Stacey Shortall named New Zealander of the Year semi-finalist

Ten of New Zealand’s top action oriented advocates have been shortlisted for the 2019 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award – and MinterEllisonRuddWatts Partner Stacey Shortall is on the list.

The prestigious New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make the country a better place by contributing to its wellbeing.

Stacey Shortall is an internationally recognised litigation lawyer who has developed a number of projects designed to create social change and has received numerous awards for her legal and charitable work.

While practicing in New York, Stacey Shortall worked pro bono on many cases, including for imprisoned mothers facing termination of their parental rights, domestic violence victims, refugee women fleeing abuse, and impoverished mothers seeking to have their children returned from foster care.

After returning home, Stacey Shortall established the “Who Did You Help Today” Charitable Trust and sought to use her experiences to better connect people with opportunities to make a positive difference in New Zealand.

In 2014, using volunteers from MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Stacey Shortall piloted a Homework Club at a low decile primary school in Cannons Creek, Wellington. The initiative partners workplaces with low decile schools to support students’ learning and open connections. Since the pilot, 11 Homework Clubs have been introduced around New Zealand with most becoming long-term partnerships and more scheduled to begin in 2019.

A year later, Stacey Shortall launched the Mothers Project and began training volunteer lawyers to visit female prisons each month to help imprisoned mothers understand their responsibilities and rights regarding their children. The volunteers facilitate an information flow between mothers and their children, seeking to help reduce reoffending and break intergenerational crime. The Mothers Project now runs in all of the country’s female prisons and more than 500 imprisoned mothers had participated in the programme at the end of 2018.

In early 2017, through the Charitable Trust, Stacey Shortall introduced HelpTank – New Zealand’s first home-grown digital marketplace using technology to connect skilled volunteers with community causes that matter. Skilled volunteers can search by their skills, interests and location to easily match with projects. Corporate partners can also use HelpTank to connect staff with opportunities to volunteer and keep track of their impact. More than 230 not-for-profits and other community causes around New Zealand have registered with HelpTank, and more than 500 skilled volunteers have signed up.

On being named a finalist for the award, Stacey Shortall said: “I am incredibly humbled by this nomination. I am passionate about connecting communities to create a positive change, however the programmes would not be possible without the support of volunteers and I’m always inspired that so many people in our country are still willing to prioritise others, committing time regularly to lend a hand.”

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Chief Executive, Andrew Poole says: “Stacey has a huge amount of energy for both her practice and community programmes. After identifying areas of need she has taken proactive steps to use her skills and network to help make positive changes in the community, first in Wellington and Auckland and now nationally. Her advocacy and commitment to bridging gaps in the community is creating a positive difference for many Kiwis.

“She brings boundless energy, drive and passion to all her endeavours and we are all incredibly proud of Stacey and her initiatives to help better New Zealand.”

The other nine finalists for the New Zealander of the Year award are:

  • Andrew Becroft (Wellington)
  • Annah Stretton (Hamilton)
  • Lesley Elliot (Dunedin)
  • Lisa King (Auckland)
  • Dr Marewa Glover (Auckland)
  • Mike King (Auckland)
  • Moira Lawler (Auckland)
  • Robert Bruce (Auckland)
  • Sir Peter Gluckman (Auckland)

Now in its tenth year, a total of 448 nominations were received for the 2019 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on Thursday, 13 February 2019.

Previous winners of the award include: Kristine Bartlett (2018), Taika Waititi (2017), Richie McCaw (2016), Sir Stephen Tindall (2015), and Dr Lance O’Sullivan (2014).

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