The 2016 Youth Week Awards winners are:
Change Maker- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex:
Qmunity Youth Group Gisborne is made up of young high school students who have been victims of homophobic bullying. The group aims to bring awareness to the wider community of the challenges of wanting to be accepted and understood by whanau; to support those who are dealing with depression and anxiety of being outcast and labelled as different; and to assist individuals dealing with the effects of cyber bullying and suicidal tendencies because they don’t feel as though they can be who they are. They are currently setting up school LGBT support groups in Secondary Schools across Gisborne.
Alex Bramwell (22) has been volunteering at Waikato Queer Youth (WaQuY) for 6 years. WaQuY offers a safe space for youth who may identify with diverse gender, sex or sexuality. Alex started helping out any way she could and now Alex is the Youth Mentor Coordinator. This role entails her to look after all of WaQuY’s volunteers, recruit other young people to volunteer, and provide training and supervision for other youth mentors. For those travelling near or far to attend Hamilton based WaQuY, Alex is said to be “a large contributor to maintaining the group”.
As an active member of the Auckland University Students Association, Tessa Naden (22) has contributed greatly to the LGBTI community across the University. Along with providing outstanding support to youth, Tessa put her heart and soul into finishing renovations of the AUSA Queerspace. The space has seen to have improved relationships and created a better community for LGBTI youth on the Auckland University campus. With her work, Queerspace has become a focal point for the queer community on campus. Auckland University now has a thriving LGBTI youth community due to Tessa's actions.
Bella Simpson (19) is a tireless advocate for transgender young people. She works with InsideOUT and the wider community to help young people who struggle with their identity or feel unsafe to speak out. There are not very many young transgender people in NZ who speak out about issues affecting them; however Bella regularly volunteers her time to speak publicly, advocates for, and educates people on gender diversity. Bella was also successful in being chosen as one of two people on the organising committee for the PROUD ILGA Oceania Human Rights and Health conference.
Rachel Brebner (22) has been involved with youth group Rainbow Youth for a number of years. They began as a member of Rainbow Youth and has worked their way up to be the chairperson of the organization. Under Rachel’s leadership, Rainbow Youth has expanded into a new, larger center and has also launched several key education programmes nationwide that are free and easily accessible. Rachel’s ongoing commitment to the community has an immensely positive influence on others at Rainbow Youth, and on young people across New Zealand.
Change Maker- Cultural:
Te Ariki Te Puni (16) continues to effectively use his leadership skills and position as Head Boy to positively influence young men of Maori descent alongside his school and the wider community. He has made a commitment to spreading the use of Te Reo Maori within the school and to influence Maori students as a positive role model for them to emulate. Te Ariki has been highly successful in a number of speech competitions and leadership programmes within New Zealand. He seeks to inspire others to embody values such as courage, humility, industry, integrity, pride and respect.
Khan Clement-Watkins (14) has turned his life around to help inspire others. From nearly dropping out of school at age 13, Khan now embodies a positive attitude towards school and also finds time to volunteer on the weekends. Khan has helped to build plant boxes, walkways and a memorial garden for the community. He has also volunteered his time to the Taupiri Youth Group and has also spoken at nearby schools, sharing his story and encouraging young people not to give up if they hit a lowpoint.
Jenny Wu (17) has contributed positively to her community through her voluntary work at the Elizabeth Knox Rest Home. Jenny volunteers her time to helping translate for the Chinese elderly and accompanying them. She also volunteers at the Totara Hospice Shop and started a website called UNISCO which provides a platform for high school students to volunteer and be involved in their societies. She was accepted into Youth Parliament 2016 with the intentions of changing perceptions people may have on the Asian Community, and bring awareness to the Asian victims who have been subject to violence and bad media portrayal.
Tyson Taikato (24) is a committed community member and volunteer who works alongside kaumatua as an integral part of "Pou o te Haahi Ratana" Rangatahi Ratana movement. He contributes to the development of Maori Tamariki and Rangatahi, empowering them to become responsible for their own self-development, tutors Kapa Haka, and volunteers to Te Kohanga Reo. An outstanding leader as Rangatahi in the Ratana church, his commitment to encouraging children and youth active healthy lifestyles through sport, has had a positive impact in assisting the community with understanding and supporting healthy active lifestyles.
Elijah Pue (22) was awarded Top Maori Student at Ruapehu College in 2012 and then has taken on leadership roles in Ngāi Tauira Maori Students Association, mobilising the student body, encouraging participation in student politics, and in the wider educational arena. He takes leadership seriously, always thinking of new ways to encourage Rangatahi involvement while at the same time showing, by example, how to make a meaningful contribution whether in study, in politics, in the Catholic community. This year at the annual Hui Aranga, Easter gathering of Maori Catholics, Elijah played a key role in championing a Rangatahi Choir, a first in the 70 years of the Hui Aranga being run.
Change Maker- Community Safety:
Ashleigh Smith (18) is joint leader of Sticks n Stones, a student led anti-cyber bullying group. Sticks n Stones provides practical support and guidance to young people. Ashleigh’s passion for cyber safety has been recognized across Central Otago as she has helped set up this programme in a number of schools so that students are empowered to be safe online and know how to respond in the face of cyber bullying. As a result of Ashleigh’s support to the cause, she has been chosen to present at the World Anti-Cyber Bullying Conference in Ireland.
