The awards, held at Toll Stadium earlier this month, were presented to six young people and one group of youth who have given their time, skills and energy to their community.

Here is the list of winners.

Deanne Carpenter, 21, Outstanding Youth – Tino Nui award.

Deanne Carpenter won the Outstanding Youth -Tino Nui award at the Whangarei Youth Awards.

Winning national boxing titles and representing the country are only part of Deanne’s achievements.

The Whangaruru local also works with at-risk youth, is a church leader, and has been involved in suicide prevention and quit smoking campaigns.

She is motivated by a desire to inspire other young Maori and encourage them to achieve their dreams by role modelling the importance of healthy living and hard work.

Deanne has won the national boxing title for her weight division for the past six years and has competed around the world representing New Zealand.

Described as energetic, positive, and humble she is also a tutor for People Potential and spends most of her time at her local boxing gym mentoring and training younger fighters.

Petera Tangihue, 17, Leadership – Rangatiratanga

Petera Tangihue

Petera’s journey at Tikipunga High School started at the bottom but after making the choice to turn his life around he rose to the top.

He is now the school’s deputy head boy, a sergeant in the school’s Services Academy, and a core leader, soloist, and a performer in the school’s kapa haka group.

He is someone others can turn to without judgement, and as a young leader he challenges the negative reputation of Otangarei, where he lives, and sets an example for kids in the community.

Joie King, 17, Team Player – Kaiawhina

Joie King

Joie is a member of the Rangatahi are Warriors Group and 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 part of Youth Week.

The team provided opportunities for their peers to be heard through a petition and a noticeboard display of opinions and activities like a lip-sync battle between teachers and students, and a barbecue lunch.

Joie puts others first and does all she can to make whatever project she is involved with a success, while allowing others to feel empowered in their contribution.

Natalie Stolz, 16, Volunteer – Kai Tuao

Natalie Stolz

Helping others is something Natalie lives and breathes.

She has been an active volunteer in the Christian Renewal Church and in the Pacifica community.

Every week she volunteers for a community meal project run by the CRC Outreach group, helping to set up and pack down a catering venue and serve those who
come on the night.

Natalie helps run events for youngsters and looks after several groups, from pre-school age right through to teenagers.

She also serves on the church youth leadership team and volunteers for the Pacifica group.

Agnes Pene, 22, Empowerment – Whakamana

Agnes Pene

Agnes is passionate about addressing the high suicide rate in her community.

The Whangaruru woman is an active contributor to her iwi, Ngatiwai, to the Whangaruru people and the wider community.

She is a participant in Rau Ora – Ngatiwai ki Whangaruru – a youth suicide prevention programme based at Whangaruru Marae which focuses on realising youth potential through sports.

As a participant, Agnes gained an accredited certificate in touch rugby refereeing, and motivated others to do the same.

With the frustration of poor internet access this was no easy task.

However, she did not let that get in her way and helped her younger peers get to town to finish the online test.

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.

Kokiritia te ora: Maori youth suicide prevention roopu , 12 to 24, Group Award – Mahi Ropu

Kokiritia te ora was established to address the high levels of Maori youth suicide in Northland.

Over the last two years the group has held weekend wananga on Northland marae, participated in the World Indigenous Conference on Suicide Prevention and the inaugural Earth Citizen Peace Festival, and has been involved with other local events.

Following the group’s presentation at the World Indigenous Conference on Suicide Prevention, the youths were approached to share their programme with other young people throughout Te Tai Tokerau and beyond.

The group’s projects have been 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 youth have continued to support, not just their own needs, but those of others in similar circumstances.

While most still face significant life challenges, they have developed resilience, a sense of renewed hope for their futures, and have become part of a support network which will exist beyond the end of the projects.

Lucy Goffin, 20, Change-maker – Kaihanga Rereke

Lucy Goffin

Lucy was the first person to answer a call for volunteers for a programme to help prevent drownings at a Whangarei beach.

Bream Bay beaches are popular spots but in recent years there has been an influx of visitors, many who are foreign nationals, who lack the necessary knowledge and awareness of the beach and sea environment.

This led to four visitors drowning in the last three years.

A Waipu policeman recognised the immediate need for a drowning prevention programme to keep visitors safe and the first person to answer his call for volunteers was Lucy.

She very quickly gained the respect and trust of the police and was appointed Bream Bay Beach Safety Ambassador Programme co-ordinator.

The positive impact the programme has had reflects Lucy’s skill in this voluntary role.

Following a vocal reaction from local beach users about litter, Lucy embarked on a campaign to ensure the beach was kept tidy.

Now visitors are presented with safety brochures written in three languages and gifted with rubbish bags.

Source: Northern Advocate

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