Philanthropist and businessman Sir Stephen Tindall has been named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2015.

Sir Stephen was presented with the award by the Deputy Prime Minister Bill English at a gala awards ceremony in Auckland last night.

Chief judge Cameron Bennett said Sir Stephen "embodies what it is to be a Kiwi".

"He's passionate about our country and our people, and he places huge personal value on integrity and hard work. His skills, expertise and drive have made thousands of Kiwis better off," she said.


"He is a truly worthy recipient of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award."

The Warehouse director co-founded The Tindall Foundation with his wife Margaret to support community-based initiatives, enterprise and social services. The foundation has provided more than $100 million to support a range of community initiatives.

Sir Stephen has also invested more than $250 million in seed and venture capital in a large number of start-up and early stage businesses, ranging from environmental technology to high-tech and software and businesses with export potential.

He was presented a special kaitaka huaki cloak by 2014 winner Dr Lance O'Sullivan. The Kiwibank cloak, named Pouhine, will be presented to each year's winner.

Speaking this morning Sir Stephen said his goal with the foundation was to "make New Zealand a stronger place".

"It's a very, very satisfying organisation," he said on TV3's Firstline.

Sir Stephen said one of the things he felt most proud of achieving with the foundation was a current project in Auckland called Youth Connections, which he said was "working incredibly well", and another project with the Counties Manukau DHB which starts working with children in Year 11 to help them into a medical profession.

More than 230 nominations were received for the 2015 New Zealander of the Year Awards, which are now in their sixth year.


Mr Bennett said: "The calibre, commitment and achievement of all the nominees made choosing this year's winners incredibly tough but it shows how fortunate New Zealand is to have so many great people."

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Dr Lance O'Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award 2015:

Sir Stephen Tindall

Category winners:

* University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year


Guy Ryan (Wellington) - for contribution to youth development

* Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year

Donald Sew Hoy (Auckland) - for excellence in business

* Mitre 10 Community of the Year

Focus Paihia! (Northland) - for achievement in community advocacy and promotion

* Sanitarium Innovator of the Year


Peter Beck (Auckland) - for excellence in science and technology

* Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year

Billie Jordan (Waiheke Island) - for services to the community