Youth Search & Rescue Tauranga’s (YSAR) is a non profit organisation which enables teenagers to develop the necessary skills to participate in becoming full active members of LandSAR New Zealand. YSAR saw a need for young people to be trained and encouraged to assist in our volunteer services, and the group helps teach valuable skills such as first aid, bush craft and navigation. Students are able to build on their fitness levels, team work abilities and leadership skills. The bush environment and practical nature of the course enables students to find something they are good at which enhances self-esteem and confidence.
Atawhai Charitable Trust Gisborne is a youth mentoring programme aimed at 11-12 year olds that have been identified (by participating schools) as being high risk- i.e. high truancy, behavioural problems, or lacking the skills to interact in a positive manner. Students are peer mentored by Atawhai student leaders and supportive community members from the Police, the Army, the Navy, teachers, schools and parents. A total of 200 students have successfully graduated from the programme since its creation in 2013, and have benefited greatly from the time and support provided by the group.
Maral Ghamkhar (17) has been successful with getting her peers, her school and the local Palmerston North Council on board with being sun-smart. Maral has mobilised a group of students who are educating young people on being sun-smart, and has proposed to the Youth Council that her school introduce an optional sun hat for students. The Palmerston North City Councilors were very supportive of the idea and have encouraged the idea to be taken into other secondary schools in the region. She also continues to contribute to the work of the Cancer society and hopes to spread knowledge through a song she wrote about being sun-smart to other young people.
For as long as he can remember Billy Turner (17) has wanted to be a firefighter. At the young age of 10, Billy became associated with, and participated in the Tairua volunteer brigade trainings. He has now been a firefighter for the Tairua and Whangamata brigades for almost 2 years. Billy also volunteers his time to the coastguard, and has been a member of the Land Search and Rescue for 3 years. The Coastguard and SAR say “his personal contributions are extensive”. Billy’s contributions extend even further as he has also managed to help set up a programme to install smoke alarms within his community, which is ongoing and successful.
Stephen Jones (17) has developed his leadership skills through the vast number of activities he has participated in on both local and national levels. He dedicates his spare time to being chairperson of the Invercargill City Youth Council, on the New Zealand Flag Consideration Panel 2015/2016, part of the UN Aotearoa Youth Declaration and as a Relay for Life Youth Ambassador to name a few. Stephen is empathic and collaborative, and seeks to support his community and its growth in any way he can. These qualities also saw him to lead the Invercargill Youth Council in the development of a new smoke-free policy across the city in Invercargill.
Simon Thomas (22) has contributed greatly to the provision of educational opportunities for NZ youth through NCEA Campus and The Learning Collaborative (TLC). He volunteers his time to these non-profit organisations to provide group tuition for students of low-income backgrounds. In 2013 NCEA Campus tutored 2,000+ students, and due to Simon’s team this that a significant proportion came from low-decile schools who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford tuition. Simon also led the growth of TLC through academic coaching and providing weekly sessions aimed at strengthening critical thinking, all whilst leading as the CEO of the organisation.
Alexia Hilbertidou (17) discovered GirlBossNZ, an organisation created to address issues of gender equality. It develops the leadership of potential young women aged 13-18 years old through online magazines, a Facebook group and event pages. Alexia aims to develop leadership amongst youth through MAP Youth- an online and
face-to-face network of Maori and Pacific people who work with well known NZ leaders to benefit from their expertise and advice. Alexia created this platform alongside KaiShare- an online portal which allows commercial enterprises to log their food waste so that agencies who distribute food aid can be notified.
Keryn Tubbs (17) is a senior member of Sticks n Stones. It is said many of the organisation’s partnerships have grown and developed as a direct result of her contribution. Her leadership and mentoring has also spread across Alexandra and the wider region. Keryn has worked to educate those around her of the seriousness of cyberbullying, and how it can be eradicated. She led the 'Hit Pause, the Post' team working alongside Facebook to redesign one of their online safety guides. Keryn is also the 2016 Youth MP for the Waitaki electorate. In this role she is working with other youth MPs as well as local young people to share their ideas and concerns.
Ronan Fitch (15) has contributed greatly to the community as a volunteer and a leader. For the last 3 years Ronan has volunteered his services to recite poem ‘Not Forgotten’ in Cambridge, Matamata, Walton and Hamilton at ANZAC ceremonies. Doing this on his own accord, Ronan wants to be a voice for youth within his community. He also dedicates his time to entertaining the elderly, helping those in the community by washing cars, weeding gardens and baking for those in need. At home he also started his own garden to donate fruit and vegetables to the Salvation Army foodbank to help those in the community who are less fortunate.
Ben Wigley (24) is the co-founder and lead developer of Banqer, the online financial education software for kiwi kids in NZ schools. The website is currently used in over 400 classrooms throughout New Zealand, and is a fun and engaging platform that helps users learn about money. Ben is not only able to improve the financial literacy of thousands of New Zealanders, but also their basic numeracy skills, their digital skills, and their social confidence, as Banqer requires students to engage with one-another as a part of a classroom economy.
