News, Success Story

Pacific excellence recognised at Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards

29 March 2018

Pacific learner success, STEM, Supporting learners

Excellence and achievement in commerce, the arts, sports, community and leadership among Pacific youth is being celebrated tonight at the prestigious 2018 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio says the awards provide an opportunity for high achieving Pacific youth in New Zealand to be recognised for their important contribution to the country by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

The nine exceptional individuals aged between 17 and 24 will be presented awards by the Prime Minister at a ceremony held at the Fale o Samoa, in Mangere, hosted by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

“It’s my expectation that these recipients and all those who have gone before contribute to making New Zealand a far better and caring country for all New Zealanders,” Aupito William Sio says. “Each of their respective awards recognises their contribution to society, as well as excellence in their academic work, or demonstrating a skill in business".

The Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards recognises and celebrates Pacific youth success while also creating a network of young emerging Pacific leaders, showcasing Pacific talent to key stakeholders. 

As one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in New Zealand, the Government is committed to ensuring the Pacific community thrives and to help individuals achieve their goals and aspirations.

The 2018 award winners have also been offered personalised leadership development opportunities through the Ministry’s partnership with Leadership New Zealand.

“I want to grow the next crop of Pacific leaders who are not only achieving excellence in their respective fields, but who are also prepared to give back to their community and hold fast to their heritage of languages and culture. Being a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards not only makes their families and communities extremely proud and empowered, but it opens new doors for them, while offering new opportunities for their careers and lives".

“Congratulations to all the winners tonight and to your families for providing support. We are all incredibly proud of what you have achieved,” Aupito William Sio says.

The 2018 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award winners are: 

 Air New Zealand - Leadership and Inspiration Award (supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) - Asena Tolungamaka, 23, studying law is of Tongan descent, from Auckland. 
 Ako Aotearoa - STEM Award - Lupesina Koro, 18, studying a conjoint Engineering and Commerce degree of Samoan and Tokelauan descent, from Auckland. 
 Auckland Council - Community Star Award -Teri Tuuau, 22, studying law is of Samoan descent, from Auckland. 
 BNZ - Commercial and Corporate Award (supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples) - Hazel Umaga, 24, studying business is of Cook Island, Maori and Samoan descent, from Auckland. 
 Creative New Zealand and Massey University - Arts and Creativity Award - John Belford-Lelaulu, 24, an architect who owns the social design business MAU Studio is of Samoan descent, from Auckland. 
 Deloitte - Business and Entrepreneurship Award - Taylor McDonald, 21, completing a conjoint degree in business and design of Samoan and Maori descent, from Auckland; 
 New Zealand Institute of Sport - Sports and Fitness Award - Monique Lawrence, 19, fitness student of Samoan descent, from Auckland. 
 New Zealand Institute of Sport - Sports and Fitness Award - Elena Euese, 19, fitness student of Samoan descent, from Auckland. 
 Pacific Cooperation Foundation – International Scholar Award - Charlie Sofe, 21, engineering student studying in Christchurch is from Samoa. 

Further Information about the awards can be found on the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website.