New Zealand

New Zealander of the Year finalists announced

10:36 am on 30 January 2018

The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year finalists have been announced.

Kristine Bartlett at a pay equity protest outside the Court of Appeal Photo: NZCTU

They are pay equity campaigner Kristine Bartlett, mental health advocate Mike King, and microbiologist and researcher Dr Siouxsie Wiles.

Last year's winner was film maker Taika Waititi.

Chief Judge Cameron Bennet said the finalists came from very different backgrounds but share "admirable attributes of conscience, courage and commitment."

"These are attributes we aspire to as New Zealanders. These three remarkable people have embraced that aspiraton and taken action, making a truly positive difference for all New Zealanders."

Ms Bartlett was the face of the equal pay movement for caregivers in the aged-care sector. Bennet said she has changed the lives of thousands of New Zealand's lowest paid workers.

Comedian turned advocate Mr King has campaigned for awareness of mental health, alcohol, and drug abuse issues particularly for Māori and youth.

"His courage and conviction in advocating on behalf of Kiwis dealing with these issues inspires hope and optimism for those who need it most," Bennet said.

Dr Wiles is a microbiologist who has been working on the growing threats of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and infections diseases.

Bennet said her work in bioluminescence is "redefining modern medicine."

More than 1100 nominations were received for the 2018 awards.

The winners will be announced at an awards gala in Auckland on 22 February.

Other category finalists are:

University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year:

  • David Cameron (Auckland)
  • Kristina Cavit (Auckland)
  • Grace Stratton (Auckland)

Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year:

  • Billy Apple (Auckland)
  • Professor Bob Elliott (Auckland)
  • Kim Workman (Lower Hutt)

Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year:

  • Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust (Christchurch)
  • Pillars (Auckland)
  • Whangawehi Catchment Management Group (Hawke's Bay)

Sanitarium New Zealander Innovater of the Year:

  • Fraser Smith and Matt Yallop, Flashmate (Hamilton)
  • Professor Jane Harding (Auckland)
  • Team New Zealand Design Team (Auckland)

Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year:

  • Ricky Houghton (Kaitaia)
  • Dave Letele (Auckland)
  • Mohamud Mohamed (Auckland)