Matthew Strawbridge (17) has contributed greatly to the dyslexic community since he was 13 years old. He created a website called Dyslexic Potential which provides videos that inform dyslexic youth on how to get through their first years at school and on how to make the most of having dyslexia. Matthew also created and offers empowerment workshops to dyslexic youth. At his workshop’s Matt motivates, empowers and inspires parents, teachers and youth to take action and embrace their dyslexia. These groups have grown in numbers hugely, with the largest group being over 200 dyslexic youth in Auckland. Matthew was also a finalist in the 2015 Young New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Serena Lim-Strutt (17) noticed that lower decile schools in her area needed help, so approached them for support and created a transformational service called Over the Fence Ministry. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that benefits both the students that are being served and those that are serving. The programme provides role models for younger students and volunteers help in a variety of areas such as helping students to read, in sporting activities, to play, providing meals, supporting staff, and helping to set up groups for dance, drama and Kapa Haka. Serena and her team of over 300 volunteers continue to raise money for the initiative so that the local primary schools can be resourced and served.
Greagh Lee-Anne Love (18) is passionate about helping and supporting parents who have lost a child. To provide practical support she created the Cuddle Cots charity in the hope to raise $10,000 to purchase two cuddle cots to donate to the Rotorua Hospital. She organised events such as sausage sizzles, mystery envelopes, raffle tickets, garage sales and a community walk for infant loss. Greagh’s tireless fundraising means the Rotorua Hospital will receive two more of these cooling systems. These machines will increase the amount of time parents of stillborn babies can have to say their goodbyes. Greagh also set up a support group for mothers who have experienced infant loss.
Jessica Hill (14) is the Food Depot Coordinator for Kiwi Community Assistance, a non-profit organization that acts as a distribution hub for community groups by sourcing food, clothing, footwear, whiteware, household goods and furniture. Jessica has been volunteering with KCA for over a year, and took on the responsibility of running the depot when she was only 13. During her time with KCA, the food operations have almost doubled resulting in some 60 banana boxes of produce are prepared on a Sunday evening for collection on Monday morning by ten or more different agencies.
Working for Youth:
Eamon Walsh (16) is the leader of the Pause, Prompt, Praise programme, an initiative aimed at increasing the literacy skills of children who have learning difficulties and come from low socio-economic backgrounds. As an active member of the John Paul College community, Eamon also volunteers his time to the school, as a ‘big brother’ figure to younger students, as a tutor, and to the wider Rotorua community. Eamon is currently member of the JPC Youth Environment Team, Rotorua Youth Council and Rotorua Youth Voice where he has been active in promoting the voice of youth in Rotorua. Within these roles he hopes to encourage the youth of today to be interested in environmental issues.
Samantha Denton (22) has been volunteering for over 2 years for the Magic Movers StarJam workshop. The programme provides music and performance opportunities for young people with disabilities. They meet weekly to socialise, learn dances, perform for each other and overall gain confidence and independence whilst in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Samantha supports the teacher with activities whilst helping to encourage the young people to participate and feel included.
Ilene Lei (17) is the co-leader of the Student Council at her school and has dedicated her time to helping fundraise for the Young Achiever’s Fund. This programme seeks year 7-year 13 students who, for financial reasons, need support to pursue a cultural, sporting or college activity related goal. Thanks to the fund and Ilene’s contribution, many students are given financial assistance to go after their ambitions. Ilene is also a co-leader of the Habitat for Humanity Youth Board at her school. The group fundraised towards ‘Helping Hands Build Project’, a programme that is looking to build a house in 2017 for youth in poverty in collaboration with the Newmarket Rotary club.
Vivien Huang (16) is passionate about getting young people actively engaged in the community. Vivien also is a strong advocate for humanitarian causes and youth voice. She is the UNICEF club leader/coordinator at her school. In this role she organised the inaugural Media challenge competition, Rags to Riches Charity Ball, and fundraised for the Syrian Refugee. Due to the success of the charity ball, it is to become an annual event that can attract a wide scope of students across Auckland. In her spare time she also volunteers as a English teacher for refugees and migrants and helps them to integrate into Kiwi culture.
William Wang (17) contribution to his community extends over a range of areas. William plays a large part in the New Zealand Math’s Olympiad Students Association (NZMOSA), a student-led non-profit organisation that seeks to encourage high school students to participate in mathematical Olympiad-style problems. He is also the leader of ‘Steminism’, a group focused on promoting the involvement of women in science, engineering and technology. He is committed to setting up workshops that will help mentor these young women and encourage their participation. William also volunteers his time to Harmonize, an annual music competition tailored to students of low decile schools. He hopes to encourage young people to build on their musical talents despite their backgrounds.
Youth with Disability:
Hanna Deal’s (21) positive support and contribution to both the deaf, and Christchurch community is extensive. Hanna helped to establish Otago Deaf Youth, a group dedicated to helping young deaf people to participate in activities they may not usually get the chance to do, and to establish support networks within the group. She has also organised a number of camps for the programme and held workshops on topics including leadership, identity and social media. Hanna also had input into 'Accessible Christchurch', attending forums to discuss how the city should be rebuilt to meet the needs of all people, especially deaf. Hanna is said to be a “great role model for the younger generation and to have helped many people to be successful in their life”.
Analise Twemlow (12) lives with Tourette’s syndrome (TS), and has spoken about TS candidly on TV, the radio and in print. At such a young age she has contributed greatly to others who live with TS by inspiring and motivating them, whilst also educating the wider public as to its effects. Analise also volunteers her time to visit schools to speak to classmates and teacher of other children living with TS. As a result of Analise’s strength and honesty, other young people have gained the confidence to take ownership of their disorder and to speak out about it for the first time to friends, classmates and even in public addresses.
