April 28, 2015
When Wade Kelly charged into the Hawkes Bay surf to rescue four people in trouble, earning hero status was the last thing on his mind.
"No way - it was just adrenalin," said the physiotherapist, who had just been out for a surf at Waimarama Beach when what had been just another sunny Sunday took a dramatic turn.
Responding to a call for help, Mr Kelly grabbed his surfboard and raced out towards Anton Randell, his wife, Kirsty, 10-year-old son Josh, and Josh's friend Jaimie Nichols, 12.
His deeds during the 45-minute rescue in November 2013 earned him the Bravery and Heroism Award in last year's inaugural Pride of New Zealand Awards.
"It was very humbling, but what I really thought was great about the whole ceremony was how good it was to see so many Kiwis who are out there, each day, helping each other."
Mr Kelly is now joining fellow winners from last year in urging Kiwis to get behind the 2015 Pride of New Zealand Awards, which will again honour extraordinary Kiwis making a significant difference in their communities.
Far North firefighter Tony "Scottie" Scott, who won the Fundraiser of the Year Award, said he wanted Kiwis to recognise as many community champions as they could this year.
For Mr Scott, a long-time member of the Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Service, winning the award boosted the profile of the annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge.
Last year's challenge attracted 700 firefighters and raised more than $915,000. He hopes to better that in this year's event on May 23, which has attracted entries from as far away as Germany, Chile and America.
Mahia environmentalist Kathleen Mato said the publicity she gained from winning the Environmental Award had also proven a huge help.
It brought many new volunteers to the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group as it strives to plant more than 200,000 trees to help restore water quality and local ecosystems.
"I'd like to see people give as much support as they can to groups out there doing work in their own areas."
More than 700 people were nominated across all six categories of last year's awards, and another large response is expected when nominations for the 2015 awards open on May 4.
Kiwis will also again be given a chance to vote for the TSB Bank People's Choice Award.
Once nominations close on June 14, regional award ceremonies will take place in August, followed by the national Pride of New Zealand Awards ceremony in September.
The awards will be supported by major sponsors TSB Bank, along with NZME.'s the New Zealand Herald and radio station The Hits. For the first time, Yealands Wines is an official event partner.
"Last year's awards were an incredible and humbling experience," TSB Bank chief executive Kevin Murphy said.
"We're really looking forward to meeting more of these inspirational New Zealanders in 2015."
Herald editor Shayne Currie said it was one of the projects he most enjoys.
"Celebrating the generosity and kindness of the Kiwi spirit is a very humbling and inspiring project to be part of," he said.
"I would really encourage people to take the time to nominate someone you think has defied the odds, is brave, compassionate and community spirited.
"These awards are especially for these people."
The categories include:
Bravery & Heroism
Those who have selflessly disregarded their own safety to help or save the life of another.
Those whose selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions have enriched the lives of others.
Fundraiser of the Year
Those who have gone beyond all expectations to raise money for a good cause.
Professional or volunteer emergency service members who have gone beyond the call of duty.
Those who have had a positive impact, making a difference to the wider community.
Those whose ongoing commitment to their cause has enriched the lives of others, making New Zealand a better place to live.
Terms and conditions go here