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Nominations open for Kiwibank's Kiwi of the year

The hunt is on for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year: someone who has made an outstanding service, achievement or contribution to the country, and is presumably suitably humble about it all.

Former prime minister Jim Bolger launched nominations at a public event on the Wellington waterfront today, calling on Kiwis to nominate someone who deserved recognition for their accomplishments.

"It is so easy to concentrate on negative headlines yet I am constantly amazed by the contribution made by so many New Zealanders of all ages and backgrounds," he says.

"This year we are again looking for individuals and groups whose deeds and efforts will inspire and encourage others who seek to do good in society. The New Zealander of the Year Awards are designed to recognise special groups and individuals who in their own unique way have made a difference."

Recognising people from all walks of life, the awards seek out and honour exceptional individuals, organisations and community groups who inspire through their hard work and achievement.

Last year’s overall winner was Sir Paul Callaghan of Wellington, a world leading scientist, teacher and communicator. A passionate advocate for addressing the overseas "brain drain", he believes science and technology are the key to economic growth.

Any citizen over the age of 15 can be nominated in one or more of the five award categories:

Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year
Honouring the inspirational achievements of an individual

Countdown Senior New Zealander of the Year
Recognising over-60s making a positive contribution to the nation

Coca-Cola Amatil Young New Zealander of the Year
Role models aged between 15 and 30 who are inspiring young New Zealanders

Mitre 10 Community of the Year
Acknowledging groups and organisations working together to build better communities

Kiwibank Local Heroes
Up to 250 Kiwibank local heroes in up to 15 regions across the country, and one national winner

Nominations are open until October 14 and judging will take place in December. The winners and runners-up in each category will be honoured at a gala awards dinner in February 2012.

Each category winner will receive $5,000 towards their work and a custom-made trophy; all nominees will receive a certificate of achievement or encouragement.

Forms are available online at www.nzawards.org.nz or at Kiwibank, Countdown and Mitre 10 stores.