Celebrating Tomorrow's Leaders Today

Published on 25 September 2023

2023 YAA Winners and finalists.jpg

Caption: Grace Seamark, Upper Hutt College, Leadership Award; Joshua McDonald, Heretaunga College, Environment Award; Kate Thomson, Interim Chief Executive, Upper Hutt City Council; Grace Tilley , Upper Hutt College, Mayoral Award; Kenzie Pierce, Heretaunga College, Community Services Award; Samasoni Hewitt, St Patrick’s Silverstream, Honorable Mention; Carter Maule, Heretaunga College, Whirinaki Whare Taonga Arts and Culture Award; Garrett Aymes, Nominee, Upper Hutt College; Emily Blackadder, Honorable Mention, Upper Hutt College; Mayor Wayne Guppy, Upper Hutt City; Lily Candy, Honorable Mention, Upper Hutt College; Tyrah Pearson, Community Services Award, Heretaunga College; Sophie Weston, Honourable Mention, Upper Hutt College


Council is excited to announce the results of the 2023 Young Achievers Awards held at Whirinaki Whare Taonga on Wednesday, 13 September.  Mayor Wayne Guppy and representatives from Whirinaki Whare Taonga and Silverstream Lions presented awards in five categories to six Upper Hutt rangatahi.

The theme of the award, Celebrating our young rangatahi today, recognising our leaders of tomorrow, celebrates young people who are making a difference to the Upper Hutt community. 

Mayor Guppy says the Young Achievers Awards show young people in the community that dreams are attainable, and that determination can lead to remarkable achievements. "It encourages our young people to continue to lead the way in addressing challenges and champion the causes that they believe will benefit Upper Hutt and beyond,” he says. “Every single one of our nominees have been recognised by either their peers or members of our community for their passion and mahi. Giving our young people the recognition they deserve helps create a sense of belonging and inclusion in our community. It shows them that they are valued members of our community, which can be a powerful antidote to feelings of isolation, self-doubt, or alienation.”

Council Interim Chief Executive, Kate Thomson, says the awards represent the city’s long-term commitment to engaging with and empowering young people. “By celebrating and supporting their remarkable achievements, we're not only acknowledging their potential but actively investing in the future of our community,” she says. “These young leaders are making a significant contribution to our community and will continue to pave the way for our city’s bright future. The awards are a testament to our dedication to fostering their growth and aspirations."

The winners of the Young Achievers Awards are:

Community Services Award: Tyrah Pearson and McKenzie Pierce

Environment Award: Joshua MacDonald 

Whirinaki Whare Taonga Arts & Culture Award: Carter Maule

Silverstream Lions Leadership Award: Grace Seamark

Mayoral Award: Grace Tilley

We would like to thank our Upper Hutt community for your nominations which highlight a generation of difference-makers who are shaping a better world. We would like the community to join us in celebrating these young achievers and supporting their journey toward shaping a future that benefits us all.