England’s Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes says he is flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year but it doesn’t “sit right” with him.
The New Zealand-born all-rounder, whose dad Ged played a Test for the Kiwis before moving to England to coach rugby league, said in a statement that he was proud of his Māori heritage.
“I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12-years old,” Stokes said.
“There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.”
Stokes, was man-of-the-match in last week’s Cricket World Cup final as England won on a boundaries countback, then nominated his rival and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson as a worthy recipient.
“I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend,” he said.
“He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour, he was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men.”
“He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke. He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander.”
New Zealander of the Year chief judge Cameron Bennett said last week that Stokes "might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch where his parents now live and with Māori ancestry, there's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him."