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Source: New Zealander of the Year Awards

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 selflessness, 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.

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2022 Kiwibank Local Hero Medallists

Adam Latoa – Dedicated volunteer for Visionwest foodbank.

Brendon Warne – Founder of Anti P Ministry, using his lived experience to support Kiwi beat addiction.  

Bridget Graham – Integral piece of the restoration of the Onehunga Community House, a focal part of the community.

 Cameron Smith – Founder of Take2, a programme giving prisoners a second chance.

Dame Areta Koopu – Veteran social worker and activist best known for her involvement with Māori and women’s development.

Dave Letele – Fighting for this community to be fit, healthy and feed.

Debbie Griffiths – A true community connector, providing support to Tāmaki Makaurau most vulnerable.

Deborah Manning – Lawyer tuned social entrepreneur, launching KiwiHarvest, a solution to food insecurity and waste in Aotearoa.

 Donna Turtle Sarten – Artist confronting serious social issues, and founder of Give a Kid a Blanket charity.

Dr Khurram Malik – Dedicated to giving a voice to marginalised communities and founder of international charity, Humanitarian Organisation for Poverty Eradication (HOPE).

Karamea Matthes – Advocate for safe level crossings, and creator of the One Ear Out campaign.

Miriama Rapana – Support person, mentor and a community connector creating a difference in her local hapori.

Mustafa Derbashi MNZM – Cultural advisor with a passion for supporting and understanding the unique needs of immigrant families integrating  into New Zealand life.  

Ngatuakana O-Rangi Wichman – An invaluable resource to her community, from Foodbanks to Habitat for Humanity, this 89 year old is not slowing down.

Owen John Pomana – A community organiser using his lived experiences to transform the lives of those on the fringe of society.

Ranbir Kaur Saini – Empowering a community through compassion, care and support.

Sarah Page ­– Founder of grassroots charity, The Kindness Collective.

Sian Neary – Going above and beyond the call of duty to support young people and their whānau facing life challenges.

Sulendra Raju – Using his business to repair a community after the Papatoetoe tornado, his generous spirit made a powerful impact.

Swanie Nelson – An uplifting leader and creator of Ōtara Kai Village and Pātaka Kai food pantries.

Tayla Jane Nasmith – Beginning her charity at just 12 years old, Mummys in Need provides baby items to whānau in need.

 Tom Manley – Jack of all trades, and long term helping hand at the Hoani Waititi Marae.

 Wendy Zhou ­– Founder of food rescue charity, Perfectly Imperfect.

Xavier Mika – Youth volunteer with Love Soup would brought free lunches to his school to support families after lockdown.

These outstanding Kiwi from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 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

Biographies – Access full biographies here.


Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award ­­Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa honours the achievements and contributions of an inspirational Kiwi who has made a big, positive contribution to our country this year. Their pursuit of excellence can be in any area; science, business, the arts, cultural or community involvement, te Ao Māori, sport, education, and health. Their achievements have positive effects on how we feel about our nation and ourselves.

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Dr Siouxsie Wiles (2021), Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand (2020), Mike King (2019), Kristine Bartlett (2018), Taika Waititi (2017), Richie McCaw (2016), Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).

University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Award Te Mātātahi o te Tau recognises a young person brimming with the potential to bring about change and produce a bright future for Aotearoa, striving across the last year to improve themselves and their whole community.

Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Award Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau recognises those who have made a positive contribution to our great nation later in their life. This award gives New Zealanders of all ages the opportunity to express their appreciation and admiration for the achievements of our Senior New Zealander’s over the past year.

Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau recognises a person or group who, in the spirit of Kiwi inventiveness and resourcefulness, have created a better New Zealand.

Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year Award Te Toa Taiao o te Tau recognises a person or group who have made a remarkable contribution to restoring our environment and/or protecting our unique species.

 Mitre 10 Community of the Year Award Ngā Pou Whirinaki o te Tau recognises a rōpū – group of people that together have made an outstanding difference to their community this year. They foster a strong sense of Kotahitanga – community spirit and their achievements enhance the social, economic, cultural or environmental prosperity of their rohe – region making it stronger and more vibrant.

Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award Te Pou Toko o te Tau recognises everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local hapori – communities over the past year. This award acknowledges the enormous contribution, sacrifice and commitment of Kiwi who have selflessly worked to make their local hapori a better place.