Michael Pulman (24) is a journalist, blogger, radio host and public speaker who has been volunteering his time to helping at CCS Disability Action, a national organization that provides frontline support and services, and creates local awareness and education about disability issues. He has his own website and blog ‘The Real Michael Pullman’ that focuses on disability, sports, politics, and video game news. Michael uses events and his website to make a positive contribution to the disability community, to the youth disability community and to society in general by presenting a positive message of what it means to be a young man affected by disability.
Hayden Scott-Chambers (18) has been an active member of the Invercargill Youth Council since 2013. He has since attended a number of council meetings and even proposed the idea of having a bus card. This idea was happily enforced by the council and Hayden is working with staff to have his card become a multi-use card for other council services such as the local pool. Hayden has worked tirelessly to create positive change for the Invercargill community and continues to dedicate time to helping others.
Alice Dawson (18) has been involved with Rainbow Youth for around 5 years. While legally blind and deaf this has not stopped Alice from volunteering her time. She often acts as an intern/volunteer secretary as she handles day-to-day activities such as answering the phone, greeting people, cleaning, data entry, processing invoices and organising payments. She tends to be the first point of contact for many people who approach Rainbow Youth and she makes them feel very welcome. This is a crucial role to Rainbow Youth and Alice is said to have made an amazing contribution to their community.
Te Ara Rangatahi o Ngati Te Ata run numerous events such as the Computers in Homes programme. This initiative enabled some families across the community to receive a free computer, computer skills and get connected to the internet for 12months. The group also supported Learner License Driver programmes, taught families how to catch whitebait, and provided leadership programmes for youth. The team members are helping to break the norms and are displaying through action that young people can be the catalyst and instigators for change. The impact of this has had a ripple effect on the abilities of other young people and whanau.
Selwyn Youth Council has contributed greatly to their community. The group of 13 young people aged 15-20 established POP Up Café. It is a non-profit organization that trains and employs local youth, then uses proceeds to distribute as youth grants. The group was also part of a project called Meet Your Street. They helped newcomers to the neighbourhood connect by visiting over 34 locations and serving free coffee to over 700 residents providing a fantastic opportunity for neighbours to meet. Because of its success Meet Your Street has been confirmed for next summer. The Youth Council are a passionate group of young people who wish for all young people in Selwyn to feel valued and connected to their communities.
Hurunui Youth Council consists of 13 members aged 14-19 years old who run a number of programmes and initiatives throughout the Hurunui District. They have helped with an anti-bullying programme in the area, and are currently running an initiative called Tech Labs. This project allows people to bring in their electronic devices and young volunteers try to help them learn how to use it. The HYC also oversee the running of the Hurunui Youth Programme which runs recreational, educational and cultural events across the district. They also identify road safety issues and have implemented a sugar-free beverage policy with the Hurunui Council for all events.
The Worthy Film Crew created short film "I am Worth It" which explored issues of identity, bullying and self-esteem. The crew is made up of 6 members aged 15-18. They won the Northland Youth Summit which enabled to them create a further short film "Youth Pride, Youth Passion, Youth Change" which focused on positive initiatives being led by young people for young people. They also organised community events to showcase the film. It was the hope of the group that both films would help to transform negative perceptions of youth and foster an appreciation of the positive contribution made by young people in this region.
Tahuna Pa Boys are a group of 20 or so young boys (aged 15-24) who, despite obstacle with employment and education, have come together to help out their community. The boys built a youth centre for their Marae which included the renovation of another building, cleaning mold and rat remains, and replacing doors, floors, walls and windows. They would begin their day early in the morning and wouldn’t stop until late afternoon/late evening- all with the use of their own tools, car headlights, etc. This space is now used for youth led initiatives, programmes and youth Hui. They simply wanted to contribute to their Iwi and the wider community “out of love."
Jamie Beaton (21) is the co-founder and CEO of Crimson Consulting, an education consultancy supporting young Kiwi’s to apply to learn at top-ranked universities around the world without being bound by their financial standing or geographic location. This year alone, Crimson secured 43 offers to New Zealand students to study at some of the best universities in the world. The organization currently has over 1000 tutors based around the globe to assist this process for students. At the age of 20 Jamie was also named one of the youngest people to be admitted to Stanford Business School, and he is set to graduate from Harvard this year with a degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics and a Masters in Applied Mathematics…two years ahead of schedule.
Devi Malhotra (23) is said to demonstrate great talent in alleviating poverty and contributing wholeheartedly to the community. Devi was co President, and is currently the Board of Director for Auckland Microfinance Initiative (AMI), a student led organization that creates positive social impact by trying to eradicate poverty in New Zealand and global communities through microfinance. The organization previously held 10 members and now thanks to Devi’s support it has over 400 members. She also has extended her efforts to help AMI establish partnerships both locally and abroad- in New Zealand with Kiwibank and the Auckland Council, and in Tonga, India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Michael Bias (21) is a committed sportsman who not only is an Elite BMX rider, but provides assistance, coaching and advice to clubs across New Zealand. Due to the nature of the sport he doesn’t always have competitions, so he utilises this time to help other riders through coaching clinics and track development. His voluntary work has encouraged riders to stay in the sport longer and helped them to further enjoy and improve in the sport. Michael has been awarded Sportsman of the Year for his club in four consecutive years and has recently been selected by Cycling NZ to represent New Zealand at the BMX World Championships in Colombia in May 2016.
