Nominations open for Quote of the Year


2021 Quote of the Year nominations sought

The judging panel are looking for quotes that New Zealanders want to hear again. “These are one-liners that give people ‘yes’ moments. That may be ‘yes, that moves me deeply,’ or ‘yes, that’s so true,’ or ‘yes, that’s so embarrassing.’" - Quote of the Year organiser Dr Heather Kavan.


Dr Heather Kavan

Dr Kavan.

What should be on this year’s list of top ten New Zealand quotes? Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins’ “spread their legs” gaffe? A toddler's reaction to seeing a goat in her backyard? A line from Jono and Ben’s musical farewell to Judith Collins? 

If there is a quote you would like New Zealanders to celebrate, we want to hear from you. The judges will then select the top ten nominations, and the public will vote for their favourite.

The quote can be spoken or written and can be from any public source, including Twitter.

Competition organiser Dr Heather Kavan from the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing says the quote does not have to be funny. “Everyone has different tastes, and previous winning quotes have ranged from the hilarious and embarrassing to the tragic and profound.”   

Last year’s winner was Sara Qasem's defiant statement at the sentencing of the Christchurch terrorist who murdered her father: “Let it be known these tears are not for you.”

Judging criteria

The judging panel are looking for quotes that New Zealanders want to hear again, Dr Kavan says.

“These are one-liners that give people ‘yes’ moments. That may be ‘yes, that moves me deeply,’ or ‘yes, that’s so true,’ or ‘yes, that’s so embarrassing.’

“The best ones usually have the maximum amount of meaning in the minimum number of words. The line has to fit onto a voting form, so we tend to choose short quotes unless a lengthy one is exceptional.”

How to nominate

First, check that the quote was said or written by a New Zealander during 2021.

Also, check that the quote is from a public source - a speech, news story, social media post, advertisement, or television show.  

Then email the suggested quote to Heather Kavan. Please 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 this is optional.

Nominations close at midnight 8 December.

After the judging panel has chosen the ten finalists, the public has a week to vote. The winning quote will be announced before Christmas.

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