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Whangarei Youth Awards 2017

This page contains information about the six award categories and the winners for each, for 2017.
Updated: 20/07/2017 9:57 a.m.

​The contributions made by young leaders from across the District were celebrated at a glittering event at Toll Stadium this month.

The third biennial Whangarei Youth Awards were presented in front of friends, family, community and supporters, to seven young people who have given their time, skills and energy for the betterment of this District.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai paid tribute to all Award winners for being such tremendous assets to Whangarei, and for the excellent examples of community spirit and altruism they set for their peers.

“I also pay tribute to those who have encouraged and supported them over the years and helped them achieve their desire to contribute so selflessly to their community.

“These awards recognise the positive work that will carry Whangarei forward to being a wonderful place to live, work, learn and play, and acknowledge our young people as our greatest asset.

“As our District grows and flourishes it is essential that we include our youth in that process. They will be our future leaders and ‘doers’.


There are six award categories: Leadership – Rangatiratanga; Empowerment – Whakamana; Volunteer - Kai Tüao; Team Player – Kaiawhina; Group Award - Mahi Röpu; Change-maker - Kaihanga Rerekë; and Outstanding Youth - Tino Nui.


Whangarei Youth Award nominees are young people who have made a significant contribution to the community through activities outside of their regular study or work commitments.

They all reside in the Whangarei District, or are studying, training or employed here.

The work they are being nominated for must have taken place in the last 12 months and align with the sentiment, “Whangarei: Love It Here”.


The nominations are assessed by a panel of judges who have diverse professional and personal backgrounds, who share a collective wealth of experience in, and a common passion for, youth development.

Outstanding Youth - Tino Nui

Deanne Carpenter 21 years 

Deanne is a Whangaruru local whose genuine passion and commitment to seeing other young people succeed shines through in everything she does.

Motivated by an underlying desire to inspire other young Maori and encourage them to achieve their dreams, she role models the importance of healthy living and hard work.

Deanne has won the National boxing title for her weight division for the past six years. She has represented NZ on many occasions, competing around the world, and enjoying many successes. She shares her own personal sporting journey as a guest speaker at local schools inspiring others and showing them that dedication gets results.

Deanne is community minded in everything she does. She works as a tutor with People Potential, mentoring young people, and has a special ability to engage with at-risk youth. She spends most nights at her local boxing gym, mentoring and training younger fighters. Deanne is dedicated to her role as a church youth leader and often spends her weekends supporting youth. She has also been involved in suicide prevention and quit smoking campaigns.

Energetic, positive and humble, Deanne is an outstanding young leader in our community.

Leadership - Rangatiratanga

Petera Tangihue 17 years 

Petera’s journey at Tikipunga High School, started at the bottom. But after making the choice to turn his life around, with hard work, determination and commitment he rose to the top. He now serves his school as Deputy Head Boy, as a Sergeant in the school's Services Academy, and a core leader, soloist and performer for the school's kapa kaka group. Petera is a great public speaker and helps raise awareness about challenging issues affecting youth in his school. His charisma and leadership skills encourage and inspire his peers to aim high, regardless of their background. As Deputy Head Boy, he is someone others can turn to and rely on without judgement.  Petera is willing to step out of his comfort zone and is prepared to take on tasks, overcoming obstacles to pave ways for his peers to give something new a try. He is a young leader who challenges the negative reputation of Otangarei, where he lives, and sets an excellent example for fellow students and for the children in his community.

Team Player - Kaiawhina

Joie King 17 years

Joie is a member of Rangatahi Are Warriors (RAW) Group and of Tikipunga High School’s peer support group. She was a key organiser of several events providing a platform for student voices at Tikipunga High School and Totara Grove School as a celebration of Youth Week 2017. The team provided opportunities for their peers to be heard through a petition and a noticeboard display of opinions and other activities, a barbecue lunch, a lip sync battle between students and teachers at Tikipunga High school and an activity at Totara Grove School. Joie attended every planning meeting and throughout the organisation and presentation of events worked quietly in the background and made sure the team was cohesive, motivated and got the work done. Her team spirit took the stress off the other members and helped maintain momentum. Joie is empathetic and cares about her fellow students and her school community. Whatever projects she is involved in, she puts others first and does all she can to make them a resounding success while allowing others to feel empowered in their contribution.

