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Young leader honoured

A young Wairarapa lawyer has won a prestigious award recognising his leadership in the region.

Herewini Ammunson, a 24-year-old Greytown resident and lawyer, has been chosen as this year’s Tuia programme recipient.

This South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] award aims to help develops leadership in Maori between the ages of 18 and 25 using a range of tools, including mentoring from SWDC mayor Martin Connelly. However, the award is designed to foster a relationship to provide both parties with a learning opportunity.

Connelly said Ammunson was a deserving recipient of the award.

“Herewini is clearly a bright young man who is already contributing much to his community and his culture. He is just the kind of young person that we need to support into leadership,” he said.

Connelly looked forward to partnering with Ammunsen on the Tuia journey and learning about the first Tuia 2023 wananga Herewini recently attended.

Ammunson is chair of his marae at Papawai, near Greytown, and said he was honoured to be chosen.

“The work I’m really passionate about is my marae and the community of Wairarapa, which was where I grew up, and things like te reo and tikanga [Maori protocol],” he said.

As well as mentoring sessions, Ammunson will also do a 100-hour community project and attend wananga with other Tuia from across New Zealand.

A keen environmentalist, he is looking forward to sharing his ideas with Connelly.

“I’m keen to work alongside a person like Martin and pick his brains and talk about some of the issues and initiatives that I think are important in the south Wairarapa as a young person.

“But ultimately, it’s about bringing back the skills and experiences to serve my marae and my iwi,” he said.

Ammunson recently became a member of the SWDC Māori Standing Committee [MSC].

Andrea Rutene, chair of the MSC, said Herewini displayed the moemoea [vision] she hoped would be ignited among other rangatahi [young people].

“Herewini has been brought up next to his marae at Papawai. He has shown excellence in striving for his dreams and putting the work in that’s needed to achieve that,” she said.

“He walks in both worlds with confidence and ability. It just shows how by having role models and giving our young people opportunities, the sky’s the limit in what they can achieve – if they know who they are and where they’re from and are supported.

“I look forward to seeing Herewini share what he learns from participating in the Tuia programme with others who may want to take up this opportunity.”

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