Richie McCaw beats Rob Fenwick, Louise Nicholas for New Zealander of the Year
Richie McCaw has another trophy to add to his already bulging cabinet, after being named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
He was presented with the award at the gala ceremony held in Auckland on Wednesday night.
The award recognised the former All Black captain's contributions to both rugby and charity.
Chief judge Cameron Bennett said choosing the winner was a tough decision for the judging panel. McCaw was up against sexual violence campaigner Louise Nicholas and businessman and environmentalist Rob Fenwick.
"We felt that Richie McCaw's contribution to New Zealand on and off the rugby field was simply extraordinary," Bennett said.
"As a rugby player Richie always led by example and it's a special quality he has translated to his charitable work outside the game. His courage, leadership and humility is an inspiration to legions of Kiwi kids.
"Richie is the genuine article and a truly worthy recipient of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award."
McCaw played 148 tests for the All Blacks and twice held the Web Ellis Cup aloft as captain.
Off the field he has devoted much of his time to helping other Kiwis. He fundraised for the Christchurch rebuild and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand. As patron of the Catwalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust, McCaw helped raise $200,000 for research into the development of a cure for spinal cord injury.
In 2009, McCaw and fellow All Blacks Dan Carter and Ali Williams set up the For Everyone Charity. Now called iSPORT, it works with schools and local, regional and national sporting bodies to support young sportspeople and teams to succeed in their chosen fields.
McCaw wasn't the only sportsperson recognised on the night, with golf prodigy Lydia Ko winning the University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year award for excellence and achievement in sport.
The Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year award went to Naenae College principal John Russell for his services to education.
Non-profit organisation Community Fruit Harvesting, which distributes unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards to food banks, charities, schools and others in need, won the Mitre 10 Community of the Year award.