We need to thank Kaitaia GP Lance O'Sullivan for letting us share in his latest accolade - New Zealander of the Year.

Lance received his Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award from Prime Minister John Key at a gala event in Auckland on Wednesday night.

It's wonderful recognition for Lance, and great for Northland too.

Did I mention he was from Kaitaia. Let's say it again - Kaitaia. Awesome, because that plucky wee town had a rough year on occasions in 2013.


Lance and his wife Tracy have become involved in intelligent, proactive social change through health in the Far North.

They have made basic healthcare more accessible, with a focus on Maori, children's and underprivileged people's health.

And he and his wife have seven kids!

Lance has become a Northland leader, and has challenged our politicians from the outside, to improve the Far North's lot.

He has persevered, and helped make positive change above and beyond your average doctor's desire to help and heal people. So congratulations, Lance.

You're right - we know you don't do these things to win awards.

But every now and then, it's great to be recognised and to be told "well done, you're awesome".

Well done, Lance, you're awesome.

And thanks for shining a positive spotlight on Northland that we can all bask in.