Local Hero is shortlisted as Young New Zealander of the Year
Local Hero is shortlisted as Young New Zealander of the Year for selfless commitment to at risk children
Following on from being awarded a Kiwibank Local Hero award in December, NPH Director Kristina Cavit has now been announced as a top three finalist for the Young New Zealander of the Year, for her unwavering work in global poverty education in New Zealand and for her support of orphaned and abandoned children throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The 26-year-old is being recognised for her charitable work both in New Zealand and for the orphanages that she helps support overseas (almost 4,000 children in 9 countries), and now joins just two other young New Zealander’s who have been shortlisted for the incredible work they do in their communities.
“It’s overwhelming to make it into the top three finalists when there were so many inspiring young people nominated,” says Kristina. “This award is fantastic in acknowledging local leaders and those that do so much for their communities, whether they are local or global, it is a true honour to have made it this far and I can’t thank those involved enough!”
The Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year is due to be announced at a prestigious ceremony at the Langham Hotel on February 26, where attendees will include last year’s winner of the award, Paralympian Sophie Pascoe, Prime Minister John Key, the Maori King and Bic Runga will be playing on the night.
As director of the New Zealand branch of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), Spanish for ‘Our Little Brothers and Sisters’, Kristina was recognised for her work in the non-profit organisations role in providing permanent homes, education and health care for children in need across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Kristina’s main goal is to educate kiwis on extreme poverty and the importance of being global citizens. It is through educational and guest speaking programmes throughout the country that Kristina opens New Zealanders’ eyes about the level of poverty that 1.2 billion people live in across the globe. Kristina is an inspirational and popular speaker whom engages audiences to think and act both locally and globally for the benefit of Aotearoa and our global neighbours.
Kristina started NPH New Zealand three years ago after returning from volunteering at the NPH Dominican Republic home where she helped with education, development, communication and assisted in the Haiti 2010 relief effort.
Kristina has developed a support network of over 1,300 Kiwis with no funding behind her and leads a group of committed volunteers in organising fundraising events and sponsorships to support the NPH homes.
The recent Live Below the Line challenge and NPH Gala Dinner have together raised over $30,000 for more than 3,000 children that NPH supports, whilst ventures such as Kristina’s successful godparent programme means the children have access to the necessities in life like an education and a loving family.
It was Kristina’s leadership skills and commitment to the NPH children, who she sees as her own little brothers and sisters, that caught the eye of the judges of the award, and NPH volunteer Laura Wilson can understand why she has been picked for the top three finalists.
“Kristina truly deserves to be considered for this award,” says volunteer Laura Wilson. “She loves and cares for the children in the orphanages as if they were her own and constantly goes above and beyond to help children in need both at home and abroad. Her work inspiring New Zealanders to become global citizens is crucial.”
Kristina also helps out with those in need closer to home and she has a passion for working with youth in need and refugees, and helping them find their feet in New Zealand society through various programmes.
For the past eight years Kristina has been involved in volunteering with survivors of domestic abuse, helping refugee families integrate into New Zealand society, mentoring at risk youths through the creative arts, providing assistance for women looking for work or returning to their studies, and she will be leading an April volunteer trip to the NPH home in Peru as she looks to turn more New Zealanders into Global Citizens.