The “short list for New Zealander of the Year 2015” was announced in a press release yesterday.
The list isn’t as laudable as it should be, because the name of the hard-working member for Eketahuna North is missing.
There are some worthy names there, notwithstanding the list’s obvious inadequacy.
The New Zealander of the Year 2015 Awards Office is pleased to announce the approved list of 10 people being considered for the 2015 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
• Dr Sharad Paul: Surgeon and skin cancer specialist (Auckland)
• Sir John Kirwan: Rugby coach, mental health and depression awareness advocate (Auckland)
• Cassandra Treadwell: Chief executive and founder, So They Can (Lower Hutt)
• Sir Stephen Tindall: Founder, The Tindall Foundation (Auckland)
• Julie Chapman: Chief executive and founder, KidsCan Charitable Trust (Auckland)
• Barbara Ala’alatoa: Principal, Sylvia Park School (Auckland)
• Roana Bennett: Manager, Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Trust (Rotorua)
• Dr Susan Parry: Auckland City Hospital and Ministry of Health (Auckland)
• Cynthia Ward: True Colours Children’s Health Trust (Hamilton)
• Judge Peter Boshier: Law Commissioner (Wellington)
The chief judge is one Cameron Bennett, a bloke who describes himself as a media consultant and News & Current Affairs journalist based in Auckland. Dunno why he has capitalised News & Current Affairs but not media consultant. He obviously attaches greater importance to that part of his CV.
Anyway, he says determining the New Zealander of Year “is a very tough job” for the judging panel and “the calibre of nominations was very high”.
But – as the absence of Alf’s name attests – the calibre could have been higher and the final choice made much easier if the judges had included the Tararua district in their quest for candidates.
The media statement explains that the annual New Zealander of the Year awards are in their sixth year.
They recognise, encourage and reward New Zealand’s most vital asset – its people. It is open to all New Zealanders and celebrates the contributions of Kiwis from all walks of life. More than 230 nominations were received for the 2015 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
In January, the judging panel – comprising representatives of all the awards patrons, presenters, sponsors, community leaders and independent experts – will announce the final shortlist of three people being considered for the 2015 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.
The winner will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards evening in Auckland on 25 February, 2015.
Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).
It’s probably too late for this year’s nominations.
But Alf suggests another name is worthy of consideration.
He was most impressed by the story at Stuff of Christopher Kereta, a 13-year-old lad who has never missed a day of school since he began at the age of five.
The 13-year-old has a 100 per cent attendance record at Glenavon School in Blockhouse Bay, since he began as a 5-year-old.
Christopher has never been seriously sick and says the secret behind staying healthy enough to attend school each day is “drinking lots of water”.
But the real motivator behind it is a challenge he set himself three years ago.
Once he knew he was on track to being one of the few pupils in the country to make it all the way through to high school without missing a day, nothing stopped him – not even moving to Kelston four months ago.
It took him around one hour to travel by scooter to school – a journey he would make in all weather conditions including rain and gale-force winds.
Hone Harawira could learn a lot from Christopher. If he had chalked up a 100 per cent attendance record as a Member of Parliament, he might still have a job.
The only thing wrong with the lad’s exemplary attendance record is his recommendation that we drink lots of water.
This is splendid advice for most people.
It doesn’t work for Alf.