Bob Francis

Senior New Zealander of the Year


Ryman Healthcare

Senior New Zealander of the Year

Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau

Ryman Healthcare


The people who are creating a legacy for tomorrow. The ones who have made a positive contribution to Aotearoa later in their life, actively involved in making the world around them a better place.

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 2024 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

Bob Francis

The definition of living life to the fullest, Bob Francis CNZM QSO MBE JP is a remarkable man with an extraordinary record of community service. As the seven-term Mayor of Masterton from 1986 to 2007, he displayed exemplary leadership during some incredibly challenging times, addressing issues such as family violence and a series of high-profile incidents that drew national attention. Beyond his Mayoral role, Bob’s commitment to improving the nation’s health services is evident in his chairmanship of Masterton Medical, involvement in establishing medical facilities, and roles on health boards. His influence extends to conservation, where he chaired the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre and led water resource initiatives. As a co-founder of the Wairarapa Development Group, he actively promotes regional commercial opportunities. Bob’s diverse contributions include leadership in the arts, aviation, and homelessness initiatives, a testament to the broad reach of his tireless support. A former top-ranked rugby referee globally, he remains deeply connected to sports, holding life memberships in rugby associations. Bob is a true community leader with a boundless capacity for generosity.



Bob Francis


Sir Mark Dunajtschik


Rereata Mākiha


Dr Doug Wilson MNZM


Dame Margaret Sparrow


Dr Bill Glass


Sir Kim Workman


Sue Paterson


John Russell


Donald Sew Hoy



Senior New Zealander of the Year

Cheyne Chalmers

CEO, NZ Ryman Healthcare

“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.”