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Spoilt for choice: Pacific youth honoured by Prime Minister

10 August 2011

Spoilt for choice: Pacific youth honoured by Prime Minister

Awards to three inspirational young Pacific people, when only one winner was envisaged, shows the wealth of talent in this fast-growing segment of the population, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says.

The three were among six high-calibre young people who were today announced as winners of the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards 2011. They competed for four categories of award: Innovation, Leadership, Creativity and Inspiration.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Ministry chief executive, said the selection panel for the Inspiration Award originally intended one winner. “But the standard of applicants was high enough to convince Cogita Business Systems, whose founder Ulu Aiono sponsors this category, to award three young people.

“Being spoilt for choice has to be a good thing, not only for these young people but for our communities and indeed for all New Zealand,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

“All six winners, who range in age from 17 – 24, are already demonstrating the elements of good citizenship, connection to their communities, and future leadership.

“We can all be proud of Nadeen Papali’i, Mark Dewes, Cameron Hoare, Jessica Papali’i-Curtin, Joyce Toleafoa and Brandon Jackson. Each has made it through a rigorous selection process and convinced the judging panel of both their outstanding qualities and their ability to contribute to the sort of nation New Zealand aspires to be.”

The Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards are in four categories:
• The Air New Zealand Award for Innovation, won by Cameron Hoare
• The University of Auckland Award for Leadership, won by Nadeen Papali’i
• Weta Workshop Award for Creativity, won by Mark Dewes
• The COGITA Award for Inspiration, won by Jessica Papali’i-Curtin, Joyce Toleafoa and Brandon Jackson.
Dr Tukuitonga said the awards were established in 2010 to motivate, celebrate and inspire young Pacific people to reach their full potential.

“In a few years’ time our young Pacific people will be a large workforce, a significant consumer market and increasingly featuring in our social, economic , cultural and political lives. Their future is, increasingly, New Zealand’s future.”

“I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners, and extend that to the family and friends who have helped them get to this point. I would also like to thank our sponsors for recognising the value of this initiative, and offering such generous awards.

The winners receive an aviation engineering course worth up to $7400 from Air New Zealand (Innovation Award), up to $6,000 in tuition fees at Auckland University (Leadership Award), a year’s paid internship at Weta Workshops (Creativity Award), and an overseas trip/personal development worth up to $5000 (Inspiration Award).


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