Since he started his daily press briefings, the Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has become a household name for his calm and clear communication about the Covid-19 pandemic.
But when asked today about a petition signed by over 500 people to make him New Zealander of the Year in 2021 for his “competent, calm, factual” updates, Dr Bloomfield was humble.
"I’m lucky to be part of a fantastic team," he said, citing health professionals around the country.
"Leadership is an invitation to collective action."
“He gets very humble when you play the song about him too,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern added, referring to a fan-made song by musician Maxwell Aspe.
The song is only one of many expressions of praise for Dr Bloomfield.
One week into alert level four, many expressed relief when they heard he was taking a day off like RNZ’s Rachel Thomas.
The Guardian’s Eleanor Ainge Roy praised his ability to recall statistics in a column titled “New Zealand's Covid-19 crush on health chief”.
Meanwhile, Newsroom columnist Anna Connell became the unofficial leader of the Ashley Bloomfield fan club on Twitter.
Others took to photo editing software to express their admiration.
Dr Bloomfield studied medicine at the University of Auckland, specialising in public health.
He spent one year with the World Health Organisation in Geneva in 2011.
He also fronted the media during the Christchurch terror attacks and the Whaakari/White Island eruption.
Dr Bloomfield’s salary was $528,000 in 2019.