The 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Gala Awards were held in Auckland last night, with much-admired Kristine Bartlett, rest-home carer and pay equity campaigner in the healthcare sector, taking out the top honour.

Kristine’s fellow nominees included Mike King, well-known comedian turned mental health and suicide prevention campaigner, and our very own Siouxsie Wiles, award-winning microbiologist and science communicator, and principal investigator with Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Siouxsie’s research involves diseases that affect vulnerable children, in particular how to reduce the high rates of infectious diseases in New Zealand kids.

Professor Shaun Hendy, Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, says it was was an incredible achievement for Siouxsie to be named as one of the three finalists for Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

“She is an inspiring role model for everyone at Te Pūnaha Matatini and we are all incredibly proud to work with her,” says Shaun. “Siouxsie is driven by her curiosity about the world and a desire to make a difference in people’s lives. She thinks very deeply about the ethics and impact of her work, and this is evident in the problems she chooses to study and the approach she takes to this study. She is also a passionate believer in making science transparent to the public, and strives to make it accessible to everyone. Siouxsie works hard to make it so that science is something for everyone, not just a privileged few.”

Congratulations Siouxsie for your magnificent mahi and for being a great Kiwi. Aroha nui!

If you haven’t already seen the official awards’ video tribute to Siouxsie, here it is: