Excellence recognised at Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards 2018

posted: 12:30 pm - 29th March 2018
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(Picture caption: MPP CE Laulu Mac Leauanae with several of the Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Award winners.) 

Excellence and achievement in commerce, the arts, sports, community and leadership among Pacific youth has been celebrated at the prestigious 2018 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.  

First held in 2010, the Awards hosted by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) provide an opportunity for high-achieving Pacific youth aged between 17-24, in New Zealand to be recognised for their contribution to the country by the Rt Hon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Prime Minister Ardern, along with with Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon. Aupito William Sio, attended a ceremony at Fale o Samoa, in Mangere, on Wednesday night to present this year’s nine exceptional recipients with their awards. 

The awards were presented in eight categories – Leadership and Inspiration; Top Regional Pacific Scholar; Community Star; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Arts and Creativity; Commercial and Corporate; Business and Enterprise; and Sport and Fitness. 

Each respective award recognises the individual’s contribution to society, as well as excellence in their academic work, or demonstrating a skill in business. 

Minister Sio says it is his expectation the recipients and all those who have gone before, contribute to making NZ a far better and caring country for all New Zealanders.

 “The Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards recognises and celebrates Pacific youth success while also creating a network of young emerging Pacific leaders, showcasing Pacific talent to key stakeholders,” he says.  

“As one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in New Zealand, the Government is committed to ensuring the Pacific community thrives and to help individuals achieve their goals and aspirations.”  

The 2018 award winners have also been offered personalised leadership development opportunities through MPP’s partnership with Leadership New Zealand, he adds.   

“I want to grow the next crop of Pacific leaders who are not only achieving excellence in their respective fields, but who are also prepared to give back to their community and hold fast to their heritage of languages and culture.

“Being a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards not only makes their families and communities extremely proud and empowered, but it opens new doors for them, while offering new opportunities for their careers and lives.”

Wednesday’s event packed out Fale o Samoa with recipients’ families, category sponsors and community leaders and VIPs attending including  MPP Chief Executive Laulu Mac Leauanae, MP Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki along with representatives from the event sponsors, and the MPP team there to celebrate the nine individuals’ success.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award recipients. They are:

· Air New Zealand - Leadership and Inspiration Award (supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) - Asena Tolungamaka, 23, studying law is of Tongan descent, from Auckland.   

· Ako Aotearoa - STEM Award - Lupesina Koro, 18, studying a conjoint Engineering and Commerce degree of Samoan and Tokelauan descent, from Auckland.  

· Auckland Council - Community Star Award -Teri Tuuau, 22, studying law is of Samoan descent, from Auckland.  

· BNZ - Commercial and Corporate Award (supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples) - Hazel Umaga, 24, studying business is of Cook Island, Maori and Samoan descent, from Auckland.   

· Creative New Zealand and Massey University - Arts and Creativity Award - John Belford-Lelaulu, 24, an architect who owns the social design business MAU Studio is of Samoan descent, from Auckland.  

· Deloitte - Business and Entrepreneurship Award - Taylor McDonald, 21, completing a conjoint degree in business and design of Samoan and Maori descent, from Auckland;  

· New Zealand Institute of Sport - Sports and Fitness Award - Monique Lawrence, 19, fitness student of Samoan descent, from Auckland.  

· New Zealand Institute of Sport - Sports and Fitness Award - Elena Euese, 19, fitness student of Samoan descent, from Auckland.  

· Pacific Cooperation Foundation – International Scholar Award - Charlie Sofe, 21, engineering student studying in Christchurch is from Samoa.