Kaitaia doctor Lance O'Sullivan is among 10 people in the running to be named New Zealander of the Year.

Dr O'Sullivan is one of 10 semifinalists in the 2014 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year awards, with other nominees including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, top lawyer Mai Chen, former Christchurch mayor Bob Parker and Maori educator Dame Dr Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.

Dr O'Sullivan is also a nominee in the Kiwibank Local Heroes category of the awards, while Dargaville man Michael Mudford is a semifinalist in the Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year category.

This year began with Dr O'Sullivan being named Maori of the Year, followed by a Public Health award and a Sir Peter Blake Trust leadership award. The New Zealander of the Year winners are announced in February.


Awards chief judge Cameron Bennett said determining who would be the New Zealander of Year was a tough job for the judging panel.

"The calibre of nominations was very high," he said.

"In their own way, each of these people is a revolutionary.

"Some have worked tirelessly for their local communities, others have stamped their mark at a national or even international level.

"They are all Kiwis of whom we can be very proud."

The annual New Zealander of the Year awards is in its fifth year. It recognises, encourages and rewards New Zealand's most vital asset - its people. It is open to all New Zealanders and celebrates the contributions of New Zealanders from all walks of life. Nearly 250 nominations were received for the 2014 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 three finalists who will attend the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards.

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year award are: Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).