Warren Feng (16) is an active member of the Albert Eden Youth Board. He has contributed positively to his society through programmes such as Gyropad, an educational workshop for primary school students across Auckland with the aim to alleviate the pressure of paper wastage. Warren is also the founder and CEO of Capucon, an association that helps secondary school students learn the basics of financial literacy and money management. Warren is a very passionate person who not only cares for primary school students and the environment, but for high schoolers’ ability to thrive.
Sticks n Stones are an organization that provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard, and empowers them to take positive action to stop bullying. With over 120 members aged 11-18, Sticks n Stones provide workshops, presentations and support for young people and their families, schools and community groups. The aims of these projects are to encourage positivity and to reduce online hate and bullying. These volunteers commit an average of 80-100 volunteer hours every year. To heighten their contribution to their community, Sticks n Stones work alongside other youth groups, Police, counsellors, health nurses, Mental Health and Youth Offending Teams to better support and educate people. Together, they create a positive message to youth to take action against bullying- both online and offline.
The 2015 Youth Week Awards winners are:
Youth with Disability:
Rachel Berry was a Youth Worker Intern for Magnet at Deaf Aotearoa. She organised a number of Deaf youth camps, running workshops on leadership, identity, and social media. Rachel has also helped a number of youth in Auckland transition from their last year in high school to further study and/or work. Recently Rachel was made President of the Auckland Deaf Youth Group. She has also been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section Camp in Turkey last July.
Amber-Lee Lawrie organised a weekly wheelchair basketball event with the help of the Auckland Wheelbreakers and Halberg New Zealand. She contributes to raising awareness of disabilities by speaking in front of the school about the wheelchair basketball event, and in particular CanTeen. This year she has begun tutoring younger students to help them with their NCEA exams.
At 14 years old, Muskan Devta was already a published author, radio host and international columnist while living with partial hemiplegia. She donated the proceeds of her autobiography ‘I Dream’ to Starship Hospital - $500 was raised through sales. Muskan has aspirations of building a school in her homeland of India for young women.
Leroy Wilson-Sadler is a leader in his school community. He is a member of the Student Support Centre at James Hargest College and as such is a role model for all the other students with Special Needs. As Captain of the Special Olympics team he looks after a number of other Special Needs students and he does so with a great deal of empathy, patience and understanding.
Emma Paton saw a gap in the support networks for young deaf people in her area, especially once they had left school, so helped establish a support group—Otago Deaf Youth. This group helps young deaf people to participate in activities they might not usually get the chance to do, and establish support networks. Emma is bi-laterally profoundly deaf. Emma is talented in sports and is ranked as the No.5 woman table tennis player in Otago. At the recent Network Waitaki Sports Awards Emma won the Athlete with a Disability Award and was a finalist in the Sports Person of the Year Award.
Over the last year, Julie Russell has helped a significant number of small communities around Southland research their war history, beautify their war memorials, and plan World War I commemorative celebrations. She is also an advisor to the Southland District Council International Relations Committee, and she has been influential in making trans-Tasman connections occur around the Anzac commemorations.
Over the past year, students from Alfriston College have re-created the landscape of 1915 Gallipoli in Minecraft, working with Auckland Museum staff. This project involved the students working to a brief to create an education resource that could be used in schools by teachers and students and help young people to connect and learn about the events in Gallipoli.
Over the past year Grace Brebner has written four songs about World War I and the impact it has at a human level. These songs have been performed at many locations and have encouraged other students to write and perform music. Grace has volunteered several hundred hours composing, rehearsing and performing her songs to raise awareness of World War I and the ANZACs. As a result she has been asked to be a Youth Peace Ambassador for The Peace Foundation NZ.
The students of the 2015 OneChance Youth Project (OCYP) created a free event to commemorate the centennial anniversary of World War I in remembrance of our fallen soldiers by hosting the OCYP Anzac Kite Festival on Anzac Day. They involved other trusts and organisations from Rotorua to be involved such as Rotorua Youth Voices, the Intergenerational Project and John Paul College Musical team.
Lucy Xie has been instrumental in establishing the MEMRIBOX Project. This project aims to capture on video the war time stories of our remaining World War II veterans. She has involved youth volunteers who had little understanding of subsequent conflicts let alone World Wars I and II.
Josiah Tualamali'i has made a positive contribution to his community by promoting youth participation and advocacy, diversity, and the voice of Pacific Youth. Josiah is also the Chairperson of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council (PYLAT). He works hard to enhance the wellbeing of Pacific Youth in all aspects and ensure their voices are being heard in decision-making. He is also the Pasifika Youth Guide for Youth Voice Canterbury and recently joined the Ministry of Youth Development’s Youth Advisory Group.
Sharnay Cocup is the youth co-ordinator of the Taupiri Youth Group. Under her leadership this youth group has encouraged local young people to do good things and believe in themselves; to show them that anything is possible to achieve. The Waikato District Council is working hand-in-hand with her and the Taupiri Youth Group. People and businesses are now starting to get involved and support the youth in their community.
Charlizza Harris founded 2FACE Drama in 2012 to build leadership and life skills amongst young people in order for them to share their knowledge of kapahaka, choreography, drama and music. Charlizza's philosophy is to encourage other youth to take on leadership positions, and by empowering volunteers through understanding the principles of youth development. Between 2009-2012 she created three companies through the Young Enterprise Scheme that were focused on addressing social issues affecting young people in her community.
In early 2012, Shreya Geiji started Prayas Youth Theatre. The youth theatre company formed as a response to a stifled local theatre industry that had little space and opportunity for young ethnic Kiwis to explore their creative interests. The theatre company was invited by a local NGO ‘Shakti’ to perform at their annual fundraiser, where Shreya devised, wrote, produced and directed a play on domestic violence, narrating the story of a victim’s journey from oppression to emancipation through dialogue and dance.
