Former National Party leader and Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash is in the running for New Zealander of the Year.

Brash, who has been in the thick of a debate about free speech in New Zealand in the past two weeks, is among nine people nominated for Kiwibank's annual award so far.

New Zealander of the Year Awards manager Glyn Taylor said the nominations to date covered a range of fields, including mental health advocacy, sport and lifestyle coaching.

"Each year, nominations reflect what New Zealanders are talking about and are interested in," he said.

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"Kiwis working hard to address critical social issues continue to feature prominently.

"A particularly interesting nomination is that of Dr Don Brash, who has been at the forefront of the debate around freedom of speech that's dominated headlines in recent weeks."

Others nominated for the award were Team New Zealand helmsman and America's Cup winner Peter Burling and mental health advocate Mike King.

Nominations for the awards close on September 17, after which a judging panel will draw up a shortlist.

Last year's New Zealander of the Year was pay equity campaigner Kristine Bartlett. Previous winners include film director Taika Waititi, All Black captain Richie McCaw and scientist Sir Paul Callaghan.

Nominations so far:
• Dr Don Brash (Auckland) – former National Party leader, free speech advocate
• Annah Stretton (Hamilton) – fashion designer, philanthropist and entrepreneur
• Peter Burling (Auckland) – Team New Zealand yachting helmsman
• Sue Kedgley (Wellington) – former Greens MP, Wellington regional councillor
• Mike King (Auckland) – mental health advocate
• Dave Letele (Manurewa) – athlete and weight-loss coach
• Alan Halse (Hamilton) – director of Culturesafe NZ
• Mary O'Hagan (Wellington) – mental health innovator and advocate
• Simone Anderson (Auckland) – lifestyle influencer and weight-loss star