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NZ of the Year - 100 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists named

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Now more than ever, it’s time to celebrate the people and moments that unite us. With great pride the New Zealander of the Year Awards Office announce the 100 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists for the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award Te Pou Toko o te Tau: a group of exceptional and diverse Kiwi, each taking extraordinary action to better our communities, and our nation.

Individually, they are the people having meaningful impact in their respective communities. Collectively, these outstanding individuals remind us of the true spirit of New Zealand, and reflect the mana of this prestigious award.

"If there has ever been a time to celebrate those who’ve made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of our country, it’s now. It is a real privilege to honour selfless, creative and visionary people that make us proud to call Aotearoa home," says Steve Jurkovich, Kiwibank Chief Executive.

2021 has marked a unique year for Aotearoa. With our borders closed, we’ve had a rare opportunity to look inwards - focusing our attention on the challenges and opportunities that exist right here on our shores. From Kaitaia to Bluff, each of these Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists have gone above and beyond for others - pitching in to feed families affected by lockdowns, rebuilt communities and supported rangatahi. They’re our frontline workers and our unsung champions working tirelessly for their local hapori - communities.

Earlier this year, the New Zealander of the Year Awards Office called on Aotearoa to celebrate our people by nominating their local heroes. An overwhelming number of nominations were submitted and after careful consideration, 100 outstanding kiwi have been selected by our judges.

A selection of the 100 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists:

Gavin Evans, Murihiku Southland - Lego enthusiast using his passion to raise funds and provide support for his community.

Bryce Dinneen, Te Moana-a-Toi Bay of Plenty - Founder of Wish4Fish, making our oceans accessible to those with disabilities.

Charlie Philps, Manawatū-Whanganui - Advocate for youth in the LGBTQ+ community, lobbying his all boy school to update outdated rules around same sex partners at school balls.

Deborah Manning, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland - Lawyer tuned social entrepreneur, launching KiwiHarvest, a solution to food insecurity and waste in Aotearoa.

Donna Turtle Sarten, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland - Artist confronting serious social issues, and founder of Give a Kid a Blanket

Hiria Tareha, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington - Supporter of wāhine, through her role at the Wellington Homeless Women's

Rebecca Roper-Gee, Waitaha Canterbury - Passionate about keeping her community fed, co-founding Nourish Ōraka to deliver 350 lunches to schools each day and employing local mothers struggling to find work.

These outstanding Kiwi are a small selection of New Zealand’s 100 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists for this year. To learn more about the Medallists and their incredible stories, visit

An independent and diverse judging panel made up of 50 judges from across Aotearoa had the unenviable task of evaluating and whittling down this year’s Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year nominations to the 100 Medallists we celebrate today. The Medallists are now in the running for the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award Te Pou Toko o te Tau. Semi-finalists for this award, and the six other award categories, will be announced mid-December.

The 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa and supporting category winners will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on 31 March 2022 at the Cordis Hotel, Auckland.

For more information visit

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