Cecilia Sullivan-Grant, of Mosgiel, with Kiwibank chief executive Paul Brock after receiving the Local Hero of the Year Award at the New Zealander of the Year Awards in Auckland. Photo supplied.
When Cecilia Sullivan-Grant was presented with the Local Hero
of the Year Award, she was merely accepting it on behalf of
those with whom she had worked, she told the Otago Daily
The Mosgiel woman was yesterday still coming to terms with
the ''surprise'' of winning the award. .
''I was enormously flattered for being nominated, but I don't
consider myself a hero,'' she said.
''The people I have worked with over the years, who haven't
been afraid to step out and try something different, they are
the real heroes.''
Mrs Sullivan-Grant (54) was presented with the award at the
New Zealander of the Year Awards in Auckland on Wednesday
night, for helping those with severe disabilities into work
and for her work in promoting apprenticeships.
Her work with the disabled - a word she dislikes - was
''very, very, very interesting work'' and something she was
''I like to call it the ability sector,'' she said.
Every person had talents and limitations and deserved to be
treated as individuals, a philosophy imparted to her by her
grandmother, she said.
''When a person ... lives in a wheelchair, their creative
thinking abilities are quite sharp and lend themselves quite
well to small business,'' she said.
''My role was to help them find their talents and, if it was
a viable business, to help them set up their business and run
She was also an original member of the Dunedin Mayor's
Taskforce for Jobs and was involved in returning
apprenticeships to prominence.
''We got the graduation ceremonies for apprentices up and
running, which was a Dunedin initiative.''
Winning the award was ''quite surreal'' considering the other
''I was really quite surprised when they called my name
out,'' she said.
She had more community-minded work ''in the pipeline'' and
the awards ceremony had presented some opportunities, which
she was not yet able to discuss, Mrs Sullivan-Grant.
Dr Lance O'Sullivan, of Kaitaia, was named New Zealander of
the Year for his leadership, vision and advocacy in
His low-cost health clinic, Te Kohanga Whakaora, made basic
healthcare more accessible for people in the Far North.