Ranjna Patel in running for New Zealander of the Year

Ranjna Patel is humbled to be nominated in two categories for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award. Photo supplied

Founder and director of Tamaki Healthcare, Ranjna Patel has been named as a semi-finalist for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa.

A semi-finalist in two categories – the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year as well as the Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year – Patel was also named winner of the Deloitte Top 200 Visionary Leader in 2016.

“It’s such an honour and a buzz in my head. To be the semi-finalist in two categories is absolutely amazing,” says the east Auckland resident who has been a recipient of a long list of awards.

She sits on numerous advisory boards including National Ethnic Forum for New Zealand Police, Counties Manukau (CM) Police, Middlemore Foundation, Mental Health Foundation, Diversity Works, Global Women and Co. of Women

“I am proud of all my awards but humbled to be acknowledged so much for just doing what I enjoy.”

Patel has also been acknowledged for ground-breaking work in reducing family violence.

In 2013, when the Counties Manukau Police, concerned about an increase in family violence in the South Asian community, consulted the experienced provider of healthcare in high needs communities, a unique idea of a 24/7 emergency service was born.

Partnering with New Zealand Police and Sahaayta Counselling services, Patel established the first Gandhi Nivas house in Otahuhu.

Staffed 24/7 by counsellors, social workers and alcohol and drug counsellors, Gandhi Nivas provides early intervention and prevention services for New Zealand men identified at risk of committing harm.

The innovative approach supports men to change their violent behaviour, reducing the likelihood of further family harm and increasing safety for families.

Currently, there are three Gandhi Nivas houses in Auckland.

Massey University released a five-year longitudinal study and found 60 per cent of men did not re-offend.

In their 12th year, the annual Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate Kiwis from all walks of life. It’s an acknowledgement of those extraordinary individuals who inspire and give hope.

The Awards Office received a record number of nominations in 2020 for the award that leads across the six categories: New Zealander of the Year; Young New Zealander of the Year; Senior New Zealander of the Year; New Zealand Innovator of the Year; New Zealand Community of the Year; New Zealand Local Hero.

Interestingly, a significant number of the nominations were for Dr Ashley Bloomfield, director-general of Health. However, Bloomfield’s office responded saying that although humbled, he wished not to be considered for the award given his primary role as a public servant.

Three finalists will be announced for the six Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year categories on Monday, March 1, with the winners announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on Wednesday, March 31.

Previous winners of the New Zealander of the Year award are: Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand (2020), Mike King (2019), 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)