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Finalists for 2017 New Zealander of the Year

27 January 2017

Finalists for 2017 New Zealander of the Year

The New Zealander of the Year Awards Office is pleased to announce three finalists being considered for the title of 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

They are:

· Major Campbell Roberts: Principal Advisor for the Salvation Army’s Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit (Auckland)

· Taika Waititi: Filmmaker (Piha)

· Associate Professor Mere Berryman ONZM: Educator and researcher (Tauranga)

Comment from Chief Judge Cameron Bennett

“Whether they are serving civil society, education or the arts, the 2017 New Zealander of the Year finalists all share the values of courage, creativity and commitment - attributes that we as New Zealanders aspire to.

“Major Campbell Roberts of the Salvation Army has dedicated his life to those living on the margins with compassion and commitment. He has challenged the status quo, even when at odds with the government of the day, and advocated for those most in need.

“Mere Berryman has been a lifelong advocate of incorporating Māori culture and values in the New Zealand curriculum. She has experienced first-hand the struggles of Māori children to achieve within the education system and set about enabling change that has benefitted many New Zealanders.

“As a filmmaker and actor, Taika Waititi embodies who and what it is to be a New Zealander. Audacious, bold and fun, Taika has taken New Zealand’s identity and culture and celebrated it both here and internationally.

“These individuals don’t just talk about what they want to achieve. They make things happen. That’s why they are all such worthy contenders for the title of New Zealander of the Year.”


The annual New Zealander of the Year Awards are in their eighth year. They celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make our country a better place. They are open to all New Zealanders to honour extraordinary Kiwis whose selflessness, creativity, and vision make us proud to call New Zealand home.

375 nominations were received for the title of 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

The winner will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala in Auckland on 22nd February, 2017.

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Richie McCaw (2016), Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).

Other categories

The 2017 New Zealander of the Year Awards also honour New Zealanders who have performed with distinction in five other award categories. The finalists for these categories are:

University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year

· Kendall Flutey (Christchurch)

· Rez Gardi (Auckland Central)

· Mark Berryman (North Shore, Auckland)

Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year

· Sue Paterson ONZM (Wellington)

· Ivan Pivac (Glendene, Auckland)

· Elaine Gill ONZM (Frankleigh Park, New Plymouth)

Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year

· Randwick Park (Manurewa, Auckland)

· Empowered Learning Trust (Reporoa)

· Lawrence Community (Lawrence, Otago)

Sanitarium New Zealand Innovator of the Year

· Dr. Ed Gane (Auckland Central)

· Jamie Beaton/ Crimson Education (Newmarket, Auckland)

· Frances Valintine/ The Mind Lab (Newmarket, Auckland)

Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year

· Hayden Smith (Titirangi, Auckland)

· Robert Martin MNZM (Whanganui)

· Pauline Tangiora QSO (Mahia)

More information on the 2017 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Awards is at


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