Announcing New Zealand's woman of the year 2013

Announcing New Zealand's woman of the year 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013
Julie Chapman

Vision, determination and a huge amount of hard work is what enabled Julie Chapman to transform the lives of tens of thousands of Kiwi children – and led to her being named the supreme winner of the NEXT Woman of the Year Awards in association with Pandora.

The dynamic founder of KidsCan has been recognised for her incredible achievements in establishing and developing a ground-breaking charity which supplies food and clothing to New Zealand’s most needy youngsters.

The NEXT Woman of the Year Awards judging panel, consisting of business leader Theresa Gattung, Tourism Industry Association head Martin Snedden and NEXT editor Sarah Henry, described Chapman as a selfless innovator who is a true inspiration. Naming her winner of the Community category as well as the overall Woman of the Year, the judges praised the 40-year-old’s immense courage in tackling an issue which has long been overlooked.

“Julie is a remarkable woman who is making an incredible difference to the next generation of New Zealanders,” NEXT editor Sarah Henry said. “She saw a pressing social need, and against the odds is resolving it. She embodies all the qualities we look for in the NEXT Woman of the Year: innovation, skill, determination, perseverance and passion.”

Chapman launched KidsCan in her garage eight years ago, with the aim of providing support to those who struggled to participate at school due to hunger and a lack of essential clothing. The Aucklander has since grown the organisation into one of the country’s most successful charities, supporting almost 50,000 youngsters, spearheading fundraising drives such as Telethon, and influencing government agenda. Chapman is now recognised as one of the country’s leading spokespeople on child poverty – which affects one in four Kiwi kids.

While delighted to be lauded for her achievements, the former marketing manager said her true reward comes from the feedback she gets from teachers and kids about the difference KidsCan has made. And she is adamant her work has only just begun.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved but there is so much more to do,” said Chapman, who aims to be working with children in 800 low decile schools by 2016 and has plans to open a facility which teaches kids essential life skills. “I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the point where I can stop!”

Chapman received her NEXT Woman of the Year Award tonight at a star-studded ceremony held at Orakei Bay in Auckland.

The full list of category winners:

Community: Julie Chapman - founder and CEO, KidsCan

Health and Science: Dr Bronwen Connor - brain researcher

Sport: Suzie Bates - cricketer

Education: Julie King - national co-ordinator, Click SpecialED Trust

Arts and Culture: Hinewehi Mohi - singer-songwriter, TV producer, founder of Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre

Business: Lindy Nelson - executive director, Agri-Women’s Development Trust


Contact for more information, images or interview requests:

Jackie Campbell, BAUER Media: [email protected] 027 605 7067

About the NEXT Woman of the Year Awards in association with Pandora.

The awards are run by NEXT magazine and are now in their fourth year. They are the first of their kind to recognise New Zealand women in six distinct fields: Health and Science, Arts and Culture, Sport, Business, Education, and Community. The awards are sponsored by Pandora Jewellery and are held annually.

Photo of Julie Chapman by Jessie Casson, NEXT.