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UC students vie for 2018 Young NZer of the Year award

UC students vie for 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year award

Two University of Canterbury (UC) students are among the final 10 nominees shortlisted for 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year award.

Logan Williams

Logan Williams was nominated for 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year for his contribution to the New Zealand community and dedication to develop innovative technologies.

An inventor, scientist, and entrepreneur, Logan has developed a method to turn pest algae Didymo into useful materials. He also invented polarised contact lenses for people who suffer from light sensitivity. Logan has recently been selected for the Kōkiri Maori Business Accelerator; the youngest entrepreneur chosen with the only South Island-based company in the startup accelerator programme.

He’s currently working on his business startup at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship’s Summer Startup Programme over the university summer break. He recently earned a BSc and BA Hons at UC, and is due to start his Master of Business Management degree at UC this year.

“My passion is to develop revolutionary technologies to improve people's lives from all walks of life,” Logan says.

Josiah Tualamali'i

An award-winning Pasifika youth leader and advocate, UC Political Science and History student Josiah Tualamali'i is also a top 10 finalist for the 2018 Young New Zealander of the Year award.

In 2010 at age 14, Josiah was the Prime Minister in the first Pacific Youth Parliament in Aotearoa. As a result, a group of youth MPs continued meeting, eventually forming a trust – the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Council (PYLAT) – which aims to empower young Pacific people to participate in all spheres. Josiah has been Chair of PYLAT since 2013, when he was 18.

Josiah won a Civic Award for Youth Advocacy from the Christchurch City Council in 2016 and was nationally recognised the same year, receiving the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Leadership Award. In May 2017, Josiah travelled to the World Health Organisation Assembly in Geneva as part of the New Zealand delegation. Josiah advocates for Pacific people on a number of boards including the Pacific strategy board at UC, and the board of National Pacific Health NGO Le Va. He is currently completing a BA, majoring in Political Science and History at UC.

“My passion is to empower Pacific young people and their fanau to be visible and influential in decision-making in Aotearoa,” Josiah says.

UC graduates STEM innovators

UC alumni feature in other 2018 award categories, with the New Zealand Innovator of the Year award shortlist including at least three. Global thinker and Ethique founder Brianne West is a bio-chemist who was studying a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Canterbury a few years ago when she got the idea for Ethique's cruelty-free, climate-friendly beauty-bar products.ARANZ co-founders Rick Fright and Bruce McCallum both graduated from UC as electrical engineers: Dr Fright obtaining a BE (Electrical) in 1980 and a PhD in 1984, while Dr McCallum gained a BE (Electrical, Hons 1) in 1983 from UC, followed by a PhD in 1990.

The annual New Zealander of the Year awards are in their ninth year. They celebrate people who use their passion for New Zealand to make the country a better place. The winners of the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards will be announced at a gala event in Auckland on 22 February.

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