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Bright young Kiwis celebrated

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Thursday, 13th October 2016


An extraordinary group of 25 young New Zealanders have been honoured for their courage and community contribution, as part of the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s 2016 Excellence Awards, held at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum on Wednesday night.

As New Zealand’s premier youth awards ceremony, the evening was also a celebration of more than 21,000 students, their mentors and leaders who have been involved in the Foundation’s various youth development programmes over the previous 12 months – including Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator, Project K and MYND.

Foundation co-founder and namesake, Graeme Dingle, says the Awards are an important opportunity to recognise a select number of young Kiwis who exemplify the values and principles that inform the Foundation’s work.

“Our goal, since we launched 21 years ago, has been to transform young lives forever with a vision that all young people are confident contributors to New Zealand life.”

“In taking on our programmes, these young people have had to overcome significant personal challenges – both physical and mental. For many, the contribution they’ve made to their local communities, via the various initiatives they’ve conceived and led, has been invaluable.”

“Their achievements absolutely deserve recognition, and we’re so proud of each and every one of our winners,” says Graeme.

For the 250 in attendance, the evening was also an opportunity to hear, first-hand, the experiences of a number of graduates who have taken part in the Foundation’s transformative journey, and the positive impact it has had on their lives.

Sir Edmund Hillary Youth Achievement Award winner, and preliminarily elected North Shore Local Board member, Richard Hills - who graduated from Project J in 2001 - said he was truly humbled to receive this award.

“It has been a privilege to work with so many young people over the years, investing in and empowering them is one of the most important things we can do. The work the Graeme Dingle Foundation does for young New Zealanders is a testament to this,” he adds.

This year also marked the first time the event was emceed by a graduate of one of the Foundation’s programmes - Project K alumna, Foa Samuelu.

“Before I did Project K, I lacked self-confidence and passion. Since going through the programme, Project K opened my eyes to new possibilities, and I realised that if I was prepared to take on leadership roles, I could benefit others as well as myself. I was elected to the Auckland Girls’ Grammar School Board of Trustees, I became a prefect at my school and I also now serve as an ambassador for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

“This success is a direct result of my participation in Project K, and is testament to the immense value that the programme delivers to young people just like me,” adds Foa.

The full list of 2016 Award Recipients is as follows:

- Sir Edmund Hillary Youth Achievement Award

For a Graeme Dingle Foundation alumni who has gone on to achieve excellence.

o Richard Hills – ex-Glenfield College (Auckland)

- Outstanding Kiwi Can School Award

For running an impeccable Kiwi Can programme and producing wonderful results, supported by Genesis Energy.

o Crawshaw School (Waikato) – Jill Littlewood, William Po’ese & Terry Faleva’ai

- Kiwi Can Outstanding Leader Team Awards

Presented to Kiwi Can leaders to recognise their wonderful contributions, making a difference to the lives of young people, supported by Hall’s.

o Dominique Papoutsou & Richard (Richie) Bradley – Barton Rural School, Highfield School, Oceanview Heights School, Timaru South School, Waimate Centennial School, Waimate Main School (South Canterbury)

o Mac Numia & Marina Tuia – Glen Taylor School (Auckland)

- Outstanding Contribution from a Stars Peer Mentor Awards

To acknowledge the great contribution of Stars Peer Mentors who are making a significant difference in the lives of juniors in their school, supported by Sanitarium.

o Auckland: Mezmure Dube – Kelston Girls’ College

o Waikato: Nicole Rusk – Forest View High School, Mitchell Crow – Fairfield College, & Teariki-Terae Tearoa-Natua – Tokoroa High School

- Career Navigator Outstanding Achievement Award

To acknowledge outstanding progress made by a graduate of the Career Navigator programme, supported by C4.

o Bhavna Singh – Manurewa High School (Auckland)

- Project K Student Excellence Awards

For graduates of Project K who have shown the most outstanding commitment to the programme, and made significant changes in their lives, supported by Perpetual Guardian.

o Auckland: Jessica Rowley – Northcote College, Alyce Kaumeafaiva – Auckland Girls Grammar School, Sharonika Prasad – James Cook High School & Ryan Dernie – Glenfield College

o Bay of Plenty: Samara Rose Read – Otumoetai College & Paris Te Oka – Mount Maunganui College

o Hawke’s Bay: Teina Pearcy – St John’s College

o Canterbury: Qy’ana Curry – Hornby High School

- MYND Youth Achievement Award

To acknowledge outstanding progress made by a graduate of the MYND programme, supported by NZ Steel.

o Gabriel Tuaiti – Advanced Training Centres, North Harbour (Auckland)

- Outstanding Volunteer Award

Presented to a volunteer in the wider Graeme Dingle Foundation community who demonstrated their commitment and dedication to the Foundation’s mission and values, through their work to support the Foundation’s programmes, supported by STRIDE.

o Tommy Foggo (Southland) & Shari Carter (Canterbury)

About the Graeme Dingle Foundation

• The Graeme Dingle Foundation is the new name for the Foundation for Youth Development (FYD). The highly successful child and youth charity was renamed in recognition of Kiwi adventurer and personality Graeme Dingle who founded the not-for-profit organisation with his partner Jo-anne Wilkinson in 1995.

• Twenty-one years ago, Graeme Dingle and Jo-anne Wilkinson had a vision to improve New Zealand's negative youth statistics. They have helped nearly 200,000** young Kiwis be more confident, find purpose and direction, and achieve success.

• The Graeme Dingle Foundation continues to run school-based programmes for thousands of Kiwis ages between 5 and 18 – Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator and Project K, along with MYND (an Auckland based programme for youth offenders.) These initiatives aim to broaden horizons, offer opportunities and give young people the chance to become the next generation of successful parents, leaders and business people.

• For more information visit

* Infometrics Report – Growing Great Futures – Whakatipu Tamariki Ora found that every dollar invested in Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes results in an average long term benefit to New Zealand of an estimated $7.15.
**Based on the total of annual participant numbers since inception


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