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New Zealand’s Incredible Young Talent Is Celebrated, With $30k In Prizes!

From accessible prefab homes, to tech tracking of emissions, to pre-loved sneakers for kids in need - 37 innovative young New Zealanders are today being celebrated for their incredible contribution to Aotearoa and the world.

The young Kiwis are finalists for The Impact Awards 2022, with winners announced on Saturday, July 30, during Festival for the Future – NZ’s biggest innovation and leadership summit. The winners, in six categories – climate, enterprise, global, local, inclusion and wellbeing – will share $30,000 in prizes.

The Impact Awards and Festival for the Future are powered by the Kiwi charity Inspiring Stories, which

believes in the power of young people to create change. It also backs them to build their entrepreneurship and leadership capability, and take action. More than 12,000 people have participated in the charity’s programmes including the year-round Future Leaders programme.

Inspiring Stories CEO & founder Guy Ryan, a Young New Zealander of the Year and Edmund Hillary Fellow, says the contribution these young people are making is extraordinary: "The global pandemic has created struggles for so many. These young people are stepping up to create real solutions to the challenges we face. As a nation, there is so much more we can be doing to celebrate and support their leadership. Thanks to our supporters, we can back them with awards and prizes to achieve more."

The Impact Awards 2022 finalists are:


Rilke Comer founder, Students for Climate Solutions Inc, for student initiatives on climate change.

Nelson Harper CEO Precycle NZ & Coordinator, Palmys Plastic Pollution Challenge, reducing waste.

Shuari Naidoo founder Moraka Menstrual Cups, a sustainable alternative to disposable products.

Andrea Reid founder, Pollinator Paths, creating ecosystems & communities for pollinators to thrive.

Pok Wei Heng organiser, Uplink Global Climate Justice Challenge, World Economic Forum.


Dayna Taramai chief operations officer, M3 Mindfulness, an indigenous resilience programme.

Serena Lal founding member, IndigiShare, a Māori social enterprise for economic resilience.

Claudia Grave & Todd Foster co-founders, Hitch, creating software to reduce carbon emissions.

Sophie Brooker co-founder, Nonstop Solutions, facilitating the transition to a circular economy.

Matenga Ashby CEO Prehome, increasing healthy homes in the Far North & simplifying building.


Lucy Tothill refugee and human rights lawyer, assisting asylum seekers settle in Aotearoa.

Bridget Williams founder, Bead & Proceed, to action the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Lucy Blakiston founder, Shit You Should Care About, helping us all make sense of the world.

Courtney Davies sustainable agriculture lead, MyFarmbase Africa Global Development Programme.

Ruby Sands board member, GirlGuiding New Zealand, amplifying female voices.


Sam Ward, organiser, Manukura GPS, creating opportunities for young men to learn about leadership.

Chantelle Cobby founder, The Microvolunteering Collective, empowering with bite-sized volunteering.

Kophie Su'a-Hulsbosch co-owner, The Conscious Club, focusing on social issues through art.

Matenga Ashby, CEO Prehome, increasing healthy homes in the Far North & simplifying building.

Cherokee Walters for supporting rangatahi through an innovative AbacusBio intern programme.

Tanemahuta & Teakaraupo Pakeha-Heke Twin Harmony, breaking cycles of violence in whānau.

Aleisha Amohia president, National Council of Women NZ, Wellington, bringing a unique perspective.

Christian Prescott founder, Sneaker Clean NZ, putting pre-loved sneakers on the feet of kids in need.

Justice-Te Amorangi Hetaraka co-founder HĀ – History of Aotearoa, improving education resources.

Sam Waugh manager, Donalds Farm, connecting people with farming, showcasing production of food.


Eteroa Lafaele co-founder, DigiTautua, refurbishing devices & fundraising to bridge digital divide.

Reihana Dougherty advocating for rangatahi to be involved at the decision-making table.

Mariner Fagaiava-Muller journalist, creating greater representation within NZ newsrooms.

Hope Cotton campaigning for captioning standards for deaf and hard-of-hearing New Zealanders.

Cherokee Walters for supporting rangatahi through an innovative AbacusBio intern program.


Ihorangi Reweti-Peters improving access to mental health support for tamariki and rangatahi. Genevieve Mora co-founder & GM, Voices for Hope, influencing change for mental health.

Josh McCormack co-founder, CRAVE, advocating for greater acceptance of the LGBTQI+ community.

Ali Muhammad organiser, SportFest 2021, empowering youth refugee communities through sport.

George Glover president, Lads Without Labels, working to destigmatize men’s mental health.

For interviews contact: Irene Chapple,, 027 403 1533

Media attendance at The Impact Awards ceremony

The Impact Awards ceremony is being held on Saturday, July 30 at Shed 6 in Wellington. It is being held as part of Festival for the Future. The ceremony hosts an impressive and diverse audience – from CEOs, philanthropists, Mayors and senior government officials, to young people leading change in grassroots communities. 300+ people attend the ceremony and we run an innovative 50-50 table model that sees CEOs and senior leaders seated alongside our finalists and future leaders.

Media attendance at Festival for the Future

Please advise if you wish to attend the full Festival or on certain days. A media room and breakout interview areas will be available on site. Images and video from the event will be made available.

The Festival is at TSB Arena, Shed 6 & virtually from July 29 - 31. Tickets available here.

About Inspiring Stories

Inspiring Stories is the Kiwi charity behind Aotearoa’s leading innovation summit, Festival for the Future, The Impact Awards, and the year-round Future Leaders programme. At Inspiring Stories, we believe in the power of young people to create change. We back them to build their entrepreneurship and leadership capability, and take action. But we also need you – to invest in our young people, and make a difference for our future.

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