Kent Gardner, who helped raise funds for the Canterbury earthquake appeal, was today named the UK New Zealander of the Year 2012 winner at a gala function in London.
Gardner made a big contribution in the Step Up for Christchurch effort and was fully awarded for his contribution which enhanced New Zealand’s profile in the UK over the last year.
The award, established by the New Zealand Society in 1999, was presented to Gardner at the society’s annual Waitangi Day charity dinner at the Plaisterers’ Hall in London this morning (NZ time).
The tragic consequences of the Canterbury earthquake and the continuing aftershocks resulted in an unprecedented response from the New Zealand community in the UK, society president John Greager said today.
The Step Up 4 Christchurch event, a charity stair run up the 1037 steps to the top of the 180 metre tall Gherkin office tower in London, raised stg325,000. Gardner, who hails from Dunedin, said today it was humbling to receive this recognition.
``I am both proud to be a Kiwi in London, and honoured to be part of a great team of UK-based New Zealanders that are genuinely committed to supporting their country’s interests while overseas.”
Air New Zealand has sponsored the event for the last eight year. Their UK-Europe general manager and one of the judges Chris Myers presented the award to Gardner.
``There were some outstanding examples of New Zealanders getting behind the Christchurch cause, but Kent Gardner and his team really stood out with their creativity and money raised: an awesome effort.”
Recognition was also given to the two other finalists Bronwen Horton and Paul Kendrick, and all the other nominees who made significant contributions in a range of activities.
Gardner is a founding partner and chief executive of property fund manager, Evans Randall. The company has stg4 billion of assets under management, including the iconic ‘Gherkin’ building in London, as well as landmark properties in Munich, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Brussels and Moscow.
His London-based team includes a number of talented expat Kiwis. He started his career with New Zealand law firm Russell McVeagh. He is now commissioner of the Crown Estate Paving Commission, a trustee of the UK Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and has been a major fundraiser for Christchurch.
He has also been working to create ways in which New Zealand can maximise its exposure in central London and to encourage strategies and ideas that will lead to increased investment and participation in New Zealand by both foreigners and expat Kiwis.
Born and bred in Dunedin, Gardner is one of 11 children. He has been in London for the last 10 years and lives in Regent’s Park with his wife Gaye and their three young sons, Freddie, Harry and Will.
Previous winners of the award have included: Terry Smith, chairman of Sir Keith Park’s memorial campaign and chief executive of Fundsmith; Anna Hansen, chef and founder of The Modern Pantry restaurant in London; Esther Jessop, founder of Ngati Ranana, the London Maori cultural group; New Zealand war memorial architect, Jon Rennie; Susan and Tom Glynn, New Zealand restaurateurs in London; equestrian champion Mark Todd; golfer Michael Campbell; former secretary general of the Commonwealth Don McKinnon; and chef Peter Gordon.