Katerina Clark has been a volunteer with RainbowYOUTH since March 2014 started a peer support group for young queer and trans people in Tauranga. The group, called TaurangaPryde, this is the first group for young queer and trans people in Tauranga. Kat has worked hard over the last year to create a safe and supportive group for the local Tauranga LGBT+ community. She has put endless amounts of time and effort in to get the group established.
Anneke Van Heyningen founded the organisation “Special Friends” in 2012 when she was 12 years old. Driven by her own experiences in hospital, she wanted to provide a service that brought happiness to other children and young people in long term care. Anneke is also involved with volunteering services through her school, encouraging other young people to support those who are most in need. Last year she was awarded a philanthropy award for her contributions.
Florence Reynolds founded the youth organization “Plastic Diet”, dedicated to addressing the issue of plastic pollution in New Zealand. The initiative also provides young people with opportunities to build volunteering and leadership skills. Florence has participated in the Live the Dream youth social enterprise challenge and has received a University of Auckland “Blue” Leadership award.
Kate Lunn is founder of internet blog site “We Are Hamilton”, which provides an unfiltered voice for Hamilton’s diverse and under represented youth population. This has inspired many young Hamiltonians to take ownership of their community through civic participation. Alongside her own study commitments, Kate is also deputy chair of the Hamilton Youth Council Advisory Panel, a director on the board of the Waikato Students' Union and vice president of education on the Waikato Law Students' Association.
Gina Yukich was the co-ordinator for the Aotearoa Youth Declaration 2015 conference, which provided a platform for young New Zealanders to voice their opinions on a range of public policy areas. Her leadership role in this initiative not only engaged a number of significant organisations around Auckland but also provided young people with the chance to learn more about civics education and youth advocacy. Gina is also involved in UN Youth and volunteers for a number of causes including the P3 Foundation.
Ben Dowdle founded Unmask Palm Oil with the aim of changing Australian and New Zealand food labelling laws. He has since become an expert speaker on this issue, regularly travelling around New Zealand and Australia to lead discussions on sustainable practices. Ben is a former ambassador for UNICEF New Zealand, has been on the Auckland Youth Advisory Panel and was the sole youth representative to the Auckland Social Policy Forum. Ben was also semi-finalist for the 2015 Young New Zealander of the Year award.
Natalie Germann gives back to her community in many ways. She volunteers in crisis support at Youthline, co-ordinates activities at Auckland City Hospital’s Acute Mental Health Ward and is a volunteer prison mentor. She also assists at Starjam which run musical workshops for youth with disabilities, and fundraises for Rotaract In addition, she is a student representative on Auckland University’s Ethics committee, and a member of the Post-Graduate Student Association. Natalie is employed in alcohol and drug rehabilitation services (Odyssey House), as well as in youth respite care for mental health, while training to become a clinical psychologist.
Since February 2011 Chelsea Dowling has volunteered over 500 hours at Youthline Central North Island. She has become our first volunteer to pass on her knowledge to train our new mentors, assisting Youthline to plan new training programmes that will provide consistency across the teams. Chelsea also helps out with Youthline’s seminars for schools and community groups in addition to studying towards a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Massey University.
Sulani Helg gives back to her community in many ways. She is a Youth Ambassador for Rheumatic Fever and Save the Children and a member of the Youth Advisory Group for the Ministry of Youth Development. Sulani plays a large role in Manurewa High School where she is part of Humanitarian Aid Leadership Programme, is a student representative on the school Board of Trustees and runs the Breakfast Club, which organises donations of food and provides nutritious breakfasts for all students.
At the age of 15 Leah Hoffman successfully completed the 2014 Youth in Emergency Services programme. On her 16th birthday Leah joined the Ngongotaha Volunteer Fire Brigade as a recruit Fire Fighter. Call outs range from motor vehicle accidents, medical calls, and hazardous substance calls through to actual structure fires. Leah always has her hand up for local community events and those activities outside the area - Kiwi Culture Day, A&P Show, fundraising for Blood cancer and leukemia and many others.
In her last two years Gabby Devine put smiles on the faces of kids with cancer by sending them boredom boxes, giving out super hero capes, and handing out goodies on the ward all the while going through cancer treatment herself. Gabby created a Facebook page called "Starlit HOPE" which provides random acts of kindness to oncology families in Starship and New Plymouth hospital. Sadly Gabby passed away last year.
Working for Youth:
Emma Dolfing leads a group of around 20 young people in drama and film related activities teaching them skills in these areas. She has a great ability to motivate, engage and positively influence others. She has completed short film which promoted the environmental sustainability of the paua population at Tauroa point near Ahipara. Environmental education is an identified need for that community. Emma has also directed numerous drama productions including some with a charity focus in which she has raised funds for young people with cancer in the Te Hiku community. Emma also promoted and supported “Shave for a Cure”.
Katerina Clark is an active member of RainbowYOUTH, working closely with her local group “Tauranga Pryde”. Balancing study and work with her efforts in the community, Katerina has proven her commitment to giving young LGBT+ people a voice. As a mentor, facilitator and leader, Katerina has played a significant role in helping the youth LGBT+ community in Tauranga feel safe, confident and free to be themselves.
