Pride of NZ Awards: Kindness warms heart of 'the mother of the nation'

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Helping others unselfishly and freely was an attribute encouraged in the former news anchor by her parents

Judy Bailey joins other celebrity judges for this year's inaugural Pride of NZ Awards. Photo / Michael Craig
Judy Bailey joins other celebrity judges for this year's inaugural Pride of NZ Awards. Photo / Michael Craig

People who show kindness and freely give to others in need — without any expectation of a reward — are the sorts of people former news anchor Judy Bailey has always praised.

Bailey is today announced as one of several celebrity judges for this year's inaugural Pride of New Zealand Awards.

Radio personality Polly Gillespie and Silver Fern Maria Tutaia are also on the judging panel.

The long-time popular presenter for One News — known as the "mother of the nation" — Bailey said she was happy to be involved with the awards, which honour ordinary Kiwis doing big things in their communities.

She said those who gave up their time and effort to help various charities and community groups deserved the spotlight.

"People who volunteer — for instance at Hospice — to drive patients to appointments or to help in the garden or to run the kitchen. Those sort of people are totally selfless and they operate under the radar.

"These organisations wouldn't run — they wouldn't be able to do what they do — if it weren't for volunteers. I think we're incredibly lucky to have these people in our communities," she said.

"They're not looking for recognition and they'd probably be really embarrassed if you singled them out. But they just quietly go about helping other people."

Bailey has been involved with a number of groups over the years, including North Shore Hospice, Women's Refuge, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, World Vision and Seasons, a grief support programme for young people run by the Anglican Church.

Growing up in Lower Hutt, she said her parents — Royal NZ Air Force Wing Commander Ian Morrison and Dinny Morrison, a homemaker — had advocated being kind and selfless.

"There's a lot to be said for being kind. It's a funny old-fashioned word, but kindliness was always something that my dad talked about as being one of the key human attributes that he really wanted me to have.

"I've always been a firm believer that you get out of life what you put into it — not in any kind of monetary sense, but in putting your heart and soul into something. It's those people who I admire enormously."

She named Dame Whina Cooper, Sir Peter Blake and Sir Edmund Hillary as her heroes.

She was impressed by "their strength in character, their belief that anything was possible and their belief in the ultimate goodness in human nature".


The Pride of NZ Awards is a joint initiative with The Hits radio station, TSB Bank, the Herald and APN regional newspapers around the country. Nominations are open until June 15.

- NZ Herald

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