As part of the 2020 New Zealander of the Year Awards, 15 Kiwibank Waikato local heroes were presented with medals to recognise their achievements.

"Each award winner embodies the priceless qualities that hold a community together," Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor, who presented the medals, said. "It was their charity, selflessness and humble generosity that shone bright as we heard each local hero speak about their achievements in our community.

"It's for that very reason I stand with them all tonight, to acknowledge the hard work they've each put into this community that has truly made the Waikato the place it is today," he said.

The Kiwibank Local Heroes for the Waikato are: Thomas Rawiri Stewart Nabbs (Hamilton); Sarah Kull (Pokeno); Dr Assil Russell (Hamilton); David Dawson (Matamata); Yvonne Haenga-Ashby (Huntly); Denise Potbury (Waikaretu); Philip Brown (Ōtorohanga); Anjum Rahman (Hamilton); Margaret Wilson (Putaruru) — Margaret is receiving her medal at the North and West Auckland ceremony; Ahmad Zareh (Hamilton) — Ahmad is receiving her medal at the South and East Auckland ceremony; Gwenyth Mary Wright (Thames); Murray Steiner (Hamilton East);

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Throughout November and December, 326 medals will be presented nationwide with one New Zealand Local Hero of the Year winner announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards in February.

"The Local Hero Awards honour some of New Zealand's finest people," Kiwibank chief executive Steve Jurkovich said. "They celebrate those Kiwis whose hard mahi and determination has improved the lives of many in their communities.

"It is this sense of community and collaboration that creates real impact and inspires us at Kiwibank every year. We're proud to be a part of a truly fantastic celebration of New Zealand's communities and people."