Dr Doug Wilson has been named the Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year.
The Taupo medical researcher, author, speaker, columnist, podcaster and ageing specialist was chosen from three finalists for the accolade at a glamour awards night in Auckland on March 31.
Doug went to medical school after deciding his dyslexia meant science would be a great career.
He went on to build an international career as a medical academic, becoming the first US and then global head of medical research for a major international pharmaceutical company.
Doug said upon accepting his award that older people are never “past it”.
“I think we have to understand the older community better than we ever have before because they, with their numbers getting close to 25% of the population in a few years’ time, they can’t be ignored – they can cause problems as you know!’’
“Importantly, the young and the old have to talk together because that’s our future. We’ve heard the wonderful younger people here tonight speaking absolutely dazzling, for someone like me – an old coot sitting down there watching what goes on.
“That’s what it’s all about. The future is talking together. The future is getting together. The future is recognising the old people are not past it but the old people have themselves to learn to contribute.”
The other finalists in the Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau were Robert Tuahuru Edwards: Chairman of Te Whakatōhea committee (Ōpōtiki); and Alison McLellan: Founding memner and advocate for The Brain Injury Association (Auckland).
Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles, who garnered global prominence over the past year as she helped New Zealand navigate the Covid-19 pandemic better than most other nations, has was named the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.