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Christchurch Gold Ceremony

Tungia te ururoa kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke

Set fire to the overgrown bush and the new flax shoots will spring up/clear away what is bad and the good will flourish

Spring has sprung with fresh flowers blooming, and we are excited to celebrate our blossoming Award participants who will be achieving their Gold Awards in Christchurch on Saturday 15th of October. Gold Award ceremonies are occasions of immense pride and joy as we gather to mark and to celebrate the achievements of young people who have undertaken such a momentous effort to develop themselves and to take the first step into their futures. We value these inspiring rangatahi, and the Gold Ceremony is an opportunity to hear about their Award journeys and celebrate their achievements. Achieving your Award – and particularly your Gold Award - is not an easy task. It requires commitment, tests your resilience, and challenges you to step outside your comfort zone. The Award also offers opportunities for young people, enabling them to be their own agents of change, both for themselves and their communities.

The Award offers a programme that empowers our young people to have lasting, life-changing outcomes for themselves and the communities we share together. Those who achieve the pinnacle of the Award – the Gold Award- have demonstrated perseverance, determination, resilience, compassion, and leadership. Taking part strengthens character and provides a unique perspective and insight for those involved.

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Participants in the Award in the last year have committed over 55,000 volunteer hours, assisting with environmental projects, serving those more vulnerable, connecting intergenerationally, raising money for not for profits, leading from the front through youth advocacy roles and more. The participants we celebrate in Christchurch’s event have trained and competed in rowing, tennis, bowling, cycling... They have followed their passions and developed their skill sets. These rangatahi have ventured far and wide and explored our beautiful landscapes. They have seen unforgettable views and made lifelong friends. Along their journey they have gained confidence, self-esteem, motivation, and teamwork skills – preparing them for the world and their futures.

We are sincerely proud to commemorate their mahi. The 65 Gold Awardees celebrated at our upcoming Christchurch ceremony on October 15th have shown tenacity and perseverance to achieve their Award. Gold Awardees have succeeded in not only taking the reins of their own lives but in becoming valuable citizens of the world.

Each of our Award recipients is outstanding, we highlight a few below.

Alijah Prakesh, one of our Gold Awardees at this October’s ceremony, is an inspiring athlete. Over the last 14 months Alijah has been a part of the Special Olympics' New Zealand (SONZ), sporting competition. This ranged from 1-day events to the culminating 3-day event on the West Coast. Each competition creates anxiety, stress and the challenge of meeting and competing against different people at each meet. However, she has risen to the challenge, and the resilience and strength she has demonstrated are key markers of how she has progressed on her journey of self-discovery.

Another member of the Gold Award graduating class of 2022 will be Takuma Peters, the Award Leader, and a teacher at Waitaha School. Award Leaders are the backbone of the Award here in New Zealand. Without them young people would not have the opportunity to take part in the Award. Award Leader Takuma Peters has been integral to the success of his participants. Though it may have taken ten years, Tak is an amazing example of perseverance, and the way others can inspire. Beginning his Award journey at secondary school, he had never completed his Gold, but in taking up the mantle of Award Leader at Waitaha School, Tak was inspired by the very rangatahi he was inspiring himself, to complete his own Award. And just in time to be collecting his Gold Award alongside some of his students this October at our Christchurch ceremony. His leadership skills have shone in his Award journey and beyond. “The Award has inspired me to always help others. That is why I am now an Award Leader inspiring the next group of rangatahi to gain their Awards.”

James and Breanna Sampson from Canterbury would bowl you over with their collective achievements. Both Gold Awardees, they have completed hours of Physical Recreation, Skills training, Volunteer Service and Adventurous Journeys. Not only has their commitment and passion to developing themselves shone through in their dedication to the Award journey, but they are Youth Champions in bowling in NZ, and regularly dominate the competition with their singles and pairs performances. As they progressed through the sections, and the levels, both gained so much. To keep pushing through the Bronze, Silver then Gold Awards takes extraordinary determination and tenacity. Breanna reports “Each level there was more to do, more challenges to overcome, more activities to try, more skills to learns and more challenges to overcome. I wanted the programme in my life to motivate me to do those things in my own life, so I could take those lessons and experiences on in my future.” Having completed Gold, both feel honoured to have finished the Award journey, proud of themselves for achieving what they had hoped for and wanted, and happy for how far they’ve come.

