Renowned Māori leader Tā Tipene O’Regan, of Ngāi Tahu, has won the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award.
Tā Tipene successfully led the negotiations of one of the country’s first iwi settlements – he was the chief negotiator in the team leading Ngāi Tahu to settlement with the Crown in 1998.
Tā Tipene, who was knighted in 1994, was presented the award virtually tonight which also celebrated the work he has done since the settlement.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere (chair) Lisa Tumahai said after his mahi as chief negotiator, Tā Tipene continued to guide the iwi as a rangatira while contributing to a wide range of other kaupapa and leadership positions across New Zealand.
“This award not only celebrates the contribution Tā Tipene has made to our country in the last year, but it also highlights how he has influenced the history of New Zealand throughout his entire career as a leader across Te Ao Māori, academia and business.”
The former university lecturer chaired and developed the Ngāi Tahu Archive Advisory Committee which led to a partnership with Archives New Zealand and the rehousing of the Ngāi Tahu Archive collection in a new facility in Wigram in 2021.
Te Koruru Patron of the Awards Miriama Kamo said the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa celebrated people who used their passion to make the country a better place and Tā Tipene undeniably fitted the bill.
“His wairua, and dedication to our people is a taonga for the future.”
The other finalists in the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award category were acclaimed singer and songwriter Dame Hinewehi Mohi DNZM and New Zealand’s most decorated athlete Dame Lisa Carrington MNZM.
The winner of the University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Te Mātātahi o te Tau 2022 award was Ezra Hirawani (Te Āti Haunui-a-Paparangi, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hako and Waikato Tainui), who co-founded kaupapa Māori power company Nau Mai Rā.
The Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau 2022 award went to Rereata Mākiha, an innovator who has dedicated his life to Te Ao Māori.
Mark Sagar, chief executive of Soul Machines, won the Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau 2022 award.
The Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year Ngā Pou Whirinaki o te Tau 2022 award went to the Matakaoa community.
The award recognised the community’s united efforts to keep Covid-19 out of their town and exemplary vaccination rates.
The Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year Te Toa Taiao o te Tau 2022 award went to ecologist Charmaine Bailie, who is overseeing numerous large-scale environmental restoration projects.
The Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Te Pou Toko o te Tau 2022 award went to Dave Letele, the founder of the not-for-profit and free weight-loss programme Brown Buttabean Motivation.
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