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Person of the Year event 2022

The Person of the Year is an annual event for the NZDF to celebrate the individual successes of their people and recognise organisational excellence

07 December, 2022

Annually hosted by the Chief of Defence Force (CDF), this year the NZ Army supported in event planning and conducting the event on CDF’s behalf.

The event allows members of our Senior Leadership Team to reflect on the year passed and acknowledge the achievements of a group of award winners from across the Defence Force.  

Outstanding Sports Award - LCPL Uila Mau’u

As a Youth Development Specialist at Burnham, Lance Corporal Ulia Mau’u is a role model amongst his peers and to those he leads, and continues to motivate NZ youth through his dedication, mana, and success. 

Throughout his career, LCPL Mau’u has lived the NZDF values and set an example to those serving with him. He continues to set lofty goals, maintain high standards and pursue excellence despite setbacks and disruptions.  He is held in high regard by his peers and colleagues as a humble yet inspirational serviceperson.

Read more about LCPL Ulia Mau’u 

Volunteer of the Year – WGCDR Mark Brewer

Wing Commander (WGCDR) Mark Brewer is an Air Force Reserve Force member currently posted to Defence College. He is driven by a desire to help his Upper Hutt community and it shows through the breadth of work he has committed himself to.

WGCDR Brewer displays the values he has learned in his almost 35 years as a uniformed member of the NZDF, and works to ensure this kaupapa is passed on to the next generation.

Read more about WGCDR Mark Brewer.

Sailor of the Year - LYDS James Faleofa

Leading Youth Development Specialist (LYDS) James Faleofa grew up in Kelston and believes that joining the Service Academy, where he met Staff Ngahiwi Walker, changed the course of his life. LYDS Faleofa says that Staff Walker was instrumental in his early life and helped to see his potential.

LYDS Faleofa volunteers his personal time to return to his old High School, Kelston Boys’, as well as opening his and his wife’s home to students for physical training sessions, mentoring, and advice. With guidance from the local NZDF recruiters, he has been able to facilitate ways to reach out to students and guide them in a better direction.

Read more about LYDS James Faleofa

Aviator of the Year - A/SGT Rebekah Richardson

Acting Sergeant (A/SGT) Rebekah Richardson has been Mission Desk Officer for NZDF missions all over the world, as well as performing the duties of a Team Leader within the Deployed Personnel Support Centre.

A/SGT Richardson’s determination, perseverance and ability to build relationships and trust with key stakeholders have been fundamental in her achieving core outputs that support successful missions and other directed activities. She is not content with achieving the bare minimum, and puts in additional time and effort to deliver optimal, rather than just satisfactory outcomes.

Read more about A/SGT Richardson

Soldier of the Year - SGT Jack Colton

Sergeant (SGT) Colton is currently posted as an instructor within the Deployable Health Organisation Training Wing and is tasked with providing medical skills training in order to generate competent and deployable personnel across the NZ Army.

SGT Colton has provided superior service to his comrades, unit and the NZ Army through tireless effort across all aspects of his trade. His dedication to the NZ Army is unwavering. SGT Colton truly embodies the modern warrior ethos and NZ Army values.

Read more about SGT Colton

Civilian of the Year - Miss Keri Brooking

Miss Keri Brooking works in the Deployable Personnel Support Centre managing the day to day running of the teams in setting and controlling the priorities of actions.

As a civilian in a military environment, Keri is a trusted advisor, and is not afraid to speak openly and honestly, and when necessary have the moral courage to disagree and provide an alternative perspective. This has been ably demonstrated in her pragmatic and energetic approach, especially to deployments which has seen a raft of disparate teams deployed around the world, at relatively short notice. 

Read more about Keri Brooking

Safety Person of the Year - Mr Adam Hoffman

Mr Adam Hoffman is the Range Control Manager for Waiouru Military Camp and consistently goes above and beyond his job description, showing a significant commitment to improving safety in many different ways across the vast area he covers.

Adam’s leader, LTCOL Mark Taylor, says he represents himself and the NZ Army professionally, is well respected, and his advice is often sought by Command and Trainers alike. Mr Hoffman has demonstrated all the NZDF values over a long period, both in uniform and as a civilian, and shows a tireless devotion to enabling safe training.

Read more about Adam Hoffman

Peter Rule Inclusion Award - WGCDR Carolyn Pezaro

Wing Commander (WGCDR) Carolyn Pezaro is the current Director of Psychology and has been awarded the 2022 Peter Rule Inclusion Award.

WGCDR Pezaro displays an inclusive leadership style and commitment to demonstrating best practice in diversity and inclusion by providing support, championing equitable processes, and empowering her staff to bring their whole selves to work. Her commitment to growing junior staff in her directorate, particularly on diversity and inclusion matters, stands both the Psychology Directorate and the NZDF in good stead. 

 Read more about WGCDR Pezaro

Reservist of the Year - LCPL Jason Hart
Lance Corporal (LCPL) Jason Hart is an outstanding performer within the NZDF Reserve Force and has been recognised by his unit, 2/4 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.

LCPL Hart has shown a high level of commitment to his Reserve Force duties through his frequent attendance at unit parades and activities, in spite of his busy schedule as a 3rd year medical student. In addition to his Reserve commitments, LCPL Hart has identified a need within his community to support student learning. He has developed a local enterprise, Tutor4U to support student learning through pairing tutors with students in need to support.

Read more about LCPL Hart 

Cadet of the Year - CFCDTW/O Shane Marwood

Cadet Warrant Officer Class One (CFCDTW/O) Shane Marwood started as a Cadet in Hamilton City Cadet Union in June 2014 and has worked his way up to his current rank position in the Northern Area.

He communicates issues that are brought to him direct to the Northern Area Cadet Training and Support Unit, and does not shy away from uncomfortable situations whether this is listening to shared concerns, or providing constructive feedback when the Cadet is not performing to the required standard. He does this with his own unique personal touch, reflecting positively on the organisation.

Winning this award is a testament to Cadet Warrant Officer Class One (CFCDTW/O) Shane Marwood’s comradeship and commitment, conducting voluntary work above and beyond of what is expected in developing his peers as successful leaders of tomorrow.

Read more about CFCDTW/O Shane Marwood

Innovation of the Year - FLTLT Andrew Day

Flight Lieutenant (FLTLT) Andrew Day is from 42 Squadron at RNZAF Base Ohakea and has demonstrated innovative spirit through the development and implementation of NZDF’s Flight Advisor.

FLTLT Day has displayed exceptional innovation and drive in his efforts to develop, promote, trial and introduce the Flight Advisor system. He has enhanced the NZDF’s reputation in the wider NZ and Australian aviation communities as a leader in innovation and the aviation community.

Read more about FLTLT Day