Nominations open for 2019 Quote of the Year


Quote of the Year nominations already in include cricket commentator Ian Smith; leader of the new Vision New Zealand party Hannah Tamaki; Christchurch terror attack survivor Farid Ahmed; and actor Lucy Lawless.


The quest is on for Massey University's 2019 Quote of the Year, and we are asking for your help to find it.

Send in your favourite one-liner said by a New Zealander this year – the line can be from any public source, including movies, stand-up comedy, advertisements, television, social media and news reports.

Speech writing senior lecturer Dr Heather Kavan, who has run the competition for the past nine years, says she has already received several nominations but is keen to hear from a broad range of New Zealanders.

Suggestions so far include the moving words of Farid Ahmed, whose wife was killed in the Christchurch terror attack, saying he has forgiven the shooter and loves him; and cricket commentator Ian Smith’s exuberant narration of the Cricket World Cup final. 

“Essentially, we’re looking for words that give people ‘yes’ moments – ‘yes, that moves me deeply,’ or ‘yes, that’s so true,’ or ‘yes, that’s so funny’,” Dr Heather Kavan says.

“The words can be rousing, tragic, beautiful, controversial, hilarious, unexpected or even embarrassing. The only thing winning quotes have in common is that New Zealanders want to hear them again.”

How to nominate

First, check that the quote was said or written by a New Zealander or New Zealand resident this year.

Then send the suggested quote to Heather Kavan at H.Kavan@massey.ac.nz. Include the quote, the speaker’s name, a brief explanation of the context, and – if possible – a link to the source. You may want to mention why you like the quote, but that is optional.

Nominations close at 5pm on November 30. After this, Massey University’s judging panel will choose 10 finalists, which then be made available for public voting, with the winner be announced on December 12.

Recalling the best quotes

To get into the mood of remembering this year’s shining words, Dr Kavan recommends these thoughts from writer and comedian Stephen Fry on the power of language.

“Above all, let there be pleasure. Let there be textural delight, let there be silken words and flinty words and sodden speeches and soaking speeches and crackling utterance and utterance that quivers and wobbles like rennet. Let there be rapid firecracker phrases and language that oozes like a lake of lava.” (What makes us human? BBC broadcast, 2019).

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