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Dr Siouxsie Wiles MNZM Named 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander Of The Year Te Pou Whakarae O Aotearoa

Press Release – New Zealander Of The Year Awards

Renowned microbiologist and science communicator Dr Siouxsie Wiles MNZM has been named 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa.

Dr Siouxsie Wiles received the award from the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern, and was presented the Kiwibank kaitaka huaki cloak, Pouhine, by 2020 New Zealander of the Year Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand at a Gala Dinner at the Cordis, Auckland on Wednesday 31 March.

The 2021 finalists for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year category included Farid Ahmed, Muslim community leader who has become an icon of forgiveness following the 15 March terror attacks, and Ranjna Patel ONZM, QSM, JP, Founder and Director of Tāmaki Health and domestic violence prevention campaigner.

When COVID-19 first hit New Zealand, Dr Siouxsie Wiles rose to the challenge. Joining forces with Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris, she worked tirelessly to make the science of the pandemic clear and understandable. In the face of considerable criticism – on her authority, on her appearance, on her gender – Siouxsie’s continued to respond to one of the greatest challenges of our time with empathy, innovation and courage, and her work has been seen by millions and even used by governments and organisations as part of their official pandemic communications.

Siouxsie heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland where she and her team make bacteria glow in the dark to understand how infectious microbes make us sick, and to find new antibiotics. She is passionate about demystifying science and has won numerous prizes for her efforts.

Miriama Kamo, Te Koruru – Patron of the Awards, says: “The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa celebrate people who use their passion to make our country a better place, and Dr Siouxsie Wiles undeniably fits the bill.

While New Zealand collectively locked down, she stepped up – helping millions globally see past the fear and complexities of the pandemic. Her work provided support, strength and clarity across New Zealand and beyond, representing our country on a world stage and helping to keep us safe.

Outside of the pandemic, she is a passionate and influential leader in her industry. Her willingness to break down barriers has opened doors for women in science, and her pioneering work in bioluminescence is redefining modern medicine.”

The remarkable New Zealanders honoured across five categories for 2021 are:

University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Te Mātātahi o te Tau

  • Jazz Thornton: Co-founder of Voices of Hope and mental health advocate (Auckland)

Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau

  • Dr Doug Wilson: Medical academic and author (Taupō)

Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau

  • Ranjna Patel ONZM, QSM, JP: Founder and Director of Tāmaki Health and domestic violence prevention campaigner (Auckland)

Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year Ngā Pou Whirinaki o te Tau

  • Christchurch Mosque Victims Group: Supporting people and victims affected by the Christchurch Mosque attacks (Christchurch)

Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Te Pou Toko o te Tau

  • Shannon Te Huia: Environmental Engineer at Waka Huia Limited and Founder of Pūniu River Care (Waikato)

For more information on the 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa winners please visit

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