Young achievers from 27 of Porirua region’s 32 primary and intermediate schools were recognised at a special function in Porirua on 15th September.
A joint project of Plimmerton and Porirua Rotary Clubs, the function was held at Elim Church and attended by Mayor Nick Leggett, Deputy Mayor ‘Ana Coffey, local MPs Kris Fa’afoi and Jan Logie, several other local dignitaries, and a large number of parents and caregivers.
Two young leaders chosen by each school were introduced by ‘Ana Coffey, congratulated by Mayor Nick resplendent in his full Mayoral regalia, and photographed with him. It was clearly a very special moment for all of them and thoroughly deserved given the substantial contribution each had made to the wellbeing of their fellow students.
In the comments from each school read out by the Deputy Mayor, there were several recurring themes as to how award winners were described, including: striving for excellence, community-focussed, rising above adversity, humility, perseverance, respectful, helpful, determined, polite, empathetic, service-oriented, hard-working, good listener, leading by example, culturally sensitive, excellent role model, and considerate.
From this information it was clear to the audience that all award winners were exceptional young people.
Peter Cox, President of Plimmerton Rotary, outlined the many and varied activities that Rotary provided for young people, including the locally based Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and the Rotary Youth Exchange programme which had seen over 50,000 students from around the world live in a different country for one year, thereby helping to foster international peace and understanding.
The President of Porirua Rotary, David Stewart, said that award winners should feel proud of their achievements, be bold, and ‘push the edge’. He explained that when facing difficult decisions it was always better to make a decision that may not be quite right, rather than make no decision at all.
Murray Faivalu, a Year 11 student on the Board of Trustees and Student Council at Porirua College, spoke fluently about how being a leader was not easy. It was all about how you approached things. “Many students don’t follow their leaders. Leaders need to be worthy of being respected. They can do this by taking time to build relationships with students, by empowering students to be the best they can be, and to show that the leader stands for something, that you are someone who can be trusted. Demonstrate that your values are worthy, and others will follow.” (You can find the full text of Murray's speech here).
And Murray wasn't the only college prefect who came to the Awards to honour the primary students. Exams made it hard for all colleges to be represented but the eighteen students who did come, made sure that the young leaders were well looked after. (Unfortunately the five senior students from Te Kura missed out on the photo).
Mayor Nick aptly summed up when he said to the award winners: “You don’t have to ask permission to do great things in your community. We are immensely proud of you all. You children are the present!”
There were several unexpected and exceptional moments during the Awards. While introducing the two students from St Pius Cross, it soon became clear that Jesse Elias is, in fact, 'Ana Coffey's son. And soon after this, when introducting the two students from Russell School, it became equally clear that Angel-Newyear Faivalu was the little sister of our speaker from Porirua College, Murray. Both these students obviously have great role models within their families.
And still there was more. As Emery McGill and Hoani Akavi from Te Kura Maori o Porirua were about to leave the stage after receiving their Awards, the five prefects from Te Kura rose to their feet and performed a passionate and moving haka in honour of their leadership. Karl Tily from Porirua City Council managed to capture a small part of this as you can see on the short video clip at the bottom of this page.
And, as an aside, it was great to see that Titahi Bay North School included a tribute to the leaders they chose in their weekly newsletter the next day, saying,
'YOUNG LEADERS ACKNOWLEDGED AND RECOGNISED Rotary hosted the second annual young leaders awards event yesterday where young people who demonstrate the values of service for others, being kind and respectful towards other people, making contributions to their community and being leaders in their context today and, very likely, leaders in their lives to come, were celebrated. We nominated Isaiah Waiti and Zenin Sutton Mea as two young leaders we are proud of and who we wished to acknowledge. Ka pai U 2 - you are wonderful young people and all of us at TBNS are proud to know, & work with you. Congratulations on your Rotary Awards. Isaiah and Zenin with His Worship The Mayor.'
As did St Pius Cross (see photos above):
YOUNG LEADERS AWARDS - held by the Rotary Clubs of Porirua in conjunction with Porirua City Council. This ceremony took place last week and we are very proud of our school's 2 recipients - Otaki Mihaere and Jesse Elias. Congratulations to you both!
Here is a short video taken by Karl Tily of Porirua City Council which will give you some idea of the 'flavour' of the occasion.