Mental health advocate, Mike King, has been named KiwiBank’s 2019 New Zealander of the Year.
The recognition is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand and whose achievements have positive effects on how Kiwis feel about their country and themselves.
An inspiring presence at many financial adviser conferences, King shines a light on the issues of depression, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide in New Zealand.
Working alongside other mental health professionals, King has been the driving force of many initiatives to shift the way people think about mental health including with the Key to Life Charitable Trust and The Nutters Club.
Chief Judge, Cameron Bennett, described King as a “wonderfully complex and compelling Kiwi”.
“His determination to shine a light on the affects and impacts of mental health, particularly among Maori and young people, is as uncompromising as it is confronting,” said Bennett.
“Mike’s in your face, brutally honest and hugely funny. He doesn’t back down. It’s that courage and resolve that makes him so relatable to at-risk rangitahi that others can’t reach. Mike King is a great New Zealander of the Year.”
King received the award from Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and was also presented the Kiwibank kaitaka huaki cloak, Pouhine, by 2018 New Zealander of the Year Kristine Bartlett and 2014 winner Dr Lance O’Sullivan.
The Judges took the following criteria into account:
- The contribution and benefit to society and impact on community or nation by the individual being nominated
- Their personal interest and involvement in the wider community
- Any challenges faced and how they have been overcome
- The length of service
- Commitment to their personal development by participation in courses, forums, conventions and community activities etc.
- Contribution to New Zealand’s development
- Degree of difficulty in achievement
Banqer’s Chief Executive, Kendall Flutey, also was honoured as University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year.
Her online educational programme helps young New Zealanders develop financial literacy skills, and is now used by more than 300 primary and intermediate classrooms nationwide.
The annual New Zealander of the Year Awards are in their 10th year and a total of 448 nominations were received for the title of 2019 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.