Rebecca Wan has dedicated her time to providing opportunities for young people. She recently founded the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Art Competition and has helped create an international student buddy and mentoring programme through her school. Rebecca is also a volunteer for Trade Aid and Sistema Aotearoa, highlighting her passion for fair trade, human rights and helping underprivileged young people get ahead by learning music.
Recognising unemployment as being one of the biggest issues affecting young people, Liam McLeavy founded “Youth Jobs Horowhenua”, an initiative aimed at helping young people find jobs in the Horowhenua district. Liam is the deputy chairperson of the Horowhenua Youth Council and provided a youth voice on local government issues including the Horowhenua Psychoactive Substances Policy. He is also a member of the Ministry of Youth Development’s Youth Advisory Group.
As a student leader, mentor, project co-ordinator and facilitator, Catherine Chen has been actively involved in promoting environmental sustainability throughout the Auckland region. Catherine is also a strong advocate for youth leadership and volunteering, founding non-profit organisation Asia-Pacific Connection. Alongside her commitment to environmental sustainability, Catherine is also a tutor at InZone, helping young Māori and Pacific students become empowered through education.
The Plastic Bottle Kayak team have done amazing work raising awareness throughout New Zealand (and around the world) about the need for sustainability by juxtaposing the prevalence of waste with the beautiful environments that we value. The awe-inspiring expeditions show off some of the most beautiful parts of Aotearoa’s environment in kayaks made from plastic bottles which has generated a large amount of media interest.
Wellington based 2Face Drama developed initiatives to raise awareness around alcohol and violence, using performing arts as the platform to promote social change. Over 2,000 people saw the production, 'A Christmas Dream' which was produced by young people with lived experience of alcohol and violence. Ongoing work has grown from this initiative.
Christchurch Youth Council exists to support a stronger youth voice in the Christchurch area. It does this by hosting events, running consultations, writing submissions and creating a safe environment for young people to have their say about the rebuild. The group’s activities have ranged from working behind the scenes in the youth sector to contribute to Youth Voice Canterbury, to organising and running face-to-face events in the local community, to learning how to become an incorporated society that works on a professional level.
Ruapehu Youth Council’s mission is to enable young people in Ruapehu to be adequately represented in order to aid the development of their individual potential and their community’s wellbeing. The Ruapehu Youth Council is made up of youth ambassadors from Waimarino-Waiouru and Taumarunui-Ohura. Projects have included seeking funding for buying and distributing Christmas presents to those in need. This is part of wider work on poverty.
Limitless Youth Leadership Group is made up of young people from Manurewa Marae who wish to help other young people in Manurewa. One of their goals is to discourage young people from falling into negative activities such as drugs, alcohol and gang-related activities which have a high prevalence in Manurewa. They have coordinated youth-led events in the community based on their own ideas and aspirations for other young people in Manurewa.
Raven Maeder developed a youth based, interschool environmental actions group, Nelson Youth Climate Action, after attending New Zealand’s first Youth Climate Summit in 2012. The Nelson Youth Climate Action Group now has 130 online members. Raven has taken on a very active and positive role towards making youth aware of environmental issues and the actions they can take.
The SavY Charitable Trust management team of 15 volunteer university students has worked tirelessly and passionately to help build young New Zealanders financial literacy skills. In addition to their studies, the team has developed free financial literacy (money management) workshops, trained and managed 40+ student facilitators, and facilitated more than 250 workshops with young people.
Xavier Muao Breed does a lot to get Maori/Pasifika youth involved within our community, and promotes a culturally diverse and accepting view. He organised the attendance of Kura Kaupapa students at the Aotearoa Youth Declaration 2015 and New Zealand Model United Nations 2014. Xavier is the Maori/Pasifika Liaison for UNYouth Auckland.
Fenella Colyer is a teacher at Manurewa High School where she has raised the profile of science, especially physics, among South Auckland students. In the past four years 51 of her students have won awards, trips, camps and competitions, and Fenella gained $100,000 for the school in the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Award 2013.
The Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute is a volunteer-run organisation that exists to connect young New Zealanders to opportunities that grow their leadership skills. The Institute is training and inspiring a new generation of New Zealand leaders by giving them the opportunity to attend the world’s most significant international conferences.
The 2014 Youth Week Awards winners are:
Lani Alo made a huge impact in the area of performing arts and youth mentoring. He was working on Project K (an arts programme) as a team leader, where he was in charge of developing a resource that creates a series of narratives.
Lani has also been involved in New Zealand and Australia with the White Ribbon campaign and the Dunedin Fringe Festival.
Arianna Cudby co-wrote a song in Te Reo Maori about losing her cousin to suicide in 2011. The song provided key messages about the pain she and her whanau experienced.
In 2014 Arianna was invited to tour with Mike King, as a duet, to sing this song and talk about her experiences.
Taylor Finderup was a volunteer for a number of organisations, including Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) and Helping You Help Animals (HUHA). She dedicated her life outside of school to animal rights. Her biggest focus though is the marine environment.
She has presented over 78,000 signatures to MP’s at Parliament to stop shark finning. She has rallied her community and other young people to get behind this cause.
Serena Lal has been involved in a number of organisations. She was the Event Manager at St John, Uniguide Leader and Equity Officer at Auckland University, Companion at Camp Quality, and worked with the P3 Foundation.
Serena’s passion is in development and ethical actions which is demonstrated through her work with the Global Poverty Project.
Wei Cheng Phee has been part of a number of projects during his time with Enactus.
