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Making The World A Better Place: Zuru Celebrates Girl Power With New Zealand’s GirlBoss Awards 2020

A group of trailblazing young women who are standing up to gendered stereotypes in all industries, and are making the world a better place with their innovative business ventures, have been honoured in New Zealand’s GirlBoss Awards for 2020.

This year international toy company ZURU were the title sponsor and also sponsored the top prize – the TrailBlazer Award.

The premier award was won by 17-year-old Gina Dao-McLay from Wellington, creator of a youth-led podcast who regularly speaks up for wider social change on behalf of others. As one of the co-directors of the “Make it 16” project, Gina has taken a stand and lead a nation-wide campaign to lower the voting age to 16, potentially giving thousands more young people a democratic voice.

Founded with one simple and meaningful objective, the GirlBoss Awards, which are now in their fifth year and honour young girls and women aged 11-18, work toward closing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, maths, entrepreneurship and leadership whilst recognising confident, resilient, future-ready, young women to lead and change the world.

With currently only three per cent funding going to female led start-ups and only three per cent of New Zealand’s NZX CEO’s being women, GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou believes that this generation of young women can change that.

“At GirlBoss, we believe the gender gap is an issue we must all come together to solve,” she said. “We will continue to build a future where our next generation of girls will have choices, purpose and power.”

Zuru Founder, Anna Mowbray says she was excited to be working with GirlBoss into the future. “Alexia is only 21, the same age as I was when I started at ZURU,” she said. “Together, we hope to encourage young Kiwis to dream big and realise that they are never too young to create change.

“It is important that we encourage our young people to keep striving and working hard, not only for themselves but for the great things they can do for their community, country and the world.”

This years’ judging panel included ZURU Co-Founder, Anna Mowbray; Method Managing Director, Sam Ramlu; Claims Manager of Delta Insurance, Petra Lucioli; Peggy Koustos of Ministry for Primary Industries; Chair of the Board of Directors of Orion, Jane Taylor; and Human Resources Manager at Serato, Jennifer Farani.

"What these winners lack in age they make up for in courage and heart,” said Ms Hilbertidou. “Every one of them has stood up on behalf of others to make our country a better place."


  • Trailblazer – Gina Dao-McLay, 17, Wellington
  • STEM – Rangipo Takuira-Mita, 17, Auckland
  • Emerging Leader – Richelle Wahanga, 14, Auckland
  • Innovation – Oriwa Hakaraia, 17, Wellington
  • Leadership - Aigagalefili Fepulea’I Tapua’I, 17, South Auckland
  • Arts and Culture – Verity Howells, 17, Rotarua
  • Community – Molly Hillman, 17, Auckland
  • Activator – Anamaya Taylor, 14, Tauranga

GirlBoss New Zealand was founded by Alexia Hilbertidou at 16 years old as a result of her own experiences as the only girl in her Digital Technology and Advanced Physics classes. She started GirlBoss because she knew something had to change. From that initial point of isolation, GirlBoss is now a network of 13,500 high school aged members nationwide and GirlBoss have implemented programmes in over 100 schools across New Zealand, Australia, and the Cook Islands.

Website: https://www.girlbossawards.com/

Check out Girl Boss NZ’s socials: https://www.instagram.com/nzgirlboss/

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