University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Award – Te Mātātahi o te Tau

Did you miss the 2022 Digital Gala?

The 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa is a beautiful showcase of great people across Aotearoa, and one you don't want to miss.

The New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make our country a better place.

Congratulations to the 2022 University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year, Ezra Hirawani, who is literally building a brighter future for Aotearoa through his determination to find solutions for whānau without power.

The University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Award - Te Mātātahi o te Tau recognises a young person brimming with the potential to build a bright future for Aotearoa, striving across the last year to improve or support their whole community and Tai Ao. The award will recognise a young person aged 15 to 30 who has great potential to have an impact on the future of Aotearoa, and has been striving during the previous year to improve themselves and their whole community.

Vice-Chancellor Tumu Whakarae, Professor Cheryl de la Rey said, “The University of Canterbury is committed to empowering Young New Zealanders across Aotearoa to make a difference especially now, as the world continues to face complex challenges connected to the pandemic, climate change and wellbeing. UC is pleased to celebrate these young leaders and support their success as they make positive impacts in their communities”


Celebrating 2022 Finalists

Finalists for the 2022 University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Award - Te Mātātahi o te Tau have been announced. Congratulations to Ezra Hirawani, Jacinta Gulasekharam, and Stan Walker for being recognised as finalists for this prestigious award.

Read commentary from academics around the University reflecting on the mahi of each of the finalists and find a summary of their impact here

"Ezra Hirawani’s power company, Nau Mai Rā, is a fantastic example of a social enterprise that focuses on keeping people connected to energy as well as dedicating a portion of each customer’s bill to their local marae or a nominated community initiative. Ezra is leading the way in demonstrating how the provision of a basic and necessary service can be linked to social improvement."

Associate Professor Billy O'Steen, Director of the UC Community Engagement Hub | Te Pokapū Pāhekoheko Hapori 

“Social entrepreneurs, such as Jacinta, are changing the way we do business. Social enterprises address societal issues and problems using innovative business models and focus on creating impact. Young people have embraced the concept of social entrepreneurship around the world. The work of people like Jacinta is needed to make Aotearoa and the world a better place.”

Dr Nadeera Ranabahu, Senior Lecturer-Entrepreneurship & Innovation in UC Business School | Te Kura Umanga

“What is inspiring and meaningful about the artistry of Stan Walker is the courage with which the emotional response is shaped. Perhaps it is obvious that an artist of great success expresses something that connects with their many fans, but it is rarer that a popular artist sculpts tears and images of the torn soul, in addition to the expected wave-surfing of joy and the ‘delightful’ heart-flutters of human connections.

In an age where national identities and accompanying successes are still gratingly presented in quasi-competitive poses, it is also a testament to Stan Walker’s grace and honesty to acknowledge that he is a New Zealand and Australian artist. What an inspiring figure of our times!"

- Professor Mark Menzies, Head of Performance, School of Music | Kura Pouro