The Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year finalists have been named, with Ryman thrilled with the high calibre of the final three – each of whom provide real inspiration to other Kiwis at a time of continuing uncertainty.
We think that it is a perfect time to celebrate the elements and people that connect us, and the three ‘Senior’ finalists – Alison McLellan Dr Doug Wilson and Robert Tuahuru Edwards – provide plenty for the rest of us to think about. They’ve overcome the odds to do what they do today.
The awards show that those that can be called seniors are certainly not sitting back on any laurels they may have earned earlier in life.
Alison McLellan’s life changed when her 19-year-old son sustained a severe brain injury in a car crash. In the difficult years that followed, she joined with other parents and spouses to form what became the Brain Injury Association, a support and advocacy group.
After an international career as a medical academic Dr Doug Wilson realised his long-held dream and began a new career as an author. At the age of 70 he has now published eleven much-loved children’s books, and one for adults.
Robert Tuahuru Edwards is a farmer, director, entrepreneur and community leader. In 2000, after decades working around the Bay of Plenty, Robert returned to Ōpōtiki, to eventually become chairman of his iwi, Te Whakatōhea.
To be eligible for this award, the nominee must be aged over 70 years and continue to make a positive contribution in Aotearoa, following their career.
The Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Award - Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau also gives New Zealanders the opportunity to express their appreciation and admiration for the achievements of our senior New Zealanders.
Ryman Healthcare Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said Ryman was absolutely delighted to support the Senior New Zealander of the Year award. “We know there are thousands of older Kiwis who never retire, and continue to make a massive contribution to their communities and New Zealand as a whole. We think this award is an excellent way of recognising how much they give back.”
Previous Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year winners include Dr Bill Glass (2019 winner), Sir Kim Workman (2018), Sue Paterson (2017), John Russell (2016) and Donald Sewhoy (2015).
The annual New Zealander of the Year awards are in their 12th year and will be celebrated with a gala dinner in Auckland on March 31.
The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year finalists, also named today, include: Farid Ahmed – a Christchurch Muslim community leader who gained prominence following the 15 March terror attacks; Ranjna Patel – Founder of Tamaki Health; and Dr Siouxsie Wiles – a microbiologist and science communicator.
These awards are a celebration of Kiwis that are passionate and committed to making New Zealand a better place to live for everyone. The awards encourage all New Zealanders to honour extraordinary Kiwis whose selflessness, creativity and vision make us proud to call New Zealand home.