Muslim Named in 2020 New Zealander of the Year Semi-Finalists

This award honours someone who, through inspiration and leadership, contributes to the wellbeing of the country.

A Hamilton-based Muslim political and human rights activist has been named as a semi-finalist for Kiwibank’s New Zealander of the Year,

“Community worker Anjum Rahman is a political and human rights activist working for the right of Muslim women, especially speaking against discrimination of Muslims,” New Zealander of the Year Awards website wrote.

“Her overarching desire is to create a better world for her own children and for all New Zealanders.”

Rahman, who spent years campaigning against racism and bigotry, is one of ten semi-finalists for the annual award, which is now in its 11th year.

Rahman was the founding member and the first secretary of the Islamic Women’s Council in New Zealand that brought women of Islamic faith together since 1990.

Over the past two and half decades, she has been vocal on the rights of Muslim women and raised concerns about racial discrimination against the Muslim community and Muslim women in New Zealand, especially after the 9/11 attacks.

Muslim Named in 2020 New Zealander of the Year Semi-Finalists - About Islam

Other Candidates

The three finalists will be announced in January and the winner will be named at an awards gala in Auckland on February 20.

Along with Rahman, the shortlist includes Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck, vaccinologist Dr. Helen Petousis-Harris, actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand, neonatologist Professor Jane Harding, and journalist Tapu Misa.

Also on the list are Gaze Foundation co-founder Anne Gaze; lawyer Stacey Shortall, who runs a number of social programs for women and children; David Downs, a cancer survivor and patient advocate; and Dame Margaret Sparrow, a longtime champion for sexual and reproductive health.

The 10 semi-finalists, out of 969 nominations, represented “the very best of us”, chief judge Cameron Bennett said, Stuff reported.

“With courage, humility, empathy, and determination, they’ve taken real actions to help solve some of the big challenges this country faces. Their remarkable contributions help make New Zealand that much better of a place to live.

“These are Kiwis of whom we can all be proud.”