New Zealander of the Year semifinalists

03:34, Dec 29 2012
Dame Anne Salmond
Professor Dame Anne Salmond, renowned historian, writer and academic.
Bill Buckley
Bill Buckley, of technology company Buckley Systems Ltd.
Swee T Tan
Swee T Tan, plastic surgeon and researcher.

The full list of semifinalists for New Zealander of the Year, Senior New Zealander of the Year, Young New Zealander of the Year and Community of the Year.


Professor Charles Daugherty - Wellington
A conservation biologist who has played a key role in bringing the tuatara back from the brink of extinction. He joined Victoria University in 1982 and as a proud New Zealander saw saving the tuatara, the last representative of an otherwise extinct order of reptiles,  as a challenge and decided he must do something about it.

Kim Workman - Lower Hutt
The director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment, which aims to debate the use of prison and alternative forms of punishment. He is a retired public servant, whose career spans roles in the police, the Office of the Ombudsman, State Services Commission, Department of Maori Affairs, and Ministry of Health.

Swee T Tan - Lower Hutt
Professor Swee Tan is a plastic surgeon whose research into the origin of strawberry birthmarks and their treatment has lead to implications for the treatment of cancer and regenerative medicine.

Bill Buckley - Auckland
Without this bloke in the faded overalls, who runs a nondescript factory in an Auckland industrial estate, you wouldn't have an iPhone, iPod, LCD television or DVD player. Most people would not recognise the name of Buckley Systems Ltd, but in Silicon Valley its machines are used to prepare 90 per cent  of the world's silicon chips, the key component of almost every piece of modern technology on the planet.

David Irving - Auckland
A co-founder of The ICEHOUSE Business Growth Centre, which is helping to transform the performance of Kiwi entrepreneurial businesses. He has designed, presented and mentored on hundreds of programmes for small and medium sized businesses, and is estimated to have made a fundamental difference to more than 3,000 businesses.

Hinewehi Mohi - Auckland
Co-founder of the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, along with her husband George Bradfield. A singer/songwriter and television producer, she is community arts coordinator for Maori, Arts Culture and Events for the Auckland Council.

Professor Dame Anne Salmond - Auckland
Professor of Anthropology and Maori Studies at the University of Auckland and a renowned historian, writer and academic. In 1995 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to New Zealand history, in 2004 she received a Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement for non-fiction, and in 2007 she became an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Academy of the Humanities.

Jeanette Richardson - Bay of Islands
Chief executive of the Waitangi National Trust since 2001, she has also chaired the Waitangi Day Governance committee. In her time as chief executive, the Treaty grounds have been opened to access for New Zealanders free of charge and a major building programme is under way.


Keith Beck - Dunedin
CEO of Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand (PCFNZ), the only nationwide men's health charity, respected for its professionalism and pragmatic approach to the business of running a charity.

Sister Felix Breen - Wellington
Having become a nun at 21 years of age, for 75 years she has worked mainly in the Wellington Soup Kitchen, visited the sick, elderly and lonely, helping them with cleaning, cooking, daily chores and comforting them when needed.

Garth McVicar - Hastings
In 2001 concern about escalating crime and the treatment of crime victims led him to found the Sensible Sentencing Trust with the goal of creating a safe New Zealand.

Dorothy Hopkins - Auckland
She has had a wide and varied musical career, and is known throughout New Zealand both in the field of light entertainment and serious music. She has made her strongest mark in teaching music.

Julie and Roy Bartlett - Auckland
Founders of StarJam, which creates national and international performance opportunities for young people with disabilities, known as Jammers.  Casts of up to 100 children with disabilities perform in shows which can last 12 hours in one stretch.

Ian Grant - Auckland
Established The Parenting Place, helping to set parents up with tools to enable them to better raise and relate to their children - especially promoting the roles of fathers and encouraging positive male role-models for children to have in their lives.

Marcia Read - Auckland
Has devoted over 35 years of her life to helping sufferers of anxiety disorders and their families. As a sufferer herself, since childhood, she has overcome significant disability to set up the Phobic Trust.

Gary Daverne - Auckland
Music Director Emeritus of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, the community based orchestra which he founded in 1975 and was the resident conductor/director of for 35 years.

Thilliar Varnakulasingham - Auckland
A prime mover in motivating the Sri Lankan and Indian communities in Auckland to build a temple 10 years ago in Ellerslie.


Assil Russell - Hamilton
A community-based dentist in Hamilton, she established and runs Revive a Smile programme, aimed at providing Hamilton's homeless and disadvantaged people with free dental care.

Damyon New - Christchurch
From a background of homelessness himself, he created a trust to offer accommodation and support to homeless youth Da New Start Youth Trust/Homeless@17 - he has specifically started this to alleviate the problem facing foster children when they reach the age of 17 and lose CYFS Funding.

Sophie Pascoe - Christchurch
At only 15 years of age Sophie was the youngest New Zealand Paralympian at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, and the youngest New Zealander ever to win a Paralympic medal. Sophie won four medals in Beijing.  

Victoria Taylor - Wellington
In an effort to raise funds and awareness for child cancer, 19-year-old Victoria set off to run the length of New Zealand which she achieved in 34 days. She plans to do more to raise funds and awareness for charities in the future.

