Te Arawa celebrates youth talent at Awards

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Te Arawa celebrated its highest achievers in Rotorua last night at this year's Te Arawa Awards. Thirty youth were acknowledged and recognised for their outstanding talents and positive contributions to their communities.

They are future leaders Te Arawa and their achievements are sky high.

Award recipient Hinerauwhiri Winitana-Paki, says, “Follow the rainbow the sky's the limit! I was scared to follow it because I was afraid of leaving my comfort zone to what I knew. Don't be scared, chase it.”

The Te Arawa Awards recognise the region's freshest young talent. Celebrating excellence in academia, sports, cultural activities and positive contributions to whānau, hapū, iwi, and the wider community.

Rehua Selwyn says, “I really commend Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa. I believe a lot of our Māori youth are batting below the bar because of alcohol and those sorts of things and these events help get them see there are other paths for them.”

Masterchef duo Karena and Kasey Bird were inducted into the Te Arawa hall of fame, but the top award, for Most Outstanding Rangatahi Achiever was earned by Awatea Leach.

Award recipient Awatea Leach says, “Now I really want to go to Massey in Wellington to study fashion and become a clothing designer."

Seven youth were also awarded scholarships under the Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa award.