English cricketer Ben Stokes has been nominated for the New Zealander of The Year award despite breaking his country’s heart at Lord’s. 28-year-old Stokes was named man of the match after England beat New Zealand for a dramatic founder.
The all rounder was born and raised in New Zealand before moving to England when he was 12 years old, and many Kiwis still see the player as one of his own. The award’s chief judge, Cameron Bennett, told reporters that although Stokes is not playing for the Black Caps, having been born in Christchurch where his parents still live, and with Maori ancestry, there are still many Kiwis that believe they can still claim him.
The New Zealand public can nominate inspirational Kiwis for the award, specifically for individuals that they believe have made a significant contribution to the nation and that makes the country proud. Captain of New Zealand, Kane Williamson, has also received a nomination, and will likely prove a tough opponent to beat for Stokes after Williamson was named player of the tournament during the World Cup.
The award is currently in its 11th year, and some of the previous winners include former captain of New Zealand rugby union Riche McCaw, filmmaker Taiki Waititi, and mental health campaigner Make King. Nominations will be closing in September and a panel of judges will be creating a shortlist of 10 candidates that will be announced later this year in December.
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