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Community Hero Award

Four Square is your 100% New Zealand locally owned and operated supermarket.

We’ve been looking after one another in New Zealand communities for more than 96 years. This Christmas, with the year we’ve all had, we want to recognise our local community heroes.

The Four Square Christmas Community Hero Award celebrates individuals who have had a positive impact in their local community in 2020 in one or more of the following ways:

Looking after the elderly, vulnerable or housebound

Feeding neighbours, community members or community groups

Fostering community connection and togetherness

Nominate your Christmas Community Hero via this Google Form. Nominations close end of day Sunday 6 December

Five community heroes will each receive 1 x $500 Four Square gift card and 1 x $1,500 donation to a registered charity of their choosing so we can keep looking after one another in our communities together.

Nominators will be contacted week of 7 December and nominees will be announced the week of 14 December.

Read the full terms and conditions here.

Always welcome, always local, always Four Square.



Thank you! Introducing our Christmas Community Heroes...  

Thank you to everyone who nominated a local hero for our inaugural Christmas Community Hero Award!

We received almost 700 nominations for heroes across the country who have been looking after and supporting New Zealand’s communities during a very challenging year.

We’re pleased to share the below five heroes’ incredible stories with you.

All of our heroes each receive a $500 Four Square gift card and a $1,500 donation to make to a registered charity of their choosing.

Together we can keep looking after and supporting one another, New Zealand.



Auckland's winner - Jo Syme

There is no job too big for Jo Syme.

Jo’s love and commitment is felt throughout her rural Franklin County community. Jo is passionate about connecting everyone in the community so that they can all support one another, and Jo leads by example! She regularly cooks meals for new mothers, the housebound and vulnerable. She spearheads regular rubbish pick-ups so locals have a safe and clean place to play and opened up a classroom during lockdown for kids whose parents are essential workers.

“It’s a real honour to be announced as one of the winners of the Four Square Community Hero Award,” says Jo. “It’s important that as a community we continue to foster relationships and ensure everyone is connected, especially after the year we’ve all had. I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to donate to Franklin Hospice, as they do incredible work helping locals in our community.”




Invercargill's winner - Gerry Forde

Gerry Forde heads up local community group Spirit Army.

Spirit Army is a network of volunteers who support struggling families in Invercargill and the wider Southland community. Gerry and his team of Spirit Army volunteers provide fresh vege (from Gerry’s garden!) to locals, counselling and mentoring support to help families get back on their feet, and even created a one-stop shop for anyone in the community who needed material support during lockdowns.

“Gerry Forde is a passionate individual with a heart for helping those in his community,” says Jamie Wallace who nominated Gerry for the Award. “He heads up local community group, Spirit Army who offer an incredible range of services for people in need. He is always looking to find new ways in which he can help others.”

“I’m chuffed, surprised and heartened to know that our community so values our often hidden work to give us a nomination, and humbled that Four Square and its judges have seen Spirit Army as worthy co-winners,” says Gerry Forde. “We’ll put the prize money to work creating more opportunities for our amazing families to turn their passion into business enterprises to help build a better sustainable future.”



Bay of Plenty winner - April O'Brien

More than a dozen people nominated April O’Brien for the Four Square Christmas Community Hero Award. Her unwavering commitment in looking after Murupara locals is something April is passionate about.

During the past year, April stepped up to organise delivering grocery essentials to people in need, ensuring everyone in her community was well-fed during an uncertain time. But April’s work didn’t stop after the lockdowns, she’s now busy organising the local Christmas toy drive for Murupara’s tamariki.

“April’s commitment and heart for her community is demonstrated through her acts of service,” says Anahera Tamepo, who is one of many who nominated April for the Award. “Whether it’s sponsoring the local netball team, delivering kai to families in need, looking after the elderly or organising community initiatives for the betterment of our people, she’s a pillar in our local community. We’re so fortunate to have April looking out for us as she is a true advocate for the people of Murupara.”

“With Covid-19 having a huge impact on our community here in Murupara, it’s important we continue looking after one another,” says April O’Brien. “Helping out local charities and community groups in Murupara is something I’m passionate about, as it’s through community that we can all come together and help one another out. Being able to donate my charity donation to Te Ika Whenua Hauora is such a blessing as it will help feed local families struggling over the summer.”


Manawatu's winner - Karla Puhipuhi

Karla Puhipuhi is an incredible woman who is passionate about helping the people of Shannon. This year alone, Karla provided support to people struggling with their mental health, distributed food vouchers, started a cooking programme, motivated teens to get their drivers licence, started a netball programme to keep kids busy, and during lockdown she made up food parcels and delivered them to people in need.

“I feel very blessed to be recognised as a Four Square Community Hero,” says Karla Puhipuhi. ”My hapū – Ngāti Whakatere and Shannon community are so important to me. It is vital we continue to uplift and care for one another especially when times are tough.  Our people, whānau and particularly youth here in Shannon are talented and aspirational. It’s necessary we’re giving them relevant tools to navigate through barriers for better opportunities to outcomes where they succeed.” 



Canterbury's winner - Anne Thompson

Over the 42 years Anne Thomson has lived in Fairlie, she has volunteered for numerous Fairlie charities and organisations. She’s first to put her hand up to help those struggling or unwell, even if it’s just by dropping off a hot meal. She’s a great friend to many and is a trusted person to confide in. She wears many hats, from that of a devoted Nana to appearing in local theatre productions. She is a person who touches many lives and loves her community.

“I’m so grateful to be given the opportunity to give back to the Fairlie Foodbank through this Award,” says Anne Thompson. “The Fairlie Foodbank has seen an increase in demand for their services post-lockdown, with no international tourism taking a huge toll on the community. Awards like this are so important as it spotlights local charitable organisations that keep our communities running. Without the recognition and funding we receive, we’d struggle to provide enough grocery essentials to families struggling here in our community.”