NZ's brightest apprentices named in inaugural award
The inaugural Future Business Leaders Awards event was held last night in Auckland to celebrate the achievements of New Zealand’s ‘bright young things’ in the trades and services.
The multi-sector industry training awards were held as part of a forum bringing together New Zealand’s future business leaders for Got A Trade Week, the national campaign to raise awareness of the careers that exist in 140 trades and services in New Zealand.
Recipients of four awards were announced at the event, with south Auckland mental health worker Christina Taefu taking out the top award, Overall Future Leader. She also won the Female Future Leader category.
Ms Taefu was selected from more than 80 nominees by a judging panel of industry leaders including Industry Training Federation chief executive Josh Williams, Rachel Petero, Mark O’Grady from NZ Print, Bronwyn Yates of Literacy Aotearoa and MAI FM station manager Philip Bell.
“Our judging criteria looked carefully at how the nominees had overcome any hardship in their lives, their attitude to workplace training, their leadership ability and how they showed commitment to their communities.
“We agreed unanimously that Ms Taefu stood out. She is clearly a future business leader in the education and mental health sectors. Through her community service and commitment to helping others, she is the embodiment of someone who has the passion and the ability to make a difference,” says Mr Williams.
A former Miss Samoa NZ, Ms Taefu works as a mental health facilitator for Framework Services in Otahuhu, currently completing a Level 4 Health and Wellbeing certificate. It was through her journey from depression and anxiety to recovery that her passion to be a mental health ambassador was ignited.
"In my role I develop and facilitate personal development programmes that empower those who experience a mental illness to develop their natural strengths and capabilities. I love helping people heal and grow to build a life worth living. I also work outside of the Framework Trust creating exercise, wellbeing and health programmes in the community. It's my dream to make a positive impact in the mental health sector of our Pasifika people,” said the Manurewa woman.
Also scooping an award last night was Turaukawa Bartlett, winning the Maori Future Leader award. Turaukawa is a whanau support worker for a non-profit organisation providing health and wellness services in the Waikato district of Hauraki.
“My training as a whanau support worker has equipped me with the essential skills to ensure all whanau receive the best care possible whilst empowering them to make positive changes in their lives. I am fortunate enough to be the father of a child with special needs and a proud young Maori. I see education as the key to breaking socially constructed discourses that confine my people and culture,” he says.
“Through his own life experiences, Turaukawa is focussed on how his trade can support socio-economic issues,” says Mr Williams.
Sione Taueli Tonga won the Pasifika Future Leader award. Sione has completed his printing apprenticeship and is now senior printer at Stratex NZ. “My goal for the future is to one day become a manager running a department. It is every Pacific teenager’s dream to become a boss in a company. Especially for someone like myself. Starting with nothing to become something,” said the Otara man.
The judges agreed that Sione has “an amazing work ethic, has overcome adversity and focused on making positive family changes through his personal and professional development.”
Vodafone design engineering apprentice Meresiana Mata Fugawai Uluiviti won the General Future Leader award and is following in her transmission engineer father’s footsteps working in the Telco industry. As well as being involved in large technology projects at work, Meresiana is part of the Pasifika steer-co group that helps Pasifika employees internally to grow and find opportunities within the company. She lives in Newmarket, Auckland.
“Meresiana’s leadership and management capability is clear. She is process driven, committed and loyal, and a great team player,” said the judging panel.
As Overall Future Leader, Christina Taefu received funding to attend an eight-day Outward Bound business leadership programme. All four winners received JB Hi Fi vouchers, a Sonos Play 3 system and a year’s subscription to MYOB.
Pictured: Christina Taefu & Hon Louise Upston