Mike King wins the 2019 New Zealander of the Year Award

Source: 1News

Mike King has been named the Kiwibank 2019 New Zealander of the Year for his work as a mental health advocate.

He was presented the award from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a ceremony in Auckland this evening.

King won the award after using his own battles with depression, alcohol, drug abuse and suicide to bring these serious issues to the attention of the Kiwi public.

He teared up while thanking his wife and family in his acceptance speech, "I love you so much thank you."

His fellow finalists for the title were tobacco harm reduction advocate Marewa Glover and Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King.

Chief Judge Cameron Bennett gave his thoughts on King winning New Zealander of the Year.

"Mike King is a wonderfully complex and compelling Kiwi. His determination to shine a light on the affects and impacts of mental health, particularly among Māori and young people, is as uncompromising as it is confronting.

"His passion and total commitment challenges us to think again about how we address some of the most serious social issues of our time.

"Mike's in your face, brutally honest and hugely funny. He doesn't back down. It's that courage and resolve that makes him so relatable to at-risk rangitahi that others can't reach. Mike King is a great New Zealander of the Year."

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year Award are: Kristine Bartlett (2018), Taika Waititi (2017), Richie McCaw (2016), Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014), Dame Anne Salmond (2013), Sir Richard Taylor (2012), Sir Paul Callaghan (2011) and Sir Ray Avery (2010).

2019 Category Winners

• University of Auckland Young New Zealander of the Year: Kendall Flutey (Christchurch)
• Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year: Dr Bill Glass (Wellington)
• Mitre 10 Community of the Year: Pillars (national)
• Sanitarium Innovator of the Year: Ian Taylor – Animation Research Ltd (Dunedin)
• Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year: Pera Barrett (Wellington)