Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan has been charged with intentionally damaging a car window.

Lance Edward O'Sullivan's attendance was excused in the Rotorua District Court this afternoon.

Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan. Photo / Jason Oxenham

He allegedly damaged the driver's window of a Nissan vehicle in Rotorua on March 13.

The 47-year-old had name suppression after his first appearance in Rotorua, but an extension was not sought at a registrar's hearing today.

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He was remanded at large to reappear before a registrar on July 1.

O'Sullivan has not entered a plea and is going through the diversion process.

The maximum possible penalty for O'Sullivan's charge is three months' imprisonment and the maximum fine is $2000.

O'Sullivan was named New Zealander of the Year in 2014 and is the founder of the Moko Foundation.

His career has focused on child health - he created New Zealand's first digital health programme, iMoko, which delivers healthcare to children across the country.

Late last year O'Sullivan told the Rotorua Daily Post he had strong links to Rotorua.

"I started my career in Rotorua, my family and children whakapapa to Rotorua and it helped form me to be the person I am today as a clinician."

O'Sullivan is also renowned for his work to improve health outcomes for whānau in the Far North.

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In the past, the outspoken doctor has been vocal about the importance of immunisation — disrupting a screening of a controversial anti-vax film.

In a Facebook post in April, he admitted breaching Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown rules and going kayaking.

"We've been living in a campervan doing our work for the Kaitāia community, but on the weekend I went for a kayak to a place not far from the place I'm staying," he said.

"I'm a dick and I f**ked up. F**k, what a silly bugger, eh? A silly bastard."

Dr Lance O'Sullivan at the launch of iMoko health screening project in 2018. Photo / File
Dr Lance O'Sullivan at the launch of iMoko health screening project in 2018. Photo / File

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, who is a Rotorua Lakes councillor, Lakes District Health Board member, Whānau Ora's North Island Commissioning chairwoman and the former chief executive of Women's Refuge, said today she was "sorry to hear Dr O'Sullivan has had a spot of bother".

"A few years ago I travelled with him throughout the United States. I know he is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of families, particularly those who struggle daily to make a better life for themselves.

"We do place high expectations on those who have a high public profile but an isolated case of stupidity should not detract from the years of excellent work he has achieved. I wish him well."

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. Photo / Jason Oxenham

In a written statement, a Medical Council of New Zealand spokeswoman said: "due to privacy considerations we are unable to comment on individual doctors".

If concerns about a doctor's conduct or competence were raised, the council followed a specific process, she said.

"With all notifications, the doctor is given an opportunity to respond to the concerns raised and this information is then considered by [the] council to determine if any further action is required. Further action can include an investigation into the concerns raised in the notification."

O'Sullivan was approached for comment.

Health Minister David Clark declined to comment.