Finalists for 2016 Hutt City Youth Awards Announced

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Chris Bishop, Chair of the Hutt City Youth Awards Organising Committee, today announced the finalists for the second annual Hutt City Youth Awards, sponsored by WelTec.

“The Hutt City Youth Awards are all about shining a light on young people in the Hutt who are doing amazing things.

“The response from the community this year has been outstanding, with dozens of nominations of young people from all around the city.

“Once again it was very difficult to narrow the nominations down to three finalists in each category, especially as the quality of the nominations was superb.

“The finalists, aged between thirteen and twenty-one, have the most extraordinary achievements under their belts already, such as creating award-winning businesses, volunteering their time with disabled children, serving their communities through volunteering with emergency services and creating ways to bring their communities together.

“We have finalists from just about every suburb in Lower Hutt, so it’s a fantastic demonstration of how widespread within the Hutt these incredible young people are.”

Mayor Ray Wallace, Chairperson of the Judging Panel was very impressed with the very high quality of the nominees.

“It was a hard decision to actually select a winner in each category as all these young people are winners. The community is going to be in good hands when these young people take over running things,” Mayor Wallace says.

The Hutt City Youth Awards are sponsored by local businesses and organisations, with platinum sponsor WelTec joined by Goodtime Music Academy, GNS Science, Label & Litho, Hutt News, The Hodge Group, Hutt City Council’s Youth Council, Rotary, Natraj School of Dance, and Westpac.

The Awards Ceremony will be held on Wednesday 21 September at WelTec.

“The Awards Ceremony will be a wonderful celebration of young people in the Hutt Valley with entertainment from young local performers,” says Mr Bishop.

“We can be extremely proud of our young people in Hutt City, and how bright our future is.”

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Hutt City Youth Awards Finalists:

Label & Litho Hutt City Youth Award for Leadership

Soe Sola of Naenae (age 17) – for the leadership she provides to her peers at Naenae College, including championing bicultural values, leading the homework centre, volunteering with Students Against Drink Driving and the school’s prospectus design group, and being elected Head Girl of the school.

Georgia Bardsley of Boulcott (age 17) – for her services as Head of Special Character at St Oran’s College which has involved leading activities such as the 40 Hour Famine, fundraisers and special events, to her local youth group where she leads a younger group of attendees, and for her work with a special needs child.

Adiraj Gupta of Harbourview (age 20) – for his service as an Army Cadet, in which capacity he serves as both an Instructor and as the Stores Officer with his local unit. He is also a tutor at Victoria University and at Kumon Lower Hutt.


The Goodtime Music Academy Hutt City Youth Award for The Arts

Julian Dennison of Naenae (age 13) – for his achievements in acting, most notably in a key role in Hunt for the Wilderpeople which has broken New Zealand box office records and his now showing in cinemas all over the world. Julian is also an ambassador for Maori Language Week.

Jeremy Richardson of central Lower Hutt (age 21) – for his achievements in percussion, which include winning national championships with the Wellington Brass Band, winning Wellington Rockquest in 2013 with Harbour Lane, and being selected to perform in France for New Zealand’s centenary commemoration for the Battle of the Somme.

Olivia Jordan of Tirohanga (age 17) – for her achievements in music and dance, which have recently  included leading Chilton Saint James’ award-winning Seraphim Choir, completing New Zealand Academy of Modern Dance examinations and achieving Distinction in Tap and High Honours in Jazz, and winning first place multiple categories at the Hutt Valley Performing Arts competitions.


Westpac Hutt City Youth Award for Overcoming Adversity

Rose Vaea of Naenae (age 21) – for her determination to overcome paralysis after a severe accident, including regaining upper body mobility and strength, and becoming a force in wheelchair rugby.

Rakshana Chandrasiri of Waiwhetu (age 18) – for his success in developing a career in banking and entrepreneurship despite having arrived in New Zealand as a refugee with very limited English and no education only four years ago.

Aiden Walters of Avalon (age 17) - for his dedication to achieving success through education and training, despite many challenges and while being a tremendous support to his family.


