Waikato District Council announces the winners of its youth awards

27 May 2016

The winners of the Waikato District Youth Awards have been announced. This is the first year Waikato District Council has held the awards and it is exciting to see the number of young people nominated. In all, a total of 94 young people were nominated either individually or within a group.

To be eligible for the Waikato District Youth Awards, nominees had to be aged between 12 and 24. They could be either living in, have lived in, or contributed to the Waikato district in the past 12 months. The awards were made possible courtesy of funding the Council has received from the Ministry of Youth Development.

Trophies for the winners and certificates for them and category runners’ up were presented by the Mayor of Waikato District, Allan Sanson, and Councillors Janet Gibb, Shelley Lynch, Jan Sedgwick, Wally Hayes and Jacqui Church at a ceremony held at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on Friday, 27 May.

“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Mayor Sanson at the event. “They are also often the eyes and ears of our community and have a lot to contribute to its development. That’s why it’s crucial that our Council continues to support, involve and recognise our district’s young people and their role in shaping our community’s future.”

Winners

(Note - a full list of winners and runners up and more info on each is provided at the bottom of this release).

  • Sass/Swag – Tia Maipi. Tia has made a name for himself in the dancing community. He’s part of Paris Goebel’s award-winning dance group, ‘The Palace Royal Family’.
  • Like a Boss - Sharnay Cocup.  Sharnay formed the first youth group in the Taupiri community just over two years ago. Her efforts have included organising a community planting day and she’s also encouraged youth involved in reconstructing Taupiri Mountain’s public bush walkway.
  • Champion of the Earth (Environment, natural, cultural, social, urban) – Taupiri Youth Group.  This is a group of 20 youth who are carrying out the reconstruction of the public bush walkway known as Taupiri Mountain.
  • Helping Hand - Lashon Semau. Lashon is involved in the Tuakau Youth Centre as a volunteer. He volunteers at the Tuakau Primary School every Tuesday and Thursday,
  • Kia Kaha – Shane Edwards. Shane is a volunteer in the Port Waikato Community. He has trained a number of locals to become skilled as rescue boat crews.

“These awards are just one of the initiatives the Waikato District Council has put in place as part of its Youth Engagement Plan objectives,” Waikato District Council General Manager Strategy and Support, Tony Whittaker, says. The plan was developed in response to the 2013 launch of the Waikato Social Sector Trial (WSST) which aims to improve outcomes for local youth.

“Our Youth Engagement Plan details a number of ways in which we can give a voice in local decision-making to our youth in Huntly, Ngaruawahia, Raglan, Te Kauwhata and Tuakau,” Mr Whittaker says. “We and our Engagement Advisor are committed to growing the plan’s objectives so we can all work together to help build a group of future leaders.”

CATEGORY WINNERS AND RUNNERS UP: 

Sass/Swag:

Young people who have made an outstanding contribution to their community in arts, culture, music, dance or performance.

Name

Position

Town

Details

Tia Maipi

Winner

Huntly

Tia has made a name for himself in the dancing community. He was successful in his bid to become part of The Palace Royal Family with Paris Goebel, winning back to back gold medals in LAS Vegas in 2012-2014.

Wednesday Gilbert

 

Second

Ngaruawahia

Wednesday published her first book at the young age of 21. She has spoken on behalf of youth at the Ngaruawahia Community Board and hopes to inspire other young people in the community.

Daniel Calder

Third

Huntly

Daniel volunteers his time to Huntly West School. He helped with the end-of-year concert. He supports young people with vocal work and coping mechanisms for appearing on stage.

Finalists – Wednesday Gilbert (Ngaruawahia) and brother and sister duo ‘Situations Vacant’ (Kaleshaa and Casey Messant) (Huntly).

               

Like a Boss:

Young people who have demonstrated great leadership in projects that have improved their community.

Name

Position

Town

Details

Sharnay Cocup

 

Winner

Taupiri

Sharnay formed the first youth group in the Taupiri community just over two years ago. She also organised the community planting day that involved 60 youth and their families planting 250 native trees. Another big achievement was her involvement in encouraging youth to reconstruct the Taupiri Mountain Bush Walk trail.

Harty Sistaz: (group)

Second

Huntly

Harty Sistaz is set up to support young females aged from 12-18 in the Huntly Community. The objective is to help young females make positive decisions that create pathways to improve other aspects of their physical, social and emotional wellbeing.

Elliot Baptist

 

Third

Whatawhata

Elliot is currently studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Waikato. He has been nominated for his contribution to the Bush Tramway Club. Elliot volunteers his time in keeping the trains running, being Chairman and Newsletter Editor.

Finalists - Mikayla Dickinson (Huntly) and Phoebe Comins (Huntly).

               

Champion of the Earth (Environment, natural, cultural, social, urban):

Young people who have contributed to environmental projects in their community to improve protection, restoration, conservation and/or sustainability.

Name

Position

Town

Details

Taupiri Youth Group

 

Winner

Taupiri

More than 20 youth from the Taupiri Youth Group have been reconstructing the public bush walkway known as Taupiri Mountain. They have built stairs, hand rails and planted many native trees. This group also started the initiative for the memorial garden dedicated to the late Bob Sommerville.

Ellis Pike

Second

Te Kauwhata

Ellis has helped NIWA to build fish passes to encourage native whitebait and other species into a stream at Parana Park in Hamilton. He also led a group of volunteers to turn a dairy farm into a native reserve.

Khan Clement-Watkins

 

Third

Taupiri

Khan is heavily involved in the Taupiri Mountain project, volunteering his time to help plant natives. He also helped out with the memorial garden dedicated to the late Bob Somerville and finally teaching and encouraging others when it comes to the Taupiri Mountain.

 

Helping Hand:

Young people who volunteer in order to improve their community.

Name

Position

Town

Details

Lashon Semau

 

Winner

Tuakau

Lashon is involved in the Tuakau Youth Centre as a volunteer. He volunteers at the Tuakau Primary School every Tuesday and Thursday, helping setting up the breakfast with the kids and is part of the college bands in the community.

Whetukura Huirama

 

Second

Ngaruawahia

Whetu provides St John support as a first aider at key events in the community including the Regatta, holiday programme and regular sports events at Hopuhopu.

Antonia van den Bemd

 

Third

Ngaruawahia

Antonia participates and leads in the St John Youth groups in both the Ngaruawahia and Huntly divisions. Antonia was also successful in becoming the North Waikato Cadet of the Year.

Finalist - Ruby Maskell (Ngaruawahia)

 

Kia Kaha:

Young people who have contributed in meaningful ways to their community not otherwise recognised in the other categories.

Name

Position

Town

Details

Shane Rex Edwards

Winner

Port Waikato

Shane is a volunteer in the Port Waikato Community. He has trained a number of locals to become skilled as rescue boat crews. Shane has also been recognised for his efforts by the Northern Region and Surf Lifesaving association.

Ashlee Dunsmuir

 

Second

Huntly

Ashlee has been nominated for her involvement and organisation of the Huntly Aquatic Centre Kids Triathlon, her role as committee member of the Huntly Thistle member and her academic achievements.

Georgia Raynel

 

Third

Ngaruawahia

Georgia is another strong member in St John Youth. She uses her first aid qualifications to support local events like the Huntly Christmas Parade. Georgia also volunteers her time at the Karakariki Christian Camp leading team Building and character building activities.

Finalists – Mercer Under 15 Rowing Team (Mercer), Samuel Haehae (Ngaruawahia), Robert Graham (Onewhero)

 

For more information please contact

Sheryl Flay
Senior Communications Advisor
Waikato District Council
07 824 8633
communications@waidc.govt.nz