Top three finalists picked for New Zealander of the year

Must See 22/01/2019

The top three candidates for 2019's New Zealander of the Year have been announced.

The finalists have been chosen because they all share "empathy, understanding and a passion for effecting real, positive change" according to Chief Judge Cameron Bennett.

All three finalists are tackling tough social issues that affect New Zealand and its people, Mr Bennett said.

First up is Dr Marewa Glover, an internationally recognised tobacco harm reduction advocate.

"Marewa Glover has become a catalyst for the adoption of practical, real world solutions to public health issues, especially those that disproportionately affect indigenous populations," explains Mr Bennett.

Then there's Lisa King, whose company has provided lunches to over a million hungry kids.

"Lisa King doesn't just believe that no Kiwi child should go hungry, she rolls up her sleeves and makes that belief a reality... Lisa's innovative and successful social enterprise Eat My Lunch is positively and sustainably transforming the lives of thousands of Kiwi kids,"

Last, but not least, Mike King. Mr King is a former comedian and now a mental health advocate.

"Mike King has seen first-hand the tragic and devastating impacts of depression, alcohol and drug abuse in our communities, especially among Maori and young people" says Mr Bennett.

"He pulls no punches in tackling New Zealand's shocking rate of suicide, inspiring hope and optimism for those most at risk."

The finalists have been chosen from 448 nominations, and the winner will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala in Auckland on 13th of February.

This year marks the tenth annual New Zealander of the Year awards. 

Last year, equal pay advocate Kristine Bartlett took the award home.