They're the pride of New Zealand-and now they'll officially be celebrated. Unsung heroes, rescuers, community leaders, fundraisers, emergency workers, environmental fighters and all-round good people will be recognised in the first annual Pride of New Zealand Awards, to be launched by the New Zealand Herald in two weeks.
The awards-in conjunction with TSB Bank and The Hits radio station and supported by APN regional newspapers-are a nationwide project that will acknowledge ordinary Kiwis making a difference in their communities.
Nominations open on May 5 for the awards, which have been launched to help celebrate the Herald's 150th anniversary.
Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia is today announced as one of several judges on an all-star panel.
It's a privilege to be involved, and to help celebrate the Kiwis who are the unsung heroes of New Zealand, she says. I'm really looking forward to hearing about their inspirational lives.
Herald publisher and APN chief executive Martin Simons says the awards are about paying tribute to ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
The people who make the most positive, uplifting and inspiring contributions in the community do so selflessly-andmany of the most outstanding efforts go unheralded, Mr Simons said.
There will be six awards up for grabs, around four different regions: including recognising acts of bravery or heroism, community spirit, fundraising efforts and those involved with emergency services.
Each week, starting from the end of next month, nominees will be featured in the Herald as well as APN publications throughout NZ.
Later in the year, a selection of the top unsung heroes will be chosen and members of the public will also be given a chance to vote for their favourites.
A panel of judges-from various industries and backgrounds-will decide the overall winners, who will be announced later in the year.
TSB Bank managing director Kevin Murphy says the partnership is a natural fit for the bank, which has been 100 per cent New Zealand-owned and independent since 1850. The opportunity to partner on this new event is an exciting step for us.
TSB Bank has been putting the needs and interests of New Zealanders first for over 160 years, so we're very proud to be part of an initiative which recognises and rewards those 'unsung heroes' who are doing the very same in our local communities.
Mr Simons says the Herald is privileged to be able to report the stories of amazing Kiwis doing inspiring things, and the media organisation is ideally placed to lead the country in ensuring appreciation of these contributions is taken to another level.
The Pride of New Zealand Awards will applaud acts of courage, bravery, compassion and community spirit. We want people right around the country to get involved in this celebration of Kiwi greatness.
Bravery & Heroism Award
Those who have selflessly disregarded their own safety to help or save the life of another person/others.
Community Spirit Award
Those whose selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions have enriched the lives of others in their community.
Fundraiser of the Year Award
Those who have gone beyond all expectations to raise money for a good cause, however large or small the amount.
Emergency Services Award
Those professional or volunteer emergency service members who have gone beyond the call of duty to protect their community.
Those who have had a positive impact on the environment, making a difference to the wider community.
Those whose ongoing commitment to their cause has enriched the lives of others, making New Zealand a better place to live.
Do you know an unsung hero in your community? Nominations open May 5. Look out for details in the Herald newspaper and website.