Rotorua's Louise Nicholas has been announced as one of three finalists for 2016's Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award.

The other finalists are environmentalist and business leader Rob Fenwick (Waiheke Island) and former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Chief judge Cameron Bennett said Mrs Nicholas continued to inspire with her remarkable courage and determination as one of this country's foremost advocates and campaigners for women and the victims of sexual violence.

"She battled against extraordinary odds to find justice and now tirelessly works for others to find the same."


He said the three finalists represented aspiration, ambition, determination to succeed and drive to explore what's possible.

"Mr Fenwick is considered one of New Zealand's foremost statesmen for sustainability and the environment. His motivational skills and elegant leadership have benefited numerous conservation organisations over the years.

"McCaw's contribution to New Zealand extends well beyond his storied rugby career. The unrivalled character and leadership he shows on the rugby field is just as evident off it in his charitable work.

"These three exceptional Kiwis epitomise what it is to be a great New Zealander - leadership, courage, humility, honour and respect."

The annual New Zealander of the Year awards are in their seventh year. They celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make our country a better place. They are open to all New Zealanders to honour extraordinary Kiwis whose selflessness, creativity and vision make us proud to call New Zealand home.

More than 330 nominations were received for the title of 2016 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

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The winner will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards evening in Auckland on February 17.

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), Dr Lance O'Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).

Other categories

The New Zealander of the Year Awards 2016 will also honour New Zealanders who have performed with distinction in five award categories. The finalists for those categories are:

University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year
Lydia Ko (Auckland), Malvindar Singh-Bains (Auckland), Sean Kelly (Taranaki).

Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year
Pratima Devi Nand (Auckland), Avis Leeson (Hamilton), John Russell (Lower Hutt).

Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year
Community Fruit Harvesting (Auckland, national), South Alive (Invercargill), ZEAL (West Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington).

Sanitarium New Zealand Innovator of the Year
Scott Bradley, VMob (Auckland); John Hyndman and Ivan Batistich, HYVAN Anaesthesia (Kaiapoi, Auckland); Photonic Innovations (Dunedin).

Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year
Selwyn Cook (Hamilton), Timothy Marshall (Gisborne), Karen Watson (Christchurch).

More information on the 2016 New Zealander of the Awards and the finalists for each category is at