Ranjna Patel named Trade Me Innovator of the Year
Ranjna win cropped

Ranjna Patel has been named Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau at the New Zealander of The Year Awards 2021. Ranjna is the cofounder and a director of Tāmaki Health, executive trustee of Total Healthcare PHO and founder of the family harm prevention programme Gandhi Nivas.

Ranjna is the first woman to have won the Innovator of the Year award, which recognises inspiring Kiwis whose game-changing discoveries, research or inventions are creating a better New Zealand. 

She was also one of three finalists in the New Zealander of the Year category, alongside Muslim community leader Farid Ahmed and microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles.

In both categories Ranjna was recognised for her work with Gandhi Nivas, a groundbreaking intervention programme which works with perpetrators of family harm. A recent five-year study by Massey University has shown that the programme — which provides free shelter and counselling for men who have been issued a Police Safety Order — has been proven to reduce reoffending by 60%. 



Accepting the award for Innovator of the Year on Wednesday night, Ranjna said, “This is very very special… I’m blown away.”

She said she was surprised to win the category because the Gandhi Nivas programme was less about innovation, and more “just common sense". 

“When I heard the police say the problem, and the counsellors say the solution, it was just a matter of putting it together. Why had no one thought of it – that men need help without getting a criminal record?

“If we as a society can be proactive than reactive to problems, I think we could go very far.”

Presenting the finalists for New Zealander of the Year award, host Scotty Morrison said, “New Zealand has the highest rate of reported family violence in the developed world, so the importance of the revolutionary mahi that Ranjna is doing truly cannot be underestimated.”

Ranjna says she hopes that the recognition from this award will help bring awareness to the Gandhi Nivas programme, which currently has three houses in Auckland with plans to expand nationwide.

“Because the concept of working with men is so foreign, just getting it out there is such a big thing. Everybody knows Women’s Refuge and it’s in every major city centre, but there’s currently no support for men outside of Auckland. It has to be national in order to get momentum.”

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