New Zealander of the Year: Profile of the three finalists

The three finalists for the New Zealander of the Year have been announced - Marewa Glover, Lisa King and Mike King.

The three finalists are social entrepreneur Lisa King, behavioural scientist doctor Marewa Glover and mental health advocate Mike King. Source: 1 NEWS

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Auckland on February 13. The finalists are profiled below.

Lisa King

As founder of Eat My Lunch, social entrepreneur Lisa King is on a mission to ensure no child in New Zealand goes hungry. At the same time, she is challenging traditional concepts of business and charity.

Launched in 2015, Eat My Lunch is one of New Zealand’s most impactful and popular social enterprises. The unique business model has helped thousands of ordinary New Zealanders contribute to feeding children through purchasing their lunch through Eat My Lunch. For every lunch purchased, a free lunch is delivered to a child at a low-decile school.

Since 2015, the enterprise has enjoyed incredible success ever since. In just three years, the residential kitchen operation has grown to an enterprise that makes, packages and distributes 2700 lunches every day to children in 92 low-decile schools in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.

More than 12,000 Kiwis have volunteered to make, pack and deliver a million lunches.

Lisa launched Eat My Lunch with the belief that clever business solutions can solve big social issues and make a positive impact in the community. Her creative thinking, courage and sheer determination has shown that this unique business model can be adopted successfully in New Zealand.

With her commercial acumen, Lisa has secured high-profile investors including media and marketing entrepreneur Derek Handley and Foodstuffs, as well as key corporate partnerships with likes of Air NZ, Spark, Coca-Cola Amatil and Z Energy. She has also managed to secure the Hurricanes Super Rugby team, Paralympian Liam Malone and boxer Joseph Parker as official ambassadors

Eat My Lunch has been a Deloitte Fast 50 Rising Star category winner for two consecutive years. In 2015 it won the Excellence in Social Innovation category at the New Zealand Innovation Awards and the Westpac Regional Supreme Business Excellence Award in 2016.

Lisa has earned plenty of well-deserved recognition for her work. This includes being named EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2018 and receiving the Young Enterprise Distinguished Alumni, Women of Influence in Business Enterprise and Community awards. She as a finalist in the NEXT Woman of the Year Awards 2016.

She was awarded Kiwibank Local Hero Awards in 2015 and 2016.

Mike King

Mental health advocate Mike King shines much-needed light on the serious issues of depression, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide in New Zealand.

By drawing on his own personal experiences, Mike has shown leadership, courage and empathy to vulnerable people – particularly Maori, children and young people – throughout the country. He has helped schools develop the skills and channels to have open conversations with students and remove the “Kiwi bloke” stigma around asking for help.

In 2009, King started a Radio Live programme airing on Sunday evenings called The Nutters Club. On the programme, King worked with mental health professionals David Codyre and Malcolm Falconer, inviting listeners to phone in with comments and share stories or issues which might be troubling callers. In 2013, The Nutters Club moved to Newstalk ZB.

The driving force behind the Key to Life Charitable Trust, which has a long-term ambition to achieve a zero-suicide rate in New Zealand, Mike works tirelessly to change the way Kiwis think, act and feel about mental health and suicide. By working seamlessly with mental health professionals, service providers, business leaders, schools and community organisations, Mike and the trust are inspiring hope for people in need.

The trust is currently developing a strength-based, youth-led peer support and mentoring programme using Key to Life ambassadors in schools. The intention is to help young people take ownership of their attitudes and perceptions toward mental health issues by building quality relationships. The trust is providing additional support to these ambassadors through establishing comprehensive support networks with local businesses, health and service providers, iwi, whanau and hapu.

Earlier this year, Mike and trust supporters completed the I Am Hope Aotearoa Tour, a scooter ride and school tour across New Zealand to raise awareness and money. During the 3500km ride Mike delivered 70 talks to more than 20,000 people and raising $76,000 for the trust.

Appointed to a government panel on suicide prevention in 2015, Mike later quit the panel, citing serious concerns and flaws about methods he believed would not address the crisis. At the time, he said the system was underfunded and under-resourced, accusing health professionals of over-medicating patients as a stop-gap measure rather than addressing the root cause of depression and suicide.

As well as his tireless work preventing suicide, Mike has also highlighted the poor treatment of farmed animals in New Zealand. For seven years he was the spokesman for New Zealand Pork, presenting TV commercials showcasing quick-fix meals using pork known as Mike's Meals. However, in May 2009 he spoke out against the factory farming of pigs.

Forthright and passionate, Mike has the absolute courage of his convictions and is prepared to take a stand on the crisis situation of suicide in New Zealand.

Dr Marewa Glover

Dr Marewa Glover is a behavioural scientist with over 25 years’ experience in helping improve the health of indigenous populations.

Marewa specialises in indigenous and kaupapa Māori health research methodology and qualitative analysis. She is New Zealand’s foremost expert in developing pragmatic public health interventions to be delivered within indigenous communities.

In addition to tobacco control, Marewa has researched and advocated for new public health interventions to tackle issues such as obesity and interpersonal violence.

She has helped lead global change as to how tobacco harm reduction is assessed in the academic world and how governments and public health organisations can deploy tobacco control initiatives to reduce harm in indigenous communities.

An ardent critic of public health policies that disproportionately impoverish Maori, Marewa advocates for an enlightened approach to tobacco harm reduction policy. She is driven to find better and faster ways to reduce diseases and early death caused by smoking tobacco because, at 42%, her fellow indigenous Māori women have the highest smoking rates in New Zealand.

Marewa is one of New Zealand’s foremost advocates for helping smokers’ transition to less harmful e-cigarettes, with the goal of ending smoking once and for all in New Zealand. From her own experience working with Maori women to transition to e-cigarettes, she has bridged the academic world with what is happening in the real-world communities.

Marewa was one of the first tobacco harm reduction experts in New Zealand to break the academic consensus on tobacco harm reduction policy. Undeterred by criticism from the New Zealand academic establishment, Marewa’s research and public advocacy for Maori and Pacific people has helped create a global consensus on e-cigarettes and the role they could play in ending smoking.

Earlier this year, Marewa launched a Centre of Research Excellence on Indigenous Sovereignty and Smoking. The centre has an international focus and will be partnering with indigenous organisations and researchers around the world to investigate rapidly reducing tobacco smoking among their people.

From a public health policy standpoint, her work has helped ensure the voices of Maori, Pacific and e-cigarette communities are being heard. A true agent of change, she is leading health professionals and academics to rethink traditional harm reduction tools and the disproportionate affect on Maori and Pacific.

She is recognised internationally for her advocacy on tobacco harm reduction and was a recipient of an Outstanding Advocate Award from the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) at the 2018 Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw.

Marewa was a Professor of Public Health at Massey University and Chair of End Smoking New Zealand. In 2017, she was a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards.

For more information on the awards: