and a half, has helped bring expat Kiwi in complex
    situations home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Dr Rangi Mātāmua – New Zealand indigenous studies and Māori cultural astronomy academic, spending over 20 years researching Matariki.
  • Team New Zealand – winner of the 2021 America's Cup.

Nominations are being sought for exceptional individuals or community organisations in the following categories,
including a new award dedicated to recognising those who are ensuring the future of our environment:

Nominations can be made by any member of the public over 15 years of age until 11.59pm 31 August 2021 through completing the online nomination form.

Once closed, all nominations will be rigorously evaluated by at least two rounds of independent and diverse judging panels, with semi-finalists announced in December.

The 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa and supporting category winners will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on 31 March 2022.

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