Enactus aims to improve the quality of life of people through entrepreneurial actions taken by students at university.
Nakita Turner overcame bullying during her first public performance. From this experience she vowed never to perform again. Now Nakita is a successful songwriter and performer.
Her song ‘One Voice’ is a YouTube sensation with over 50,000 views. This song, alongside the website www.onevoice.net.nz has inspired and encouraged others to talk about bullying in New Zealand.
Ronan Fitch volunteered to be one of the main speakers at the Matamata ANZAC Day service. He was then asked to be part of the next ANZAC Day service in the next town over and he agreed.
Ronan is active in many parts of the Matamata community but not necessarily through organised groups, often doing small things regularly, like helping out younger people in the library.
Ronan was also an award recipient in the 2016 Youth Week Awards.
Nicholas Humphries was involved with The Kids Restore the Kepler (KRTK) project since its conception, working on the organising committee to get the project off the ground.
Nicholas was on the leadership team, and worked with other students to teach them the vital skills they needed to help with the pest issue.
Nicholas was also involved with The Save Fiordland campaign, by being very active on social media.
Grady Murphy was a leader of the Timberlea Youth Programme for over two years. He has given many hours to help run events in the local community.
Grady gave up the chance to go on a school trip so he could stay and help organise events in the town. He thought it would be wrong for him to get to go away, when others do not have the same opportunities.
Eve Siania has been a leader in her local bakers club since she started high school. This club allows different schools to come together once a week to learn how to read and work with others.
She teaches young people how to be safe in the kitchen, food hygiene and how to eat healthy.
Eve was also involved in the local rugby team, ran the ’Its cool to stay in school’ and other community events.
Cameron Russell started volunteering for the Familial Trust Children's Group when he was 15. This is a group for young children who experience difficult family circumstances with addiction issues.
Cameron has used his past family experiences to help other young people. He taught these young children how to make positive decisions at school and at home.
Chrislynn Soong started the Christchurch Baking Army, after the 2011 earthquakes. This was so she and others who did not have the physical capabilities for more phyiscal work could still help during the clean up. The Army managed to bake over 15,000 items.
The Baking Army is still strong, working throughout the community and reactivated during the Christchurch floods.
Alice Craig is a ranger with Girl Guides and is working towards her Queen Guide Award, which involves completing a leadership certificate. Alice committed to weekly sessions, helped lead the unit and engaged with the younger girls as a role model.
Alice was also involved in the broader community with Cancer Week, worked with the Returned Services Association and was involved in ANZAC Day preparations.
Joe Gatland was heavily involved with Rainbow Youth. He undertook the roles of Treasurer, Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary due to temporary issues outside of his control.
Joe has worked above and beyond what a person would be expected to do, to ensure that Rainbow Youth had the structure and means to serve the community. He is always willing to help the organisation wherever possible.
Aaron Hape has been involved with Commonwealth Youth New Zealand (CYNZ) since his last year of high school. In 2013 he spearheaded a major restructure of the governance and workings of CYNZ.
CYNZ is a youth-run and led organisation that helps young New Zealanders interact and influence senior Commonwealth leaders.
Gibson Harris has been involved in a number of youth and community initiatives. These include; the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, the Vodafone World of Difference Programme, Phoenix Preforming Arts, the White Ribbon Campaign and more.
Gibson has made huge contributions in each of the above programmes and is viewed by his peers as a positive role model.
Brad Olsen has been a founding member of Whangarei District Council’s Youth Advisory Group and was the Chairman. Brad is a motivator and a prime member within the Youth Advisory Group and has contributed to major Whangarei initiatives.
Brad’s local civic engagement has not been restricted to the Youth Advisory Group, he is involved in many youth organisations throughout Whangarei.
Tess Vandenburg saw the lack of options given to Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) youth who wished to meet others of their community. Because of this Tess established Breaking Boundaries, an online forum for LGBTI youth and allies to find support and friendship in a safe online environment.
As the creator and leader, Tess ran the small team of volunteers as well as advertising and spreading awareness of the forum.
Working for Youth:
Michelle Atkinson is a leader and advocate for youth mental health. She draws on her own experience of mental distress to improve the experiences of others.
She is part of a youth led, and youth run, mental health development group called Affinity Services.
Tane Bennett gives up his time to coach and mentor young basketball players.
He was a voluntary coach at Tauranga Girls’ College and volunteered with Tauranga City Basketball as a representative coach.
He was also an ACC Ambassador with their Summer without Substance programme.
Vinnie Bennett was a young theatre practitioner who has worked with Nga Rangatahi Toa.
He has developed an interactive communication and arts based program to underpin the rangatahi personal development that goes into a creative wide art project.
Jade Leung was the CEO and is now a trustee of the P3 Foundation. She was also a National Director of P3 which saw her to lead the executive team in the operational groundwork through long term visioning, strategic planning and goal setting.
This group aims to end educational inequality by creating highly motivated, well rounded and diverse youth who support other students.
Victor Li was involved in a number of community based projects.
His biggest impact in 2014 was in the New Zealand Environmental Entrepreneurship Competition. Victor created this competition with the Auckland Council and AUT Business School.
He also tutored young students, worked with local primary schools and with local chess clubs.
Abbey Luff is always busy organising something for the young people in the community of Waverley to do. She coordinated many different events including “Waverley’s Got Talent”, Netball competitions and a Triathlon.
Abbey also volunteered at Waverley Primary School and the Waverley Swimming Club.