Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia returns to the all-star judging panel this year, along with The New Zealand Herald Editor Shayne Currie and The Hits host Polly Gillespie. Two highly respected faces have been carefully selected as new judges in 2015. Both leaders in their
field, who have shown great compassion and passion in their individual missions to help others, ecostore founder Malcolm Rands and Hospice New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Mary Schumacher will bring a depth of experience and insight to the judging process.
One of the most skilled long-range shooters in the world, Maria Tutaia is still thrilling audiences with her silky shooting style and deadly accuracy. Since her national debut for the NZ U21 team in 2004, Tutaia has cemented her spot in the goal attack position showing the poise and focus of a much older player. She is currently captain of the Northern Mystics, and has 83 Test Caps for the Silver Ferns. A sporting hero for the nation, we feel Maria is perfectly suited (for the second time) to help us decide on our finalists. "I'm really looking forward to hearing about their inspiring, uplifting work."
Our most loved and listened to breakfast radio host, Polly Gillespie is returning for a second year as a regional judge for the Pride of New Zealand Awards. Having grown up and lived in most parts of the country, and meeting plenty of people along the way, we beleive she is perfect for the job. “So much of social media and the media is devoted to making fun of people. So to actually recognize people who have the angel gene and who are doing good things out there, is great. When people see that positivity, it's such a good thing - it's uplifting.”
Mary Schumacher is currently Chief Executive of Hospice New Zealand, a role that she has held for the past nine years. Hospice New Zealand is a not for profit organisation that represents all hospice services throughout the country. During her time with hospice Mary has seen first-hand the generous spirit of many people who give their time and expertise to their community. “One of the things that makes me proud to be a New Zealander is the “roll up your sleeves and help out” attitude that exists in so many New Zealand communities. Helping each other out without any expectation of reward or acknowledgement is what makes a hero, just doing something good that needs to be done.”
When Malcolm started ecostore in 1993 he had a dream to create a healthier more sustainable world. It began in the basement of their Northland home and now they manufacture over 100 products of household cleaners, body care and baby products with a focus on looking after the health and wellbeing of people as well as the planet. “I’m surrounded by people in my work who want a safer, healthier world for future generations, it’s hugely inspirational. I found the Pride of New Zealand Awards equally motivating. I loved reading the stories of amazing initiatives and feats achieved by our fellow Kiwis, it’s one of the aspects that defines us as a special country. To be asked to be a judge this year is such an honour.”
Miriyana Alexander has been a journalist for 25 years, and is The New Zealand Herald’s Weekend Editor – she looks after the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday. She was impressed with the calibre of last year’s winners, and expects it will be a tough job helping choose those most deserving this year. “These people are the glue holding our communities together, making New Zealand a better place to live. I’m full of admiration for them.”
The national judging panel who deliberated over the 2014 award finalists were carefully selected to ensure the best possible perspective on our wide range of nominees, three familiar faces are returning to do the task in 2015 - with two new judges to be announced in due course.
Sir Peter grew up in Newtown, Wellington, and went on to establish the Mad Butcher chain. His family's humble beginnings had always pushed him to want to help others and in 2010 he was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy. Sir Peter, says the term "hero" tended to be given just to an elite few. But for him, heroes are ordinary people who contributed to their communities. "They're people that just do little things all the time - even just running a sausage sizzle for a charity. Unsung heroes come in many different forms."
Kevin has over 15 years’ experience working at a senior level with TSB Bank, and was appointed the Bank’s Managing Director/CEO in 2010. Kevin says the Pride of New Zealand Awards is a natural fit for the Bank. TSB Bank has been putting the needs and interests of New Zealanders first for over 160 years, so they’re very proud to be part of these awards which recognise and reward unsung heroes who are doing the very same in their local communities.
Jane is totally behind the Pride of New Zealand Awards, saying it’s great that NZME is able to give something back, and support the community who have supported us over the years.
Former Tall Black and Breakers great Dillon Boucher, knows all about putting in the hard yards in order to achieve goals. A former a player in the New Zealand Breakers basketball franchise that won back to back championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in the Australian National Basketball League - all that hard work obviously paid off! Now he would like to help recognise those who are working hard to make their communities great. We are really excited to welcome Dillon to the national judging panel this year.
Bernice was a member of the New Zealand Silver Ferns netball team for 10 years and led the squad for five. She regards the captaincy as one of the highlights, alongside winning her first test cap and like all good kiwis she particularly enjoyed beating the Aussies. Her athletic achievements were recognised in the New Zealand honours list of 2002 where she was awarded a MNZM. She is now managing Hyundai NZ's Pinnacle Programme - a youth mentoring scholarship, and is busy Mum who is looking forward to meeting our amazing finalists.
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