Shining lights celebrated at Hutt City Youth Awards ceremony

Hutt Valley news
Friday, December 4, 2015

Athletes, leaders and entrepreneurs were among the winners celebrated at the inaugural Hutt City Youth Awards ceremony held in Lower Hutt last night.

Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley and Chair of the Organising Committee congratulates all the nominees and winners on their achievements and urges them to continue to strive for success in the future.

“The Hutt Valley is full of talented young people, a small portion of which we are fortunate to have honoured at the Hutt City Youth Awards last night”, says Mr Bishop.

“Too often our young people are criticised for being self-interested and detached from the community. Last night’s awards ceremony demonstrated exactly the opposite. In every category we had examples of youth making a real difference to the Hutt Valley.

“Giselle Promise Iradukunda, winner of the Label & Litho Award for Leadership, is a leader amongst her peers against bullying and is also an advocate for special needs students. Lilia Alexander, who won the Hodge Group Award for Entrepreneurship, is involved in several start-ups including incredibly the hugely successful Wellington – LIVE Facebook page.

“Winner of the GNS Science Award for Science and Technology, Nicholas Hyland created the free iPhone app “Wellington Now” which provides real-time updates on traffic, public transport, weather, disasters, and more. WelTec’s Service to the Community Award winner Rosalina Sitagata commits a huge amount of time to voluntary work as a netball umpire for many primary and intermediate school games.

“I was also heartened to see acknowledgments for all three winners of the Westpac Award for Overcoming Adversity. The three nominees - Keegan O’Kane-Jones, Jared Gillies and Harmony Daly- could not be separated by the judges. Each have overcome significant social and physical barriers to contribute greatly to the community.

“The Natraj School of Dance Award for Tolerance and Diversity winner Nathaniel Hailemariam was lauded for his work representing Ethiopians through football and fundraising.

“We also acknowledged the Hutt’s arts and sporting prowess with Shae Berney winning the Dowse Art Museum Award for the Arts and Diana Oloapu winning the Ignite Sport Award for Contribution to Sport. Shae’s contribution to the arts through his achievements in ballet and scholarship to the prestigious Harid Conservatory in Florida, and Diana’s support of several junior sports teams across a number of codes demonstrate the qualities required of future Hutt Valley leaders.”

The Hutt City Youth Awards were held for the first time this year, supported by Platinum Sponsor WelTec. Mr Bishop intends for them to be an annual event. Winners of each category received a range of prizes donated by generous sponsors.

Present at the ceremony were special guests Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English and Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace, while Minister for Youth Hon Nikki Kaye sent a special congratulatory message to the winners.

The awards were judged by a panel of esteemed Hutt Valley community members, including Mayor Ray Wallace, entrepreneur and business owner Renee Ailao, Director of the Dowse Art Museum Courtney Johnston, Victoria University Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan, and Director of Ignite Sport Kevin Goldsbury.

For a full list of nominees, winners and prizes go to