The Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year, Te Pou Toko o te Tau, award was established to recognise those putting in the hard yards for their communities and taking extraordinary action to make Aotearoa a better place. These are the people that unite us through their tireless work for others. Individually, they are the people having meaningful impact in their respective communities. Collectively, these outstanding individuals remind us of the true spirit of New Zealand, and reflect the mana of this prestigious award.
Hundreds of amazing individuals were nominated from across the country. From that group the top 100 were recognised as local hero medallists for their contributions. Now, 10 semi finalists, including our very own Sian Neary from Graeme Dingle Foundation Auckland, have been selected from that group.
In 2020, the Graeme Dingle Foundation celebrated its 25th year of empowering rangatahi through school-based programmes that build self-confidence via outdoor learning and mentorship. But as Covid spread throughout the country, and tamariki stayed home, the foundation was faced with the challenge of moving their programmes online. And so, as Aotearoa went into lockdown, general manager Sian Neary took the foundation’s approach online, partnering with TVNZ and the Ministry of Education to produce the Tamariki Talks series on Papa Kāinga TV. Aiming to connect tamariki with a learning curriculum at home, Tamariki Talks featured lessons around perseverance, self-discipline and problem solving.