Hutt City Youth Awards Finalists Announced

Hutt Valley news
Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chris Bishop, Chair of the Hutt City Youth Awards Organising Committee, today announced the finalists for the inaugural Hutt City Youth Awards.

The Hutt City Youth Awards are a new initiative which aim to shine a light on young people in the Hutt who are doing amazing things in the community.

“On behalf of the organising committee, I am excited to announce the 24 finalists for the eight award categories. With so many exceptional applications the committee found it very difficult to short-list the finalists.

“The outstanding nominees demonstrate the breadth and depth of talent of youth in the Hutt Valley.

“Every nominee should be proud of their achievements. The young people nominated have a long list of achievements including volunteer work, advocacy for young people with mental health issues and against bullying, coaching of sports teams and leadership in the performing arts, fundraising in a range of fields, exemplary leadership even to those older than them, success in business, and many have excelled despite significant difficulties.

“We have finalists from all walks of life, including those who have come to the Hutt as refugees from places such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, and those with physical or intellectual disabilities.”

The Hutt City Youth Awards are sponsored by local businesses and organisations, with platinum sponsor WelTec joined by Westpac, Label & Litho, The Hodge Group, The Dowse Art Museum, Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, Ignite Sport, GNS Science, Hutt Radio, Natraj School of Dance, Pete’s Emporium, Rotary Clubs of the Hutt Valley, and Brady Dyer Photography.

All finalists will attend the awards ceremony on the evening of Thursday 3 December where Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will give the keynote address to celebrate their success.

“The Awards Ceremony will be a wonderful celebration of young people in the Hutt Valley with cultural performances, speeches, refreshments and of course the awards itself,” says Mr Bishop.

“We should be immensely proud of these talented and inspirational young people in the Hutt Valley. These awards are a special way of recognising the special role they have to play in our community.”

The Awards Ceremony for the Hutt City Youth Awards will be held on Thursday 3rd of December from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Boulcott’s Farm Golf Club. For more information contact


Hutt City Youth Awards Finalists


Label & Litho Hutt City Youth Award for Leadership

Giselle Promise Iradunkunda of Stokes Valley – for providing exemplary leadership of her peers through advocacy against bullying, assisting special needs students, captaincy of sports and dance groups, and leadership in fundraising.

Georgia Hurley of Wainuiomata – for stepping up as coach and organiser of the Valley Inline Speed Skating Club, providing mentorship to younger skaters, and enabling the Club to continue without a full time coach.

Troy Johnson of central Lower Hutt – for providing exemplary leadership at his school where he is Head Boy, as well in sport. Troy was selected as captain of the Wellington Under 19 cricket team despite being the youngest member at the age of 16.

The Dowse Art Museum Hutt City Youth Award for The Arts

Olivia van Woerkom of Waterloo – for her achievements in ballet, including her recent acceptance into the New Zealand School of Dance in 2016 (and her offers for places at three Australian dance schools).

Amelia Walshe of Woburn – for her achievements in musical theatre, including having been selected from 630 girls to play the lead role in ‘Annie’, and being selected from 1800 applicants to perform in ‘The Sound of Music’ both for its New Zealand and Asian tours.

Shae Berney of Epuni – for his achievements in ballet including being awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Harid Conservatory in Florida.

Westpac Hutt City Youth Award for Overcoming Adversity

Keegan O’Kane-Jones of Wainuiomata – for having overcome significant social barriers in his childhood to represent New Zealand in Boxing at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015.

Jared Gillies of Woburn – for overcoming physical disabilities to become a mentor for other students, achieving NCEA Level 3, and developing the ambition to work in Early Childhood Education.

Harmony Daly of Fairfield – for overcoming family challenges and tragedies to become a peer advocate and youth coach, excelling in her education, and providing significant support to her family.

The Hodge Group Hutt City Youth Award for Entrepreneurship

Lilia Alexander of Lower Hutt – for her involvement in several start-ups including Tash Gelato, Wellington – LIVE, YouCreate, and her participation in the Young Enterprise Scheme, the Creative HQ business accelerator and Start-Up Weekend Wellington.

Nicholas Hyland of central Lower Hutt – for his work as the CEO of Wellington Now, an app which provides real-time information around Wellington, developed through a Young Enterprise Scheme company.

Alana Kirby of Maungaraki – for her many entrepreneurial achievements including being part of a company named as a national winner in the Young Enterprise Awards, and being one of 40 business students nation-wide to be selected for a business acceleration programme at Massey University.

WelTec Hutt City Youth Award for Service to the Community

Anton Jewiss of Waiwhetu – for his extensive volunteer work at the Te Omanga Hospice kitchen, including increasing his hours during school holidays.

Rosalina Sitagata of Naenae – for her volunteer work as a netball umpire for many primary and intermediate school games, including training junior umpires and fundraising for junior sports teams.

Natalie Shackleton of Stokes Valley – for her leadership of the Sacred Heart College fundraising Teacher v Students debate which raised a significant sum of money for Deaf Aotearoa.

Natraj School of Dance Hutt City Youth Award for Tolerance and Diversity

Nathaniel Hailemariam of Lower Hutt – for representing New Zealand in U15, U17 and U19 football, coaching Lower Hutt primary school football teams, and fundraising for supplies and air freight to Ethiopia.

Radhika Ravi of Avalon – for promoting Indian culture through excellence in Indian classical dance, including performing at Parliament, Te Papa, TSB Arena, and other prestigious venues, along with leadership within her own community.

Britnee Tapara of central Lower Hutt – for advocacy of young people with physical disabilities and mental health difficulties and anti-bullying campaigns, despite being legally blind.

GNS Science Hutt City Youth Award for Science and Technology

Catherine Edmeades of Petone – for her membership of the Wellington High School science enrichment group and award-winning Junior Young Physicists Team.

Nicholas Hyland of Lower Hutt – for creating a free iPhone app, ‘Wellington Now’ which provides real-time updates on traffic, public transport, weather, disasters, and more.

Lilia Alexander of Lower Hutt – for creating a Facebook page, ‘Wellington – LIVE’ to give live updates on the flooding that hit Lower Hutt in May 2015. The page has continued providing updates on life the Wellington region, and currently has 23000 subscribers.

Ignite Sport Hutt City Youth Award for Service to Sport

Montelle Leafa (Sione), of Wainuiomata – for his voluntary leadership of BGI Sportsbreak in Wainuiomata, and his excellence in Rugby League representation within Lower Hutt, Wellington Region, and New Zealand.

Jack Morrissey, of Stokes Valley – for his leadership of a younger boys’ football team, including coaching, arranging transportation, fundraising, mentorship and support for team members, and creating a video for the team featuring footage of every game.

Diana Oloapu, of Naenae – for her unfailing support of several junior sports teams across a number of codes, including refereeing, mentorship, organising inter-whānau sport competitions, and assisting in any way necessary including refilling water bottles etc.