Icon of peace and forgiveness Farid Ahmed has been named one of the top three finalists of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award to be hosted on March 31 in Auckland.

Victim of the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019 who lost his wife made headlines with his message of forgiveness even after losing his wife to the vile attack at the mosques.

Farid and his wife Husna had been praying at the Al Noor Mosque on the day of the attack, and Husna had already helped several people to safety when she was fatally shot in the back while looking for her husband, who uses a wheelchair.

Farid’s remarkable messages of love and forgiveness have captured the hearts of people around the world. In December 2019, he travelled to Abu Dhabi to speak at the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, where he received an award for promoting peace.

Farid Ahmed shares the platform with two other finalists, Ranjna Patel, founder and director of Tamaki Health, and advocates for the rehabilitation of domestic violence victims and a social entrepreneur.

She established Gandhi Nivas in 2014, a community organisation working for the victims and instigators of domestic violence in partnership with NZ Police and Sahaayta Counselling services and government bodies.

Currently, Gandhi Nivas has three permanent homes in Auckland; all staffed 24/4 by counsellors, social workers and Alcohol and Drug counsellors.

Massey University released a 5-year longitudinal study (looking at men five years before entering Gandhi Nivas and after) and found 60% of men did not re-offend. 60% non-recidivism is amazing and will make a difference in NZ shameful Family Violence statistics.

Ranjna Patel is also amongst the top three finalists of The Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award category, sharing the space with other two finalists Craig Piggott, CEO of Halter Limited, and Hengjie Wang, Allie Samson and Jordan Thoms & Bob Drummond Founders of the education application, Kami.

The third finalist declared for the coveted title is Dr Siouxsie Wiles, a microbiologist and an award-winning scientist who came to public attention during last year’s Covid-19 lockdown joining hands with Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris making the science of the pandemic clear and understandable.

Releasing their work under a Creative Commons licence, their graphics have been seen by millions and even used by governments and organisations as part of their official pandemic communications.

Siouxsie is also passionate about demystifying science and has won numerous prizes for her efforts, including the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize in 2013.