PRINZ 2013 Communicator of the Year Tony Kokshoorn, mayor of Grey District Council makes it three years running that a South Islander has received the title.
Last years recipient was Sam Johnson of the Student Volunteer Army, and in 2011 Bob Parker was named Communicator of the Year.
The nomination for Tony cited events he has dealt with as mayor that had a significant impact on his community, including the Pike River mine disaster, the closure of the Spring Creek mine, a tornado that destroyed commercial buildings and houses and the foundering of a fishing vessel on Grey River bar with the loss of life.
PRINZ President Pauline Rose announced Mr Kokshoorn as the recipient of the 2013 Communicator of the Year Award today at a PRINZ College of Fellows event for senior public relations practitioners in Wellington.
She echoed the comments of those who nominated Tony, saying that he is an ordinary New Zealander who has represented his district in very difficult times.
His ability to communicate effectively in a crisis is admirable, while at the same time being credible, consistent and authentic, said Pauline.
The PRINZ College of Fellows voted on four finalists selected from nominations by PRINZ members to decide the 2013 Communicator of the Year.
Mr Kokshoorn said that he was humbled by the award, especially against the calibre of this years finalists. I am passionate about the West Coast Community.
We have had a terrible few years but my focus is firmly set on the recovery of our economy.
In addition to Sam Johnson and Bob Parker, previous recipients include Judge Andrew Becroft, Hon Pita Sharples, Alan Duff, Dame Cath Tizard, Bruce Slane and Sir Peter Blake.
The Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) is a not-for-profit membership organisation for public relations and communication management professionals. PRINZ fosters and promotes the professional practice of communications through a number of initiatives including annual industry awards, continuing professional development and accreditation (APR).
A born and bred West Coaster, Tony Kokshoorn has been the Grey District Mayor since 2004. A self-made businessman, having been in business for 38 years, Tony is the co-owner of the Greymouth Evening Star newspaper and a partner in the Greymouth Car Centre, a business he established with his brother.
As well as his business commitments, Tony is involved in many community and charitable organisations. He is a founding trustee of the Grey District Young Persons Development Trust, trustee of Dixon House for the elderly and also afounding trustee of Life Education on the Coast. In a voluntary capacity, Tony has raised over $30 million for West Coast charities.
Tony is the author of The Golden Grey West Coasters 1860-2010 (500 pages). The $60,000 profit was donated to the Greymouth Heritage Trust.
A finalist in the 2010 New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year awards, Tony, along with the eventual winner, was chosen as the Readers Choice for New Zealander of the Year. He was also voted the 10th most trusted person in New Zealand in 2011 by a Readers Digest nationwide poll as well as Most Trusted Politician.
Tony is a strong advocate for his community. A patron of many organisations, he has pushed for the West Coast economy and witnessed the impact of a major industry, forestry, closing. Following this, he is proud of efforts of himself and others that saw jobs created within the dairying, tourism and mining industries.
The Greymouth community was deeply saddened by the Pike River Coal mine explosionsin November 2010. Since this tragic event, Tony has passionately represented the West Coast community and supported the relatives of the 29 miners and contractors who died in the disaster.
Due to Tonys dedication to his community before the mine disaster and since, he was awarded the 2012 Toastmasters Communication and Leadership award.
Recently Tony was awarded the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his services to the community.