Equal-pay campaigner Kristine Bartlett was named Kiwibank 2018 New Zealander of the Year for helping secure pay raises for 55,000 low-paid, primarily female care and support workers.
Ms Bartlett joined The AM Show the morning after the big night.
The New Zealander of the Year had argued that her employer, Terranova Homes, violated the equal pay for equal work legislation by paying her less, due to the fact she was in a female-dominated industry.
Ms Bartlett said she had been paid minimum wage her entire life.
“It’s all I’ve ever known,” she said.
The Government agreed with her argument, and signed a $2 billion settlement on the case on April 18, 2017.
On July 1, 2017, care workers like Ms Bartlett on the minimum wage received a pay rise from $15.75 per hour to $23.50 per hour.
That's only the start - within five years, the wages will be $27 per hour - an increase of 71 percent.
“It has been a life change for so many women in my sector,” she told The AM Show.
Ms Bartlett received the award from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Thursday night and was presented with the Kiwibank kaitaka huaki cloak, Pouhine, by 2014 New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan.
Watch the full interview with Kristine Bartlett above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.