The editorial says exceptional talents make one choice impossible:
Dignity, poise and determination to walk their own path are what set Lydia Ko, Lorde and Eleanor Catton apart in a world of copycats.
. . . The choice is never easy, but never has it been more difficult than this year.
Three young New Zealanders made major waves internationally, as well as locally. The achievement of each was, in its own way, so extraordinary and distinct that it would be pointless to try to rank them. This year, therefore, Eleanor Catton, Lydia Ko and Lorde share the accolade.
At a first glance, the feats that thrust the three young women to global prominence appear to have little besides their youth and gender in common.
Eleanor Catton is the youngest author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize; Lydia Ko scaled the heights of women’s golf while just 16, becoming the youngest person and the only amateur ever to win an LPGA tour event; and Lorde, at the same age, became the first New Zealander to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.
But they have some characteristics in common, one of which helps to explain why each has been so successful.
It is the way in which their singular ambitions led them to step outside the usual confines of their respective endeavours. . .
It is difficult to overstate the impact of the trio internationally. In sum, they rendered obsolete any sense that this country’s geographic position is in any way an obstacle. . .
In many ways, the three young women also said something about New Zealand as it is today. Of the trio, only Lorde was born in this country, but then of Croatian and Irish ancestry. Eleanor Catton was born in Canada, where her father was completing a doctorate, though she has lived here since she was 6.
But it is the Korean-born Lydia Ko who says the most about New Zealand’s changing face. Having come to this country as a toddler, she has played a significant role in changing perceptions about Asian immigrants. As a captivated nation cheered her on, a study by the Asia New Zealand Foundation found New Zealanders now share a much greater affinity with Asia and immigrants from that region.
It helped that she showed a notable willingness to embrace her adopted country. Never was this better illustrated than in the YouTube video that confirmed she was turning professional.
Customarily, this would be the subject of a staid media conference. But with a quirkiness befitting her youth and character, and this country’s most abiding passion, she announced her decision to the All Black fullback Israel Dagg during a round of golf.
Lorde and Eleanor Catton, likewise, highlighted their New Zealand togetherness when, shortly after their individual triumphs, they posed in a New York bed, channelling the photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 peace protest.
The three young women were also engagingly similar in the way in which they reacted to success. Global attention at such young ages could easily have led to petulance and an overweening sense of self-importance. But they have all reacted with dignity and poise. . .
These three are exceptional young women who individually and collectively are worthy winners of the title New Zealanders of the Year.