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Maori students get top honours at inaugural awards

Maori students receive top honours at inaugural awards

Three Maori school students have been named supreme award winners at the inaugural Rakatahi Awards dinner held on Thursday 8 November at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT).

Ramon Mcfarlane, Year 7-9 Woolston Primary School, Joshua Boyd, Year 9-10 Kaikoura High School and James Tawa, Year 11-13 Aranui High School were named the supreme winners of their age categories.

Ramon received $500 gift vouchers to spend at warehouse stationary, while Joshua and James each received Compaq laptop computers and Epson combination scanner printers. Awards coordinator Hemi Hoskins says the prizes are intended to help the students with their future studies, while the Awards provide the confidence boost needed.

“Though this is the first year the Awards have been run feedback from the schools involved suggests that it’s having positive effects on students’ self-esteem”, says Hemi. “The boost to Maori students’ confidence along with the great prizes should be an incentive for students to stay at school longer, set higher goals and achieve for themselves and their community.”

The Awards, which are a Canterbury initiative to encourage Maori students to aim for excellence, recognise effort and achievement in five categories: leadership, commitment to Te Reo Maori, academic excellence, commitment to Tikanga and excellence in sporting or cultural performance across three age groups: years 7-8, 9-10 and 11-13.

The initiative for the awards came from Te Puna Wanaka the Maori Faculty at CPIT and Faculty Dean Hana O’Regan. Funding support from the CPIT Foundation has made the awards possible, says Awards coordinator Hemi Hoskins.

“The awards are in response to recognition of low attainment and success rates within the Maori community”, says Hemi. “We wanted to celebrate positive things achieved within the Maori community by encouraging secondary school students to excel. The Awards provide the incentive and recognition that’s been missing in the past.”

The Awards were launched late last year attracting 21 schools from Kaikoura to Ashburton to participate by nominating students for awards in each of four rounds held during the year. In each round the category winners received certificates, and an age group winner (poutama) was chosen who received a trophy. Based upon the success of this year’s event, planning is already underway for next year’s awards.

ENDS

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