Youth Affairs Minister Paula Bennett congratulates Sam Johnson, winner of the Young New Zealander of the Year award.
“This young man mobilised the Student Army to help Cantabrians clean up after the earthquakes and made a huge impression on New Zealand.”
Sam Johnson used Facebook to amass an army of 26,000 volunteers.
“He got thousands of students willingly turning up day after day with shovels and wheelbarrows ready to do whatever was necessary to help others.”
“When I met Sam in Christchurch after the earthquakes, I knew he’d move mountains and he did - mountains of liquefaction,” says Ms Bennett.
“The effect on the community of seeing young people getting stuck in to help has been huge and really broke the stereotypes some had of young people.”
The other finalists for the award, Elizabeth Chan and Bailey Lovett are both outstanding young New Zealanders with impressive achievements.
“I wish Elizabeth and Bailey all the best in their respective chosen fields, of law and marine science where they are already making an impact.”
“Throughout 2011 the previous Young New Zealander of the Year, Jamie Fenton has been a fantastic ambassador for youth and I wish her well for the future,” says Ms Bennett.