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Canterbury student wins 2017 New Zealand Youth Award

University of Canterbury (UC) student Wesley Mauafu is the recipient of a 2017 New Zealand Youth Award.

Wesley, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, will tonight receive a Youth Champion Award for individuals who have made a significant contribution to young people. Wesley has been recognised in particular for his work advocating for and supporting young Pasifika people in the area of wellbeing and suicide prevention.

Youth Minister Nikki Kaye announced the winners of the 2017 New Zealand Youth Awards today (Tuesday 11 April).

“These awards recognise young New Zealanders who’ve achieved outstanding results and given back to their communities, as well as those who’ve made a significant contribution towards supporting young people,” Ms Kaye says.

UC Pacific Development Team (PDT) Leader Riki Welsh says Wesley’s work in this area has been outstanding, and was most apparent when he chaired and led the first PULSE (Pasifika United to Lead Suicide Prevention Education) event.

“This was aimed at increasing suicide prevention information with young Pasifika people. Leading a group of adults and clinicians was no easy task, but Wesley delivered this to a very high standard.”

At UC, Wesley also works part time as a tutor for Pacific students, including through the PDT’s successful outreach programmes for high school students. He has tutored more than 30 students in Science and Maths, and also helped lead Christchurch’s first STEM fono (meeting) in 2016.

Wesley is also part of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation (PYLAT) Council, a Christchurch-based group that supports Pacific young people to engage in democracy. PYLAT is currently undertaking one of its biggest projects to date – a parliamentary simulation for Pasifika Young People. In the event, Pasifika young people will be trained and assisted to act as MPs and lobbyists. The University of Canterbury is helping support the event.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Parliament in Wellington tonight.

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