This year's Tauranga Young Innovator Awards (YIA) drew a bumper 200-plus crowd at this evening's results night, which was combined with the launch of the biggest Western Bay of Plenty@Work expo to date at the ASB Arena.

The launch also saw a special preview of the new Tauranga promo VDO produced by Ian Taylor's Animation Research, which is expected to go live within the next month.

Lydia Gilmour of Tauranga Girls College took out the top prize for her Swift Wrap concept, which won the senior category.

Sam Sheaff of Mount Maunganui College came first in the junior category with his Gel-Shel idea, while Mount Maunganui Intermediate's team won first in the intermediate section with their Cat Napper.


The YIA is a joint initiative between Priority One's Instep Programme, Woods, The Creative Agency, Bluelab and Plus Group, with Beca, Bayfair, Page Macrae Engineering and Plus Group providing sponsorship.

This year's WBOP@Work expo is themed around innovation and has been closely tied into both the YIA results night and Friday morning's YIA Innovation Forum.

The forum featured the YIA judges, who included last year's senior YIA winner Hannah Payne, alongside expat Kiwi Andrew McKechnie, Skyping in from Silicon Valley, where he is creative director of Apple.

They joined fellow judges Victoria University design futurist Ross Stevens and Zespri innovation manager Carol Ward.

Greg Simmonds, Priority One's acting chief executive, said the YIA tie-in to WBOP@work emphasised the innovation theme running throughout WBOP@work.

"We're looking at new ways to innovate the whole business model and focusing on innovators of tomorrow fits into what YIA is all about."

The WBOP@work expo runs over Friday and Saturday at ASB Arena and this year features about 80 training providers and another 40 businesses. Education Tauranga and Immigration NZ have also been brought in as partners and the expo will include a special session for international students and a job registry.

Around a dozen innovation speakers will also be featured each day of the expo.

Young Innovator Award Winners 2016
Senior category
First: Swift Wrap. Lydia Gilmour. Tauranga Girls College - $2,000 plus a YIA internship
Second: Rescue Ranger. Daniel Corteza. Tauranga Boys College - $250
Third: Profound. Zeb Barry, Reece Breebart, Kimberly D'Mello. Aquinas College - $100
Junior category
First: Gel-Shel. Sam Sheaff, Mount Maunganui College - $1,000 plus YIA internship
Second: Terminal: Louis Donovan, Phoenix Morris, Jonathan Tomlinson, Jacob Tinning, Mount Maunganui College - $250
Third: Pet Partners, Sasha van Beek. Bethlehem College - $100
Mount Maunganui Intermediate, Cat Napper - $1,000 science trip
Aquinas College, Operation Sleep - $250
Omokaroa No 1 school, Cat Feeder - $100
People's choice (925 online votes)
Secondary (senior and junior): Profound, Aquinas College - $600 Bayfair Giftcard
Intermediate: Cat Napper, Mount Maunganui Intermediate - $300 Bayfair Giftcard