New Zealander of the Year

We’ve proudly partnered with the New Zealander of the Year Awards for more than a decade, honouring extraordinary Kiwis whose selflessness, creativity and vision make us proud to call New Zealand home.

About the Awards

The New Zealander of the Year Awards has six award categories and Kiwibank sponsors two of them: the overarching New Zealander of the Year Award and the New Zealand Local Hero award.

  • New Zealander of the Year - The New Zealander of the Year award honours individuals who’ve made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of our country. Their pursuit of excellence could be in the areas of science, business, the arts, cultural or community involvement, sport, education or health. Inspiring, passionate, and hard-working, these are the people that make us proud to call New Zealand home.
  • New Zealand Local Hero of the Year - This award recognises local heroes who do extraordinary things in their local communities. They might be involved in business, leadership, voluntary work, community and environment groups, education, sporting clubs, working with the disadvantaged or they may have shown courage in overcoming a personal adversity. We like to sing about these often-unsung heroes and thank them for the difference they make to their region, town, suburb, community or local group.

All New Zealand citizens aged 15 or older are eligible to be nominated for any of the awards.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira CNZM: 2020 New Zealander of the Year

Actress and te reo Māori me ngā tikanga advocate Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira has amassed an extraordinary body of work throughout her 40-year career as an actress and director, significantly raising the profile of the performing arts industry in New Zealand.

Previous New Zealander of the Year winners

Mike King: 2019 New Zealander of the Year

Mental Health advocate Mike King is founder of the The Nutters Club and Key to Life Charitable Trust. On the I Am Hope tour, Mike delivered 70 talks to more than 20,000 school students across the country. Mike also leads Gumboot Friday, an initiative aimed at creating greater mental health awareness and raising money for free youth counselling.

Kristine Bartlett: 2018 New Zealander of the Year

Rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett is a reluctant hero. She doesn’t like being the centre of attention, but found herself thrust into the limelight when her landmark court battle won pay rises for about 55,000 of the health sector’s lowest-paid workers.

More about inspirational Kiwis

Learn more about the journey of previous Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year nominees and winners who’ve achieved extraordinary things and made a positive difference to the lives of others.