New Zealander of the Year

Last night at an awards ceremony in Auckland, the winner of the New Zealander of the Year was announced. He is Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshops. He was made Sir Richard for his successful film work in 2010. Listen to Queen’s Birthday Honours to hear more about this. He has also won Oscars at the Academy Awards along with Sir Peter Jackson.

The Young New Zealander of the Year is Sam Johnson. His award is for the work he did organising the Student Volunteer Army after the earthquake in Christchurch. He used Facebook to contact other students and was amazed at the number of volunteers who turned up to help. After the first earthquake, about 2,500 students helped to remove 65,000 tonnes of silt. After the second earthquake, on February 22nd 2011, about 13,000 students helped each week and removed 360,000 tonnes of silt from liquefaction. Listen to March 1st 2011 to hear more about this. Students also checked on people in damaged houses and brought them hot food.

After the Christchurch earthquake, Sam went to Japan to help students there organise a volunteer army to help clean up after the earthquake and tsunami.

He says that often people think university students are drunk and a problem to neighbours. He wanted to show a positive view of students, to show they care for the community and want to help people.

For a photo of Sam Johnson click here.


award – a prize
ceremony – a special occasion like a wedding or a party
announced – told the people at the ceremony
amazed – very surprised
silt – sand, mud – a product of liquefaction
turned up – came
checked on –checked that people were OK, asked them if they needed help,
clean up – make everything clean, remove the liquefaction


Do you think it is a good idea to have a New Zealander of the Year award? Do you have similar awards for people in your country?

What qualities should a New Zealander of the year have?

Leave a Reply