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WELLINGTON, Jan 18 NZN - A groundbreaking plastic surgeon, a noted historian and anthropologist, and an engineering genius adored by Silicon Valley are the finalists for New Zealander of the Year.
The finalists are:
* Professor Swee Tan of Wellington, who has been shortlisted for his research into strawberry birthmarks and their treatment, which has implications for cancer treatment and regenerative medicine
* Dame Anne Salmond, a distinguished professor of Maori studies and anthropology at Auckland University, who also has a dedication to improving the country's environment and waterways
* Bill Buckley, the overalls-wearing, Auckland-based founder of Buckley Systems Ltd, which creates machines that prepare 90 per cent of the world's silicon chips for cellphones, TVs, MP3 players and a vast array of other gadgets
The three were chosen from than 700 people and organisations nominated for the 2013 awards.
Among the finalists for the other categories are 20-year-old Sophie Pascoe, who won three gold and three silver medals at the London Paralympics (Young New Zealander of the Year) and Phobic Trust founder Marcia Read (Senior New Zealander of the Year).
Also recognised in the awards are Community of the Year and Local Heroes.
The winner of each category will receive a trophy and $5000 towards their work from the awards' sponsor Kiwibank.
The winners will be chosen by a panel of judges which includes Kiwibank chairman and former prime minister Jim Bolger, past New Zealander of the Year scientist Sir Ray Avery, former Olympic discus athlete Beatrice Faumuina, business and community leaders, and broadcasters.
The winners will be announced on February 28.