Lydia Ko - Auckland
Lydia Ko can lay claim to be the best women amateur golfer to ever come out of New Zealand and is one of the worlds best amateur golfers of all time. She has even been invited to display her golf glove in the World Golf Hall of Fame in Florida.

Sam Judd - Auckland
Founded Sustainable Coastlines, a registered charity with the aim of informing and inspiring individuals and communities to protect our coasts, oceans, rivers and the health of New Zealand society. He is passionate about educating the public about environmental, health, social and economic consequences of marine debris.

Jordon Milroy - Auckland
Put together a plan to raise awareness of disability and to fundraise for rugged wheelchairs for Samoa. His own experience of growing up in Samoa has shown him the hardship children with disabilities face trying to attend school, over rugged terrain.

Shruthi Vigayakumar - Auckland
CEO of P3, a charitable trust aiming to empower young New Zealanders to take a stand to end extreme poverty in the Asia-Pacific region. She sent a delegation of young New Zealanders to the UN Rio+20 conference.

William Zhang - Auckland
Founder of the Twinkle Foundation, which aims to brighten the experiences of children and infants by providing gifts and funding for paediatric support services. The foundation is run exclusively by secondary school and university students.

Sam Shore - Auckland
Created and lead the WTF campaign, a joint initiative by charities, Rainbow Youth and OUTLine, to promote gay rights. He convinced 30 prominent New Zealand celebrities to take part.


UN Youth New Zealand
UN Youth New Zealand gives young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to be global citizens, able to achieve change through their actions. Run by young people for young people, it presents high school students with the challenge of dealing with global issues in a way that encourages compassion and thoughtfulness.  UN Youth reinforces the importance of taking action in support of causes, opening members' eyes to the world and acting as a gateway to a range of other opportunities and organisations.

Hawea Community Association Inc
The small Central Otago community of Hawea has over the last two years helped improve facilities and services for a growing population. In doing so, Hawea has maintained a strong community spirit and worked tirelessly to preserve the unique beauty of the area. Volunteer initiatives include raising $1.5m to extend the community centre; establishing green waste recycling; developing a foreshore reserve; raising $13,000 for a cancer sufferer; setting up a village newspaper.   

Mataura Community
 The residents of the small eastern Southland town of Mataura have undertaken some hugely successful projects recently including setting up a nationally-recognised community garden; accessing a school community worker for the decile one Mataura School; creating the Mataura Youth Trust, to provide a space for the youth of the town; running the Mataura Family Fun Day, which aims to provide fun, low cost family entertainment for residents;  and using Matariki celebrations as a way to help foster the relationship between the local primary school and marae.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ
The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust New Zealand has more than 5200 members and operates throughout New Zealand, providing information, support, advice and advocacy for grandparents raising their grandchildren/kin on a full-time basis. The trust's mission is to provide services that promote the wellbeing of families/whanau, help reduce stress and maximise stability in the lives of grandchildren/kin children and grandparent/kincarers in circumstances where the children are not being raised by their parents.

Uawa - Tolaga Bay
The 800-strong community of Uawa - Tolaga Bay has completed some important, ambitious and inspiring projects, including undertaking significant fundraising and preparation to send representatives to London in 2004 for the Transit of Venus. This directly led to the community's role in the 2012 Transit of Venus, and was a strong indicator of the dedication, and commitment they would bring. Other actions include raising more than $5 million towards the cost of restoring the local wharf and undertaking an ecological restoration project with the Allan Wilson Centre.

Hawke's Leaders Group
The Hawke's Bay community joined together to sponsor a national sports team - the Black Sticks men's and women's hockey teams - in their quest for Olympic glory. Twenty four Hawke's Bay business and community leaders got in behind the initiative, showing foresight and community spirit in providing the region with the opportunity to be promoted to a worldwide audience.

Hokitika Community
The Westland town of Hokitika's thriving community spirit makes it a safe and vibrant place to live and visit.  The Safer Community Council is strongly supported in its work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Patrol, and other initiatives. Service organisations including Lions Club, Soroptimists and Rotary Club are very active in the community, with fundraising, sponsorship and community events.  

Eketahuna Our Town Inc
The Eketahuna Our Town Committee aims to promote, support and enhance the local community for the good of all residents.  The Eketahuna Kiwi Country project has been a major effort over the last seven years, promoting the town and district to help grow the local economy. Part of the project has been the creation of the Eketahuna Kiwi Country Information Centre, where 55 volunteers give their time to help on specific projects.

Patea Youth Trust
The Patea Youth Trust seeks solutions to the socio-economic issues that have affected the community since the Patea Freezing Works closed. The trustees have been involved with the Mayor's Task Force, looking for solutions to youth problems, initiating a Mum, Dads and Bubs programme, arranging budgeting education and social workers certificate training, and is currently in talks with St Johns to provide accommodation for cadetship training.  They have also set up a study group to support students doing distance learning.

Kaikoura Seafest
The Kaikoura Seafest ranks among the top New Zealand festivals and this year celebrated its 18th event. Seafest is a two-day event that offers a great mix of community spirit and tastes and is a testament to the dedication of the Kaikoura community as a whole. It  celebrates the abundance of the ocean and all it represents for the Kaikoura region, and serves as a powerful marketing tool for the region. Its strength lies in the spirit and giving of the volunteers, without whom this event could not happen.