Comedian turned mental health advocate Mike King has been crowned Kiwibank New Zealander of the year.
Mr King is an outspoken advocate for changing attitudes toward mental illness.
Through his work with the Key to Life charity, last year he led a New Zealand speaking tour from Bluff to Cape Reinga, meeting with teenagers and listening to their experiences with mental illness.
Mr King wore white gumboots onto the stage to accept the award, to promote Gumboot Friday, on 5 April, when Key to Life aims to raise $2 million for kids counselling.
The two other finalists from a field of 2000 nominations were public health expert Marewa Glover, and entrepreneur Lisa King, whose lunch delivery business matches each lunch sold with one donated to a school.
The 10th annual awards gala was held in Auckland tonight.
Chief Judge Cameron Bennett said all three finalists shared the defining qualities of “empathy, understanding and a passion for effecting real, positive change”.
“These three remarkable Kiwis are worthy finalists for the title of Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year in 2019. They are tackling some of the toughest social issues facing New Zealand – issues that touch us all.”
Previous winners include Dr Lance O’Sullivan, Dame Anne Salmond, Richie McCaw, and Taika Waititi.
Source: radionz.co.nz Published by arrangement.