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Filmmaker 13 Year Old Driver Scoop AMP Awards


Tuesday 29 August 2000


Auckland filmmaker Reina Webster and Palmerston North racing driver Chris Pither have been awarded AMP Premium Scholarships worth $20,000 each over the next two years. The winners were announced today in front of an audience of 400 people at AMP’s National Adviser Conference in Wellington.

AMP General Manager John Drabble said Reina Webster and Chris Pither were selected to receive the Premium Scholarships from the 10 New Zealanders who were awarded AMP Scholarships in June this year.

“Reina and Chris stood out because they demonstrated passion, determination and attitude. As strong, inspiring individuals who are breaking new ground in their fields, they also embody a lot of the qualities and values that AMP stands for.”

Mr Drabble said it was a hard decision to choose just two people from the ten 2000 AMP Scholarship recipients.

“Each of this year’s scholarship winners are exceptionally talented and determined people. Given that the ten scholarship recipients were originally selected from almost 800 applications, it was a real challenge to then select the premium scholarship winners.”

Reina Webster started her first semester of study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts this week. Reina will be the first New Zealander to study the Film Production Masters programme at the prestigious school which lists Spike Lee, Martin Scorcese, Oliver Stone and Billy Crystal among its graduates.

Reina said she was “overwhelmed” to receive the AMP Premium Scholarship. She said the award will make “an enormous difference” to her living her dream of studying in New York.

Reina said the AMP Scholarship programme “is an amazing celebration of the good things New Zealanders are capable of” which she believes “helps our overall national self esteem”.

Chris Pither applied for an AMP scholarship to assist him to compete in this year’s National Formula Ford Championship. Long term, Chris aims to compete with the best drivers in the world and to contest a Formula One Championship. Early last year at the age of 12, Chris passed the Motorsport Association of New Zealand test to become the youngest race driver in the world at the time.

Chris said he was “surprised and excited” to be awarded an AMP Premium Scholarship. “The scholarship will make a big difference to me reaching my goal of competing in the Formula Ford Championship later this year,” he said. “The financial support will allow me to focus on preparing for the competitions and the award will help to raise my profile in the motorsport industry.”
Mr Drabble said the AMP Scholarship Programme aims to assist extraordinary New Zealanders to achieve their goals.

“Our business is all about helping our customers to reach their goals and to have the lifestyle they want. We’re proud to be associated with all of the scholarship holders and look forward to watching them progress towards achieving their goals.”

For more information contact:
AMP Sponsorship Manager Jon Slack
Ph 04-498-8433 Mobile 021-650-384
Or AMP Communications Consultant Catherine Sands
Ph 04-478-9229 Mobile 025-303-519


Reina Webster

Twenty eight year old Reina Webster recently completed a Masters degree in film theory at Auckland University. With a Bachelor of Arts in English and Film, Reina’s interest in film developed from her experience in radio and television where she has worked as a reporter and presenter.

Reina is travelling to New York to undertake a three year graduate programme in film. In addition to providing instruction and practical experience in various aspects of filmmaking, including directing, cinematography, editing, sound recording and mixing, the programme also aims to educate students in industry practices and the demands of a career in film.

Following her studies, Reina plans to return to New Zealand to make quality films and television programmes with a uniquely Maori/bicultural perspective for New Zealand and international audiences.

Chris Pither

Chris Pither’s interest in driving started when he was six years old and began racing karts. After just two years, Chris held the national title in the midget class.

Chris’ success continued as he moved up through the cadet class where he won the national title the year following his midget win. In 1997 Chris travelled to Melbourne to compete in the Victoria State Open where he was fourth and then went on to win the National Junior Restricted title in 1999.

Chris has just competed in the 1999-2000 National Formula First Championship where he finished fourth overall. During the season he achieved 17 podium finishes including two wins at Manfield and Taupo, and he broke and still holds the lap record at Manfield. At the end of the season, Chris was awarded the ‘Steele Trophy’ which is awarded to the driver under 21 years of age that has the personality and talent to progress to and succeed at the highest level of the sport.

A student at Palmerston North Boys High School, Chris is a sporting all rounder but particularly enjoys playing hockey. In addition to playing in school teams, Chris has played representative hockey for Manawatu for the past four seasons.


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