Achieving Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Gold is a massive milestone, and those who stayed the course have become role models. William Galway is one of our Gold Awardees, and his success, his enthusiasm for life itself and all its possibilities is a life-changing achievement. Receiving his Gold Award at our Christchurch ceremony later this year, Search the Way participant Will has made outstanding efforts in achieving his Awards. William has had great support throughout his Award journey from his whanau and Search the Way. His adventures have given him the confidence to discover who he is- a musician, a fit athlete, a willing volunteer. Most of all the Award ignited his love for the outdoors, which have led to his future enrolling to study Outdoor education. Recognised across all sections of the Award journey for his commitment and perseverance, he is well-respected and considered a vital part of his community. Many young people look to him as a role model and are now participating in the Award too.

Will, Tak, Breanna, and James, like all our Gold Awardees, have everything they need to make a real go of their future. Our Gold awardees have demonstrated their strong commitment to taking care of the things, places, and people around them.

Many talk to the way the Award has changed them; “The Award challenged me and shaped me into the person I am today.” And how “completing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has set me on a path for a rewarding future.”

Every year, more than a million young people participate in the Award worldwide, supported by around 200,000 volunteers. In Aotearoa, there are over 8,000 registrations every year, with 20,000 young people engaged at any one time. The Award is open to all 14–24-year olds, regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills, and interests and is the world’s leading youth achievement award. The Award centres on facilitating and encouraging young people to take on life-enhancing and community-enhancing challenges which deepen and stretch them, rounding them into admirable, dependable, and active citizens.

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” – Dan Gable

Participant Comments:

James Sampson, Joshua Foundation

The Award impacted me in a positive way by encouraging me to meet new people and learn new skills. Completing my Voluntary Service gave me new respect for children that come from difficult backgrounds and face day-to-day obstacles and challenges. It made me be grateful for the upbringing I had and how lucky I am to have a loving and supporting family. I really enjoyed the tramping because I love doing physical activity and being outside. The tramps helped me learn some skills such as reading a map and how to use a gas cooker. They also helped with having positive self-talk and in a group, everyone motivating each other to continue and push on.

Kaitlyn Lamb, Escape Adventurous John Paul College

The Award introduced me to the world of volunteering! Four years later I am still volunteering and even leading my own environmental volunteering club! The Adventurous Journeys were amazing, giving my confidence a boost and reconnecting me to Papatuānuku and finding my passion in protecting nature, especially through growing food locally!

Maddison Frazer, Mount Aspiring College

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been a journey in which I have stepped outside my comfort zone, challenged myself and been pushed to my limits. It has also been a journey which has led me on great adventures, opened my mind and changed my views. I discovered new things about myself, and it gave me lifelong friendships. The places I have been and the people I have met whilst participating in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award have led to new opportunities and new experiences which reach far beyond the initial scope of the Award - proving it is about dreaming big to discover your potential.

Gold Award Recipients

Saturday 10am Ceremony, Christchurch

We are excited to celebrate students from the following schools:

Aquinas College

Auckland Challenge Home School Group

Cashmere High School

Christchurch Girls' High School

Christ's College

Escape Adventurous John Paul College

Feilding High School

Glendowie College

Havelock North High School

Hillcrest High School

Joshua Foundation

Joshua Youth

Mount Aspiring College

Otamatea High School

Otumoetai College

Outdoor Training New Zealand - BOP

Papanui High School

Queen Margaret College

Rolleston College

Search The Way

St Andrew's College

St John's Youth

St Margaret's College

Taradale High School

Verdon College

Villa Maria College

Virtual Award Centre

© Scoop Media

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