Dancer wins young Kiwi of the Year

Choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel has won Coca Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year, at a ceremony in Auckland.

She and her Palace Dance Company have showcased New Zealand dance on the international stage. 

Presented by the Minister of Youth Affairs, Nikki Kaye, Goebel dedicated the award to her parents. 

“I’m so overwhelmed. This is such an honour. I never thought chasing my dreams could lead to such a prestigious award,” the 22-year-old said. 

Tauranga businesswoman Frances Denz took away this year's Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year.  

As a business educator, she has helped thousands of people and people with disabilities to start businesses and find employment.  

“People from all sorts of backgrounds can achieve wonders. We are a wonderful place, I want us all to work to achieve magic,” she said. 

Up for the supreme award later this evening are: Kaitaia general practitioner, Lance O’Sullivan; founder and trusetee of The CatWalk Spinal Injury Trust, Catriona Williams; and, pioneer in Maori education, Dame Dr Iritana Tawhiwhirangi. 

The New Zealander of the Year awards recognise the achievements of local heroes from all walks of life. 

In their fifth year, they are a “celebration of the pure Kiwi spirit,” said the award’s patron, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.