Mittens the cat up for ‘New Zealander of the Year’

Move over Jacinda Ardern... it's Mittens' time to shine!

Photo credit: pandoratolson / Twitter

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Celebrity cat Mittens is in the running for the ‘New Zealander of the Year’ award, which celebrates inspirational Kiwis who are achieving extraordinary things and making a positive (paw-sitive?) difference to lives of others.

The Turkish Angora, who has an international fanbase, has a home but is free to wander about the streets – and sometimes other homes – of the New Zealand capital Wellington, posing for social media photos along the way.

‘His Floofiness’ was awarded the key to Wellington earlier this year “in recognition of bringing happiness, laughter and coolness to the capital – and putting the city on the map internationally with his feline antics.”

Photo credit: Wellington City Council

Mittens’ Facebook page currently has more than 52,000 followers

Apart from Prime Minister Ardern, the contenders for the 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year include director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, journalist Patrick Gower, musician Dane Rumble, microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles and mental health advocate and radio host Bryce Casey.

Previous winners (all human so far) include actor and director Taika Waititi and former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Nominations can be made by any member of the public until midnight of the 30th August 2020 by completing the online nomination form. Semi-finalists will be announced in December and overall winners will be announced on the 18th March 2021.