Former National Party leader Dr Don Brash is one of the nominees for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year award for 2019.
Dr Brash is named by the award organisers as a former National Party leader and "free speech advocate".
The award honours people who contribute to the wellbeing of New Zealand through exceptional contributions to their disciplines.
- 'We stand against what he represents': Don Brash heckled at Auckland University speaking event
- Don Brash infuriated by reporters speaking Te Reo
- Hobson's Pledge using 'scare tactics' to block Māori Wards - Te Ururoa Flavell
Any member of the public can nominate an individual or community organisation.
Awards manager Glyn Taylor said: "Each year, nominations reflect what New Zealanders are talking about and are interested in. Kiwis working hard to address critical social issues continue to feature prominently. A particularly interesting nomination is that of Dr Don Brash, who has been at the forefront of the debate around freedom of speech that's dominated headlines in recent weeks."
Dr Brash was due to speak at Massey University's Manawatu campus on August 8, but the event was cancelled by Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas who cited concerns about potential violence.
Prof Thomas also said Dr Brash's role as leader of group Hobson's Pledge, and some of his views about Māori were "clearly of concern to many staff - especially Māori staff".
Dr Brash said the cancellation of the event was "utterly astonishing".
"It's very clear from her press statement that while she cited security reasons as the reason for the ban, most of the press statement was about my alleged hate speech because I oppose separate Māori wards," he told The AM Show last week.
On Friday he took part in a free speech debate on whether "PC culture" had gone too far, hosted by the Auckland University Debating Society.
It was organised after the cancellation of the Massey event. A group of protestors heckled Dr Brash during his speech, while a group of supporters chanted his name in the lecture hall.
Nominations for New Zealander of the Year 2019:
- Dr Don Brash: former National Party leader, free speech advocate
- Annah Stretton: fashion designer, philanthropist and entrepreneur
- Peter Burling: Team New Zealand yachting skipper
- Sue Kedgley: former Greens MP, Wellington regional councillor
- Mike King: mental health advocate
- Dave 'The Brown Butterbean' Letele: athlete and weight-loss coach
- Alan Halse: director of Culturesafe NZ
- Mary O'Hagan: mental health innovator and advocate
- Simone Anderson: lifestyle influencer and weight-loss star
Nominations for the award close on September 17, and a shortlist of ten candidates will be announced in December.
Previous winners of the award include equal pay advocate Kristine Bartlett (2018) film director Taika Waititi (2017), and former All Black Richie McCaw (2016).