The Hodge Group Hutt City Youth Award for Entrepreneurship

Aaron Jonassen of Wainuiomata (age 20) – for gaining qualifications in Sound and Event Production and using this knowledge to create a sound and lighting company. Aaron also volunteers his services and equipment to Wainuiomata’s Little Theatre for their productions.

Joel Alheit of Avalon (age 17) – for establishing his own stock photography and design business, through which he employs and trains young peers who contribute photography. He also volunteers at Taita Clubhouse, teaching Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to intermediate-aged students in his spare time.

Prestige Men’s Products (group) of Wainuiomata – a group of students at Wainuiomata High School who developed an innovative beeswax hair product and achieved overall success out of around ninety Young Enterprise teams by winning $1200 at Dragon’s Den, the most of any group in the Wellington Region.


WelTec Hutt City Youth Award for Service to the Community

Jonathan Stewart of Woburn (age 19) – for his volunteer work with Riding for the Disabled, during which he has demonstrated a natural affinity for working with children with disabilities. Jonathan is fully involved with the therapeutic riding programme from mucking out paddocks to working very closely with the participants to help them achieve their goals. As a result he now also works with Kimi-Ora School and Naenae Pool.

Topaz Robinson of Stokes Valley (age 16) – for his volunteer work with the NZ Cadet Forces, where he has worked his way up through the ranks to become the Warrant Officer for the City of Lower Hutt Cadet Unit, and his service as a volunteer firefighter and with Civil Defence.

Michaela Judson of Waterloo (age 17) – for her service as a St John Cadet, during which she has been selected as the District Cadet of the Year, has achieved Grand Prior status, taught first aid to children, and logged more than 200 hours of community service with retirement homes and charities such as Te Omanga Hospice. She also represented New Zealand at a St John Youth event in Hong Kong, at which she won every event she competed in.


The Youth Infusion Hutt City Youth Award for Embracing Diversity

Anika Molloy of Petone (age 15) – for her enthusiasm for multiculturalism, including being part of her school’s Kapa Haka group, volunteering at Trade Aid, visiting Uganda and Tanzania, and becoming involved with refugee resettlement in the Hutt Valley.

Tanvi Thomas of Epuni (age 18) – for her many achievements in biculturalism which has seen her excel in Indian Classical Dance, perform in Chilton Saint James’ award-winning Seraphim Choir, becoming a Youth Ambassador for Global Volunteer Network, and aspiring to becoming a doctor to help the less privileged.

Rachael Rickard of Taita (age 17) – for her services in bringing a grieving community together after a tragedy, by creating an event where many people of very different backgrounds could come together for mutual support.


GNS Science Hutt City Youth Award for Science and Technology

Lucy Chen of Waterloo (age 17) – for her organising of an event for secondary students promoting careers in engineering. The event included activities in aviation, coding, robotics and humanitarian engineering projects, and also featured high-profile speakers from the STEMM industry.

Tiaan Bonica-Kururangi of Stokes Valley (age 17) – for her passion for science and  her advocacy for protecting the environment for future gnerations, which is exemplified through her internship at GNS Science.

Zavier Boyd of Lower Hutt (age 15) – for his design of a computer programme which aims to help residents keep their homes warm and dry by measuring house temperature while accounting for wall thickness, insulation and number of windows.


Hutt News Hutt City Youth Award for Contribution to Sport

Rory Woollett of Alicetown (age 14) – for his dedication to the Petone Rugby Club, where his roles include refereeing games (including those of much older players), setting up and packing away fields and changing rooms, supervising children while their parents are engaged in club activities, helping run Club school holiday programmes and helping out at registration and Prizegiving.

Finn Fairbrother of Taita (age 17) – for his service to sport at Taita College including running lunchtime and community sport events, personally playing at least thirteen sports this year, and captaining several teams.

Eddie Trask of Wainuiomata (age 18) – for his dedication in running Wainuiomata High School’s Futsal and football programmes and acting as the facilitator, mentor and coach for several teams. Without his hard work these sports programmes could not ha­­­­ve taken place.