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Integrity, tenacity and kindness

The four recipients of the Kia Manawanui Awards, Shai Efaraimo, left, Jade-Stacey Thompson, Tiare Rouru-Bourne, and Aislin Maugatai. PHOTOS/BEAU ELTON

Erin Kavanagh-Hall

Four young women who exemplified their school’s values of integrity, tenacity and kindness were among those honoured at Makoura College’s senior prizegiving.

The awards night, held on November 5, had the college’s Year 11 to 13 students recognised for their achievement in academic excellence, cultural and sporting pursuits, and their service to the school.

The college’s four top prizes, the Kia Manawanui Awards, went to graduating students Shai Efaraimo, Aislin Maugatai, Tiare Rouru-Bourne and Jade-Stacey Thompson, who each received a grant from the Makoura Educational Trust towards their tertiary studies.

The awards, named for the school’s motto Kia Manawanui (meaning ‘courage and compassion’), recognise those students who have not only achieved outstanding results in their learning, but who have shown strong leadership, have been positive role models for their peers, and have shown care and empathy towards their school community.

Introducing each of the Kia Manawanui recipients, deputy principal Kellas Bennett praised the young women for their determination and resilience in pursuing their studies, leading their peers with honesty and enthusiasm, being inclusive of all students, and carrying themselves with grace, dignity and maturity.

In particular, Shai and Jade were commended for their loving leadership of the school’s Poly Group and coaching of the junior netball teams; Tiare for extending compassion beyond school, travelling to Mexico with her church to build homes for the less fortunate; and Aislin for her strong empathy for diversity, and sense of social justice.

Aislin also received the Teina Matatau Award (or Proxime Accessit) as the student with the second highest grade point average across five subjects – runner-up to Tuakana Matatau Award winner (Dux Litterarum) Maya Oliver.

Makoura principal Paul Green said the Kia Manawanui Awards, the “prime awards” a graduating student can receive, are a departure from academic tradition, in that they honour the students who embody the school’s core values: tika (doing what is right), pono (depth in learning), and aroha (kindness to others).

“The awards are a recognition of the all-round person whose approach to life aligns with our motto of Kia Manawanui: being of big, generous and warm heart, and living with courage and compassion,” Green said.

“Academic excellence is of great importance. But it’s also crucial that we fully celebrate and encourage students to aspire to and live by our key values.”

While receiving their awards, the four recipients were presented with the school’s korowai, and acknowledged with a rousing haka from their school mates.

“It was very emotional – I was trying not to cry in front of everyone,” Shai said.

“I didn’t expect to win (the award) – it was an amazing surprise.”

Aislin said she was thankful to Makoura for recognising her talents, and nurturing her passion for equality and fairness.

“If I went to a different school, I don’t think I’d have been acknowledged like I was at Makoura.

“I’m also really grateful to my family and friends for their support.”

The awards ceremony began with 60 Year 11 to 13 students receiving Whaia Te Tika, Pono and Aroha awards – commendations for exemplifying the college’s values in different aspects of their learning.

Jerome Lopa, who received the Flight of the Conchords scholarship, and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson.

Several sporting and cultural groups also received Whaia Te Pono awards for their commitment and positive representation of the college – including the senior boys’ football team, chess team, reggae band Fresh Noiz, debate team, and crews who represented Makoura at the inter-school DanceNZmade competition.

The Special Awards section of the evening began with an acknowledgement of students Jordan Chase and Kayleigh O’Brien, who had both received a scholarship for a voyage aboard The Spirit of Adventure earlier in the year.

Year 12 student Cole Hodson was presented with the Gateway Student of the Year trophy for excelling in the college’s work experience programme – as well as the inaugural Prime Minister’s Vocational Excellence Award for achieving in his chosen work placement, and consistently demonstrating the key competencies valued by employers.

Talented young sportsmen Charles Fisaga Mataitai and Tremaine Rimene-Albrett were awarded the Toko Winiata Memorial Scholarship, each receiving a grant towards their future sporting endeavours.

The scholarship is named for Toko Winiata, who served as Makoura’s sports co-ordinator from 1996 until his untimely death in 2011.

The Flight of the Conchords Scholarship for excellence in performing arts, presented by Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, went to gifted singer/songwriter Jerome Lopa, who received a $1000 cash prize.

In acknowledgement of their academic achievement, graduating students Kyra van Geffen and Maya Oliver both received entrance scholarships to the University of Otago, each worth $6000.

The Service Academy students were also acknowledged for their work throughout the year, with the top award, the Service Academy Award of Distinction going to Diamond Te Hau-Karaitiana for his practical leadership skills, excellent grades, and high standard of dress and presentation.

The overall award for leadership within the Services Academy went to Carleigh Cox, with Roman Karaitiana and Jordan Chase receiving the awards for Most Improved Male and Female, respectively.

The prize-giving also featured performances from Fresh Noiz, the Poly Group, and the school’s kapa haka team Te Mapihi Pounamu, and a guest address from new deputy principal Marion Harvey.

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