By Niki Partsch
This is a most prestigious national award which honours people for their contribution to the wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our congratulations to all the 22 extraordinary, committed and passionate finalists.
Seven outstanding people or groups were awarded honours in seven categories. These are people who through their achievements have contributed significantly in ways that have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand over the last 12 months.
Last year Professor Rangi Mātāmua was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contribution to Māori astronomy, star lore and Māori culture. This year he has received the prestigious Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award. Known as ‘the man behind Matariki’, his work has bought about the revival and restoration of an indigenous holiday, and through it he has bought a wealth of knowledge to all New Zealanders and the world.
His contribution came through working within te ao Māori to enable Government to bring this deeply important knowledge to everyday people. He has taken us on a journey beginning with what Matariki is, through to an understanding of the depth and richness of this knowledge.
Professor Mātāmua is a member of the Māori Heritage Council. The Council assists Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga in developing and reflecting a bicultural view in the exercise of its powers and functions.