I am delighted and extremely proud in the 180th year of the Treaty of Waitangi to announce the two finalists for the prestigious UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2020, presented by the New Zealand Society of the United Kingdom and proudly sponsored for the 15th consecutive year by Air New Zealand.
The two finalists are Mrs Tania Bearsley, for her voluntary leadership of organising a vigil, Stand for Solidarity with New Zealand, at Trafalgar Square and bringing together the New Zealand community after the Christchurch shootings on the 15th March 2019. Thousands attended the vigil and world broadcast coverage of this event showcased the best of the Kiwi spirit, inclusivity and community and Mr Jarred Christmas, for organising 'Laugh In The Face of Hate' event. A comedy event which raised funds for victims of the Christchurch shootings on the 15th March 2019. Jarred donated his time to bring this event together, as well as encouraged so many other headline acts to do the same. All the while raising invaluable funds for the victims and families affected; both are recognised for their personal and invaluable contribution in the UK to promoting the interests of Aotearoa New Zealand or New Zealanders.
The Award, which was established by the New Zealand Society in 1999, will be presented to the winner at the annual New Zealand Society UK’s Waitangi Dayi Charity Ball in The Ballroom of The Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych, London, on Friday 7th February 2020. The award will be presented by the High Commissioner of New Zealand to the Court of St James’s, The Rt Hon Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae GNZM, QSO, KStJ and the Head of UK/Europe for Air New Zealand, Joanna Copestake.
In 2020 we stand still, celebrate and reflect on the 180th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. Ever since 1840 New Zealanders have played an integral part in community work and being an advocate of showcasing humility and hard work in the UK and on the world stage. The Committee and Membership of the New Zealand Society of the UK feel very privileged to be the custodians of this important Award on behalf of our NZ community within the UK. Reflecting on 2019 and the two nominees, this year’s finalists were carefully selected by the judging panel from across our NZ network of professional and volunteer organisations. Each nominee brings such a wealth of generosity, knowledge, energy and initiative into deepening the already strong links between NZ and the UK. Our two extraordinary finalists are this year’s Southern Cross most brightly shining examples of that unique ‘Kiwi spirit’ in the face of shared adversity. We congratulate all the nominees and finalists on behalf of our wider community, and in partnership with our incredible Award sponsor Air New Zealand, without who’s belief in and support of this prestigious Award we would not be in a position to so meaningfully thank our finalists and recipients for their contribution to our shared NZ /UK community.
I am sincerely proud of our two wonderful finalists and I look forward to celebrate their achievements at the Waitangi Day Ball with you.
Ngā mih nui,
The Hon Clarence Tan
President, New Zealand Society (UK)
Mrs Tania Bearsley
Born and raised in Porirua, New Zealand, moving with her family to the UK in April 2005. Tania is a connector of people who enjoys helping individuals and businesses to achieve their goals. As Kea New Zealand's UK and Europe Regional Director, Tania brings together her passion for people, events and networking to enable Kiwis to succeed globally.
Following a career in catering, events and hotels, Tania produced colouring books for adults, was Membership Manager for Australia New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, research lead for broadcast series Dream Catchers, and volunteered her time as President of The New Zealand Society (UK) 2013-2015. In the twenty-four months that Tania was President, the NZ Society (UK) distributed tens of thousands of pounds through its charitable fund to help a variety of projects which advance the cultural, sporting, artistic and historical links between UK and NZ while providing a way for Kiwis to connect with their homeland. Tania is also a recipient of the Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, Points of Light Award in 2015.
In 2018 Tania became a UK Trustee of The Foundation for The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.
On the 21st March 2019 Tania organised a vigil including all New Zealand community groups and interfaith groups 'Stand for Solidarity with New Zealand' after the Christchurch shootings on the 15th March 2019. Kiwis, Londoners, and visitors from all over the globe gathered to remember those who had died at their places of worship.
Mr Jarred Christmas
Jarred Christmas is a New Zealander, a comedian, actor and writer. He moved to the UK in November 2000 and has built his career as a professional comedian on the international circuit since then. He has taken his unique brand of comedy all over the world and appeared on numerous TV shows in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Jarred appeared on Mock the Week (BBC), 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), Have You Been Paying Attention (TVNZ), Seven Days (TV3), Jonathan Creek, Hollyoaks, The Dog Ate My Homework (CBBC), and a hugely memorable performance as Madonna on "Lets Dance" for Comic Relief (BBC).
Jarred is the co-founder of the London Festival of Kiwi Comedy or "FOKC" in partnership with The New Zealand Society and runs a small events company Pop-Up Comedy with his business partner and wife Amelia Christmas.
In response to the Mosque attacks in Christchurch, Jarred and fellow Comedian Tez Ilyas organised and performed at the Laugh in the face of Hate comedy event at The Hackney Empire on the 29th April 2019. The event featured New Zealand comedians, Muslim comedians and high profile comedy friends (including Sarah Millican, Jack Whitehall, Russell Howard) as well as Ngāti Rānana and a Call to Prayer from Hassen Rasool. All money raised going to Victim Support New Zealand.
In April 2020 Jarred is heading back to New Zealand to host the prestigious Big Show at the New Zealand Comedy Festival 2020. As well as touring his kids show The Mighty Kids Beatbox Comedy Show to the festival and around the UK.