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CYNZ Congratulates New Zealand's 2018 Queen's Young Leaders

Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director Brad Olsen today extended the organisation's congratulations to Ezekiel Raui and Alexia Hilbertidou on being named as 2018 Queen's Young Leaders award winners for New Zealand in the final round of awards. Ezekiel works to encourage men in New Zealand to take up leadership positions and to talk more openly about mental health issues. At school, he helped develop a leadership programme for Native American Polynesian and Maori students focused on four key areas: effective communication; management; self-belief; and core values. Alongside this, Ezekiel set up TuKotahi, a peer-support programme which offers information to young people about mental health services in their local area. It will be piloted in four schools in 2018. Ezekiel is also the chairperson for Te Kahui Ururoa, the national rangatahi (youth) council established by Te Rau Matatini, the National Centre for Māori Health, Māori Workforce Development and Excellence, in order to promote young Maori voices in local and national government decision-making across the country. Alexia is inspiring and enabling women in New Zealand to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), leadership and entrepreneurship. She is founder and CEO of GirlBoss NZ. Its mission is to tackle three factors limiting women’s career opportunities in traditionally male-dominated spheres: too few role models; misconceptions of difficulty; and a lack of other women to provide peer support. GirlBoss addresses these issues through conferences, workshops, monthly newsletters and a mentoring network. Since launching the organisation, Alexia has led three GirlBoss Leadership Conferences, attended by 450 high school students, and reached 20,000 New Zealanders through school visits, corporate events and government agencies. GirlBoss now has 8,000 members and 2,200 GirlBoss Ambassadors across New Zealand. "I’m thrilled that two young Kiwis are again being recognised for the incredible work they do in their communities. The impact of their influence on others is incredible, and I’m delighted that their commitment to their communities is recognised by the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty the Queen," said Mr Olsen, who is himself New Zealand’s 2016 Queen’s Young Leader. "As a previous recipient, I understand the enormous work that these two passionate young people undertake in service to the community, and wish them all the best as they embark on the Queen’s Young Leader journey. Their dedication to those around them in using their experiences and skills to build a better future deserves to be celebrated, and I look forward to meeting Ezekiel and Alexia soon to discuss their work and what the future holds.” “Their endeavours should serve as inspiration for other young people out in their communities and around the Commonwealth – it is not often that someone’s work is recognised with a medal granted personally by the Queen.” Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the United Kingdom during which they will be conferred with their award by Her Majesty the Queen. With this support, award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities. New Zealand has now had a host of incredible Queen’s Young Leaders represent the country. The 2015 recipient, Tabby Besley, founded InsideOUT, which aims to make schools more inclusive places for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. 2016 recipient Brad Olsen is an active in the youth development space, working with the Whangarei District Council Youth Advisory Group and helping set up a free youth health clinic, and currently chairing the Wellington City Youth Council. 2017 recipient Ashleigh Smith is the founder of Sticks n’ Stones, and current chairs the organisation’s board. She is passionate about ending bullying in schools and championing young people’s ability to speak up. ENDS

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