World champion rugby player Ruby Tui and Professor Rangi Mātāmua AKA 'the man behind Matariki' have been announced as one of four finalists for the New Zealander of the Year award.
The other two finalists are Sir John Kirwan and the Topp Twins.
Ruby Rangi, and the other contestants have all done immense amounts of mahi in their field and beyond so tu meke and good luck.
According to their website, The New Zealander of the Year is awarded to a Kiwi “for their contribution to the wellbeing of our country. Proven, inspirational and passionate, these are the people that New Zealand is proud to call their own.”
On the announcement page, Ruby has been commended for being an “athlete, author, and advocate for mental health … igniting the nation with her natural charisma, talent, and passion for the games.”
Ruby playing a massive role in the Black Ferns winning the World Cup was just the start of her stardom. As soon as she was given her winner’s medal, she gave it to a young fan who beat leukaemia.
She also led the sold-out Eden Park crowd in a singalong to the classic waiata ‘Tutira Mai Nga Iwi’ during her post-game interview, visited a fan’s home to sign her copy of Tui’s book, and joked around with former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Above all that though, she has broken barriers and shown the next generation that you can dominate in your field of choice no matter what, and have fun doing it. Ngā mihi Ruby, you’ve earnt it.
Professor Rangi Mātāmua AKA the man behind Matariki is a Māori astronomer who is responsible for Aotearoa officially recognising Matariki as a day of significance. When he was still in university, “his grandfather presented him with a 400-page manuscript on Matariki written by an ancestor in the late 1800s, which was passed down generations," Massey University's website states.
Eventually, he shared the information in that manuscript, as well as further research me hade himself, with important figures. That led to Matariki becoming a public holiday, a milestone in Māori history and culture.
Insane mahi from Rangi and it’s awesome he is getting the recognition he deserves.