Former New Zealand Festival executive director Sue Paterson has been crowned Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year for 2017. Paterson, a proud Wellingtonian, was recognised for her 40 years of service to arts and culture.

The judging panel noted Paterson’s delivery of four iconic festivals celebrating the arts in New Zealand along with special events like last year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. They also recognised her achievement in turning around the fortunes of the Royal New Zealand Ballet company as its General Manager in the 1990s.

“I’m really humbled to win this year’s award. I’m incredibly passionate about the arts and the inclusive enjoyment the industry provides to the wider community – I’m proud to have been part of staging world class events right here in New Zealand,” says Paterson.

Metlifecare are proud sponsors of the The Metlifecare Senior New Zealander of the Year Award recognising those aged 60 and over who have made an outstanding contribution to the country through their chosen field and are role models for the wider community.

CEO Glen Sowry says the calibre of entrants and finalists was as strong as ever this year.

“There’s a misconception that in later life the sense of adventure and drive for success slows down, but you can tell from our finalists last night that is far from the truth,” says Sowry.

“We’re proud to support those who are making remarkable contributions to society, and our three finalists are shining examples of Kiwis over 60 who are passionate about making New Zealand a better place and who have achieved considerable success in their senior years,” he said.

Paterson was announced as the senior category winner ahead of finalists Ivan Pivac, an academic and disability advocate from Auckland and Elaine Gill, a trustee of the Taranaki Arts Festival for 25 years.

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