Pop star Lorde and prizewinning author Eleanor Catton have failed to make the shortlist for New Zealander of the Year, both culled by a "tragedy of timing".
Lorde and Catton, were arguably the most successful New Zealanders worldwide in 2013, and their absence from a list of 10 semifinalists released today was glaring.
They were not among the 250-odd names nominated – their misfortune being to hit spectacular peaks days after September 30, the day nominations closed.
"It's really just a tragedy of timing, but the grouping we've got is pretty good in its own right, and there's always next year," the national manager of the Kiwibank-sponsored awards, Glyn Taylor, told Fairfax Media.
"It's all driven by nomination, so if there isn't a nomination we're not going to manufacture something."
It would be a surprise if Lorde and Catton were not in the frame next year, Taylor said.
Lorde, 16, leapt to No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States on October 2, the youngest artist to go top in 26 years. Her hit song, Royals, held No 1 for nine weeks, and also rocketed to top the UK iTunes chart within hours of release.
Catton won the Man Booker Prize with her West Coast-based novel, The Luminaries, on October 15. At 28, she was the youngest winner of literature's most sought-after prize.
But not only did the talented pair miss being nominated for New Zealander of the Year, they were also absent from the 10 Young New Zealander of the Year semifinalists, one of whom was outstanding 16-year-old golfer Lydia Ko.
All Blacks rugby captain Richie McCaw and former Christchurch mayor Bob Parker were among those in contention to be New Zealander of the Year.
Alongside them on that list were Kaitaia GP Lance O'Sullivan; Bob Kerridge, of Auckland RSPCA; CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust founder Catriona Williams, of Masterton; educator Dame Dr Iritana Tawhiwhirangi; Maori educator, Wellington; Vi Cottrell, Trade Aid NZ founder, of Christchurch; Auckland lawyer Mai Chen; Tauranga business leader and educator Frances Denz and Barry Lucinsky, an Otaki environmentalist and inventor.
"These 10 people are exceptional individuals who followed their passions and contributed to improving the lives of many New Zealanders," chief judge Cameron Bennett said.
"In their own way, each of these people is a revolutionary. They are all Kiwis of whom we can be very proud."
The three finalists will be announced next month, and the winner at the New Zealander of the Year gala awards in Auckland in February.
Previous winners are Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).
Semifinalists in the other categories are:
Young New Zealander: Brando Yelavich (North Shore); Parris Goebel (Auckland); Andrew McDaid (Auckland); Kristina Cavit (Auckland); Ludwig Wendzich (Auckland); Lydia Ko (North Shore); Sophie Pascoe (Christchurch); Jason Pemberton (Christchurch); Todd Balogh (Dunedin); Dale Stewart (Whangaparaoa).
Senior New Zealander: Ian McLean (Rotorua); Bob Kerridge (Auckland); Francis Denz (Tauranga); Julie Bartlett (Auckland); Tom Clarkson (Westland); Billy Graham (Lower Hutt); Michael Mudford (Dargaville); Vi Cottrell (Christchurch); Frank Lowry (New Plymouth); Barry Lucinsky (Otaki).
Community: NZ Council Victim Support (Wellington/NZ); Cranford Hospice (Hastings); KidsCan (NZ wide); UN Youth (Wellington); NZ Cadet Forces (NZ wide); ToughLove (Auckland); Magnet (Christchurch); Ronald McDonald House (Auckland); Starjam (Auckland); Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust (Tauranga).
Innovator: Dr Sean Simpson (Auckland); Andre Prassinos (Rotorua); Christopher Rodley (Nelson); Dr Craig Radford (Warkworth); Stuart Dennis (Rotorua).
Local Heroes: Dale Smith (Gisborne); Cecilia Sullivan-Grant (Mosgiel); Juping Zhou (Wellington); Janice Byford (Taihape); Dr Lance O'Sullivan (Kaitaia); David Lean (Wellington); Tim Davies-Colley (Porirua); Soteria Mareko (Auckland); Katrina Mitchell (Wellington); Simon Park (Wellington).
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