Media Releases

Pacific New Zealand youth success celebrated

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 17:36
Pacific Peoples

The success of young Pacific New Zealanders has been celebrated at the 2016 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards held at Parliament this evening.

Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says the awards recognise excellence and achievement in commerce, the arts, sports, community and leadership.

“The nine inspiring winners have been recognised for their impressive contributions to New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural life, “ Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“The government is committed to ensuring more Pacific people tread the pathway to success.  We want young Pacific New Zealanders to realise their dreams, whether that’s to be an entrepreneur, sports star or business leader.”

“These inspiring young people are role models for all New Zealanders.  They are excelling academically, making significant contributions to their community, or demonstrating a skill in business,” says Mr Lotu-liga.

“The awards will open new doors for the winners, offering new opportunities for their careers and lives.”

“Congratulations to all the winners and their families. We are all incredibly proud of what you have achieved.  Thank you to our sponsors, who are helping making dreams come true for these young people.” 

The 2016 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards were sponsored by Air New Zealand, the Auckland Council, Ako Aotearoa, the GCSB, Creative New Zealand, the BNZ, New Zealand Institute of Sport and Deloittes.

The categories and winners are:

Air NZ Leadership & Inspiration

Josiah Tavita Tualamali’i , 21, Christchurch

Auckland Council Community Star Award

Emma Takataka, 21, Otara

Ako Aotearoa STEM Award

James Penfold, 20, Dannemora, Auckland


Roneima Teumohenga, 18, Palmerston North

Creative NZ Arts & Creativity Award

Jahra Wasasala, 24, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland 

BNZ Commercial & Corporate Award

Manako Nemaia, age and location tbc

NZIS (NZ Institute of Sport) Sports & Fitness Award

  1. Ayesha Leti-I'iga, 17, Porirua
  2. Mafutaga Tau, 18, Porirua

Deloitte Business & Enterprise Award

Sanita Betham, 18, Wellington

Visit or use the hashtags #PMPYA or #PacificStars for more details.