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Stacey Shortall semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year

Stacey Shortall announced as semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year for second consecutive year

Ten New Zealander’s who are prepared to go the extra mile for their communities have been named as semi-finalists in the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year - and MinterEllisonRuddWatts Partner Stacey Shortall is one of them.

The prestigious New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make the country a better place.

Internationally recognised litigation lawyer, Stacey Shortall has developed several projects to create social change and has received numerous awards for both her legal and charitable work.

While practising in New York, Stacey Shortall worked pro bono on many cases, including for imprisoned mothers facing termination of their parental rights, domestic violence victims, refugee women fleeing abuse, and impoverished mothers seeking to have their children returned from foster care.

After returning home, Stacey Shortall established the "Who Did You Help Today" Charitable Trust and sought to use her experiences to better connect people with opportunities, and make a positive difference in New Zealand.

In 2014, using volunteers from MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Stacey Shortall piloted a Homework Club at a low decile primary school in Cannons Creek, Wellington. The initiative partners workplaces with low decile schools to support students’ learning and open connections. Since the pilot, 23 Homework Clubs have been introduced around New Zealand with most becoming long-term partnerships and more scheduled to begin in 2020.

A year after the successful pilot, Stacey Shortall launched the Mothers Project and began training lawyers volunteering to visit female prisons each month to help imprisoned mothers understand their responsibilities and rights regarding their children. The Mothers Project now runs in all of the country’s female prisons and more than 650 imprisoned mothers had participated in the programme at the end of 2019.

In early 2017, through the Charitable Trust, Stacey Shortall introduced HelpTank - New Zealand’s first home-grown digital marketplace using technology to connect skilled volunteers with community causes. Corporate partners can also use HelpTank to connect staff with opportunities to volunteer and keep track of their impact. More than 400 not-for-profits and other community causes around New Zealand have been helped through HelpTank, and more than 850 skilled volunteers are registered to help.

On being named a finalist for the award, Stacey Shortall said: "I am again incredibly honoured by this nomination. My passion is developing grassroots solutions to tackle entrenched social issues in New Zealand with the end goal being more connected individuals and more connected communities. I would like to thank all the volunteers, of course without which, none of this would be possible."

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Chief Executive, Andrew Poole says:

"Stacey is one of our real stars and an inspiration to all. The time and effort she dedicates to helping those around her on top of her legal practice is absolutely incredible. Her passion and commitment to bridging gaps in the community and social good has created a positive difference for many Kiwis and has positively impacted our firm’s culture."

The other nine semi-finalists for the New Zealander of the Year award are:

- Peter Beck

- David Downs

- Anne Gaze

- Professor Jane Harding

- Tapu Misa

- Dr Helen Petousis-Harris

- Anjum Rahman

- Dame Margaret Sparrow

- Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira CNZM

Now in its eleventh year, a total of 969 nominations were received for the 2020 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on Thursday 20 February 2020.

Previous winners of the award include: Mike King (2019), Kristine Bartlett (2018), Taika Waititi (2017) and Richie McCaw (2016).


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