Every year, Kiwibank hosts a programme, ‘The Kiwibank Local Hero award’, recognising the selfless contributions of individuals toward the community bringing a positive difference in the lives of the people.
The award is divided into six categories, one of which is New Zealand Local Hero where people are nominated between July and September and Regional Hero Medalists are awarded at an event in November.
Of the 57 names announced in October this year, 13 regional, local hero medalists were Kiwi Indians, that brings a lot of pride to the Kiwi Indian community.
The Kiwi-Indian community is spread over every region in New Zealand, and through their hard work and perseverance, they have made their contributions towards the betterment of the society.
Be it any field, business, science, social work, or education– they have dedicated their time and efforts, through their sacrifice they have made a significant difference in the community.
Seven of the 13 Kiwi Indian medalists belong from Auckland and are quite prominent for their work and contributions towards the community.
Regional Local Hero medalists from Auckland:
Malvinder Singh-Bains, 2016 Indian Weekender’s Kiwi Indian Young Achiever award who is known for her work in the field of brain research.
Malvindar Singh-Bains and Nanette Nathoo
Nanette Nathoo is a well-known community figure who has worked tirelessly toward crime prevention, safety awareness programmes for the retailers working alongside community organisations and New Zealand Police. She was awarded Queens Service Medal, is a JP, Super Senior Champion and currently also heads NZICA and AIAI Law & Order Chair.
Nilima Venkat is the General Manager of Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust, a community organisation looking after the senior citizens of the Indian and South Asian community and providing other services to the victims of elder abuse and family violence. She is honoured for her work and contributions. She has also been awarded MNZM.
Jit Kaur is one of the leading voices for women’s rights in New Zealand, especially within the Sikh community. She established the New Zealand Sikh Women’s Association (NZSWA) in 2002 after being encouraged by none other than the former Prime Minister and friend– Helen Clark – and has dedicated her life to support the victims of domestic violence in a bid to be that friendly, reliable and a non-judging face that any woman can talk to when in need or trouble. She works closely with Victim Support, Police and the Ministry of Social Welfare to help the victims of abusive relationships through counselling and rehabilitation.
Ranjna Patel is a social entrepreneur, and is known for her work not just for the betterment of the community but is also a renowned social entrepreneur and a successful businesswoman. Ms Patel has a list of awards and honours and continues to work for the betterment of the community. She has dedicated her time and efforts towards establishing Gandhi Nivas, an emergency housing facility provided to the perpetrators of domestic violence and for their rehabilitation.
Rupal Mehta was selected as the local hero from Bay of Plenty. She was recognised for dedicating her years of efforts volunteering with Shakti NZ towards ending family violence within ethnic communities of the Bay of Plenty region. She was presented with the medal in Tauranga in November.
Other Kiwi-Indian regional medalists from Auckland are Senthil Perumal, Dr Shanthi Selvakumar, Kanta Patel from Canterbury, Abdul Nishar from Rotorua and Taupo, Ravinder Powar from Waikato, Farida Sultana from Wellington (re-nominated) and Vinay Chandra from West Coast.
The other categories for awards this year are New Zealander of the Year, Young New Zealander of the Year, Senior New Zealander of the Year, New Zealand Innovator of the Year, and New Zealand Community of the Year.
An official Gala Awards Presentation Dinner will be held in Auckland in February 2019 where nominees, semi-finalists & finalists will be formally recognised.