Nominations are open for awards to honour exceptional Rotorua youth, and the awards celebration will be organised by youth themselves.

The OneChance Youth Awards celebrate excellence in youth (aged 15 to 24) achievements or service to the community.

Nominations close Sunday April 9.

The awards celebration ceremony is being organised by a team of year 12 and 13 students, from the five Rotorua high schools, who are taking part in the 2017 OneChance Youth Project.

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The project was launched in 2013 and is a Ministry of Youth Development Award winning programme supported by the Rotorua Youth Centre.

It is an intensive multi-level leadership, team building and event planning programme.

It will soon include social enterprise schemes designed for youth empowerment and development.

The team will organise the OneChance Youth Awards over a three-month period and then manage all aspects of the event.

The event will include live entertainment, giveaways, free finger food and drinks available and Allie Mooney as a keynote speaker.

The students will gain 13 NCEA Level 3 credits and a certificate in a Youth Development Project.

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Te Ao Leach, 16, said she was looking forward to seeing all their hard work come together on the night.

"It will be cool because we organised it."

Dejah Motu, 16, said it was something for the community and Rangipurei Manley said she was excited to see the celebration of youth in Rotorua.

Rangipurei said the project was an opportunity for her to learn from and keep her options open after school.

Te Ao decided to take part in the project because she liked the opportunity it offered and the skills she could learn.

James Mohi, 17, said he took part because it seemed like a challenge he could accomplish this year.

Te Ao said, "We encourage people to come along because it is a free event to celebrate youth achievement in the Rotorua district and will be a fun night filled with entertainment".

There are 12 award categories, including most amazing visual youth artist, most outstanding sports team, most outstanding community youth ambassador, youth services icon award and supreme youth leader of the year.

Each award category winner will receive cash, prizes and a custom-made trophy. There is $10,000 in cash and prizes.

Tickets for the awards celebration will be available Wednesday, April 19.

For the full awards criteria, to nominate a young person, group or team and to get award celebration tickets visit onechance.nz.

OneChance Youth Awards Celebration:
-When: Friday May 26, 6.30pm
-Where: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre