Press Release: September 18, 2009
How Ironic – Aussie Driving Force Behind Start-Up New Zealander Of The Year Awards
A New Zealander of the Year Awards – owned and managed by an Australian?
How do we feel about that, loyal Kiwis?
But that’s the curious little back-story behind the recently announced New Zealander of the Year Awards (“Pure Kiwi
Spirit”), sponsored by Kiwibank, with the Right Hon. Jim Bolger, ONZ, as patron
The “driving force” and managing director of this inaugural New Zealander of the Year Awards is proud Australian Jeffrey
Hopp, whose background notes highlight his long career overseeing one of Western Australia’s largest charities and
partnership with the Australian Federal Government to deliver the Australian of the Year Awards from 1994 until 2002.
The awards’ website claims he felt a “deep desire” to establish similar awards in New Zealand.
All is not lost, however. North & South magazine will continue to fly the 100 per cent pure New Zealander of the Year Awards when in December it
announces its 14th winner – adding to an illustrious list that includes former Minister of Treaty Negotiations Sir
Douglas Graham; Dame Cheryll Sotheran, founding chief executive of Te Papa Tongarewa; man for all sporting and
educational seasons John Graham; Auckland University leader, now Oxford University head John Hood; philanthropist,
businessman and Hawkes Bay tourism guru Graeme Avery; Auckland scientists and world renown researchers Professor Garth
Cooper and Professor Jane Harding; Dunedin paramedic Doug Flett; Christchurch-based international sustainable business
doyenne Peri Drysdale; outspoken economist and philanthropist Gareth Morgan; Dr Philip Bagshaw, founder and champion of
Canterbury Charity Hospital; and 2009 winner Murray Burton, principal of Elim Christian College in Botany Downs,
North & South’s New Zealander of the Year Award is designed to celebrate and reward those people who have made a difference to
New Zealand. It recognises the country’s real achievers: not necessarily the high-profile heroes, but the people who
embody those qualities that New Zealanders admire.
The New Zealander of the Year feature that runs in North & South’s January issue also names 10 category winners and “honourable mentions”, traversing business, sport, science,
arts and entertainment and the environment. It celebrates “Everyday Heroes”, “Community” crusaders for good and “Young
The North & South New Zealander of the Year Awards is the true Kiwi spirit.