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Todd Balogh (22) is the youngest Rescue 3 instructor in the world and the youngest to achieve the national certificate in specialist rescue (rope instructor).
Mr Balogh was deployed to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake as part of urban search and rescue operations and worked alongside the Taiwanese Special Task Force.
In 2012, he was sponsored to attend the Rescue 3 international instructor conference in Texas and this year he was sent to Abu Dhabi to train the police rescue unit in specialist rope rescue.
Mr Balogh is now studying towards a postgraduate diploma in emergency management. Mosgiel self-employment adviser Cecilia Sullivan-Gran was named as a semifinalist in the Kiwibank local hero award, for more than a decade of helping people with disabilities find employment.
The annual local hero awards were an opportunity for the community to nominate people they thought had made a powerful impact on the lives of others, chief judge Cameron Bennett said yesterday.
''These 10 people are exceptional individuals who followed their passions and contributed to improving the lives of many New Zealanders. In their own way, each of these people is a revolutionary. They are all Kiwis of whom we can be very proud.''
The semifinalists are:
Young New Zealander: Todd Balogh (Dunedin), Brando Yelavich, Parris Goebel, Andrew McDaid, Kristina Cavit, Ludwig Wendzich and Lydia Ko (all Auckland), Sophie Pascoe and Jason Pemberton (both Christchurch) and Dale Stewart (Whangaparaoa).
Senior New Zealander: Ian McLean (Rotorua), Bob Kerridge and Julie Bartlett (both Auckland), Francis Denz (Tauranga), Tom Clarkson (Westland), Billy Graham (Lower Hutt), Michael Mudford (Dargaville), Vi Cottrell (Christchurch), Frank Lowry (New Plymouth) and Barry Lucinsky (Otaki).
Community: NZ Council Victim Support (Wellington/NZ), Cranford Hospice (Hastings), KidsCan (NZ wide), UN Youth (Wellington), NZ Cadet Forces (NZ wide), ToughLove (Auckland), Magnet (Christchurch), Ronald McDonald House (Auckland), Starjam (Auckland) and Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust (Tauranga).
Innovator: Dr Sean Simpson (Auckland), Andre Prassinos (Rotorua), Christopher Rodley (Nelson), Dr Craig Radford (Warkworth) and Stuart Dennis (Rotorua).
Local heroes: Cecilia Sullivan-Grant (Mosgiel), Dale Smith (Gisborne), Juping Zhou (Wellington), Janice Byford (Taihape), Dr Lance O'Sullivan (Kaitaia), David Lean (Wellington), Tim Davies-Colley (Porirua), Soteria Mareko (Auckland), Katrina Mitchell (Wellington) and Simon Park (Wellington).
The finalists will be announced on January 20 and the winners announced at the New Zealander of the Year gala awards in Auckland on February 26.