A Northland-raised doctor who is an advocate for Maori health, and a Whangarei environmentalist are both semi-finalists in the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Mataroria Lyndon, a doctor at Middlemore hospital who was raised in Pipiwai, is a semi-finalist for the University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year award and Whangarei community leader and environmentalist Peter Coates is a semi-finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year category.
Dr Lyndon last year won a prestigious scholarship which will see him attend Harvard University in August.
The 29-year-old of Ngati Hine, Ngati Hau and Ngati Wai descent went to kohanga in Tikipunga and Te Horo School in Pipiwai, before moving to South Auckland. He saw the health disparities between Maori and non-Maori first hand.
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He found out he was a semi-finalist late last year and said he felt honoured - especially with idols like Dr Ranginui Walker nominated for 2016 New Zealander of the Year and Dr Lance O'Sullivan, who mentored Dr Lyndon, receiving the award in 2014.
"I was excited and grateful and also I thought it is not about me but the kaupapa and this gives me a platform and a voice to advocate for Maori health."
Mr Coates said it was a great honour to be nominated, but there were plenty of other people at Whangarei Heads doing great work for the environment.
"I'm just one of many doing great work out here. Somebody has to be selected I suppose and this time it just happens to be me. But there are a lot of good things happening that should be recognised too."
An official gala awards presentation dinner will be held in Auckland in February where nominees, semi-finalists and finalists will be recognised.