Volunteer - Kai Tūao

Natalie Stolz 16 years

For some years, Natalie has been a very active volunteer in the Christian Renewal Church and the Pacifica community.  Every week she volunteers for a community meal project run by the CRC Outreach group, helping set-up and pack down a catering venue and serving those who come on the night. The impact of her work has been substantial, helping to bring members of the local community together and support some of its very vulnerable members.
Natalie is passionately involved with the youth of her church, helping run events and looking after several age-based youth groups, from pre-school age through to high school. This involves organising weekly meetings as well as various activities. She has a special talent for getting youth participating and working with each other thus creating a strong team spirit. Natalie also serves on the Church youth leadership team and volunteers for the Pacifica group organising Fiafia evenings where she demonstrates her supportive skills within the group.

Natalie volunteers wherever she can in her local community without needing to be asked. Helping others is something that she lives and breathes and will continue to be a major passion in her life going forward.

Empowerment - Whakamana

Agnes Pene 22 years

Agnes is an active contributor to her iwi (Ngätiwai), to her people from Whangaruru and to her wider community. She is a participant in Rau Ora - Ngätiwai ki Whangaruru - a Youth Suicide prevention programme based at Whangaruru marae focusing on realising youth potential through sports.

 As a participant, Agnes gained an accredited certificate in Touch Rugby refereeing, after which she worked hard to motivate others to also achieve this.  With the frustration of poor internet access this was no easy task. She particularly encouraged her younger peers by getting them to town to finish the online test, and through her empowerment Rau Ora now has 28 graduates with a certificate in refereeing. This not only allows them to realise their potential through sports, it has also brought several talented youths together to focus on growth rather than suicide.  They plan to referee at the annual fundraising touch tournament for the re-build of Mokau Marae. The impact of Agnes’s commitment will continue to serve the people of Te Uri o Hikihiki and Ngätiwai in many years to come. She continues to keep in touch with all participants of this kaupapa and is organising another fundraising initiative. She is passionate about empowering her community to address the high suicide statistics in the Whangaruru area, seeing people as the wealth of her community.

Group Award - Mahi Ropu

Kokiritia te ora: Maori youth suicide prevention roopu 12-24 years

This group was established to address the high levels of Maori youth suicide in Northland and has engaged in two significant projects. The first involves 40 youth and youth leaders. Over the last two years the group has held weekend wänanga on Ngätiwai and other marae in Northland, participated in the World Indigenous Conference on Suicide Prevention as well as the inaugural Earth Citizen Peace Festival and in other local events. In the second project, the taitamariki have acted as community researchers. Following their presentation at the World Indigenous Conference on Suicide Prevention, they were approached to share their programme with other young people throughout Te Tai Tokerau and beyond. 

The group’s projects have been extremely challenging at times, as many of the young members have had personal experiences of suicide and it has taken immense courage and commitment for them to take part. The determination of the taitamariki to continue to support, not just their own needs but those of others in similar circumstances, has been truly inspirational. While most still face significant life challenges, they have developed positive resilience, a sense of renewed hope for their futures, and have become part of a significant support network which will exist beyond the end of the projects.

Change-maker - Kaihanga Rereke

Lucy Goffin 20 years

Bream Bay beaches have provided safe recreation for swimmers, surfers, boaties, fisherman and families for generations. However, in recent years there has been an influx of visitors who lack the necessary knowledge and awareness of the beach and sea environment. Many of these are foreign nationals without the ability to swim or an understanding of the dangers of the sea. This has unfortunately led to four visitors drowning in the last three years and a significant number of near misses. A Waipu Police constable recognised the immediate need for a drowning prevention program to keep visitors safe. The first person to answer his call for volunteers was Lucy Goffin of Ruakaka. She very quickly gained the respect and trust of the police and was appointed Bream Bay Beach Safety Ambassador Programme coordinator. The positive impact the programme has had reflects Lucy’s skill in this voluntary role. Following a very vocal reaction from local beach users to litter Lucy embarked on a campaign of social media, public speaking and organising volunteers to approach all beach users. Lucy’s calm and engaging way of spreading the education message has resulted in a significant improvement in beach and surf awareness.  Now visitors are presented with safety brochures written in three languages and gifted with rubbish bags. Lucy’s approach to the Whangarei District Council for the supply of Portaloos at beach entrances is another example of her volunteer work. As New Zealand’s population changes and becomes more diverse, she expresses the positive attitudes we need with her 'take the lead and increase others awareness' attitude.



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