After looking as though there would be no contenders for this year's Wackrow Memorial Youth Award, five nominations were received on the final day.

At the last meeting of the Dannevirke Community Board, which organises the awards, members were told that the day before nominations closed there were none received.

However, on the day they closed five were received.

Tararua District Council governance manager Richard Taylor said it was not unusual that nominations were left to the last day.


Board chairman Pat Walshe said he had spoken to local school principals who had told him they didn't realise the age group eligible to seek the award.

The award is open to young people aged between 14 and 19 years.

Board member Terry Hynes asked if the judging criteria was set in concrete as emphasis on community service was off-putting for some applicants.

"We are struggling to get big numbers of nominations because a lot of young people are busy with other activities and don't have a lot of time for community service."

Board member Ross Macdonald said community service was the prime reason the Wackrow family wanted to establish the award.

"If we wanted to change that we would have to run it past the family."

Taylor said a debrief is always conducted after the award has been presented and this would the time to make any changes.

This year's nominees are Zane Gatchell, Nicolas Lowe, Chianne Lyford-Shields, James Mollison and Clare Seatter.


This is the 34th time the awards have been held.

It's promoted annually to young people of the Dannevirke district. Past winners have gone on to build successful careers and futures.

The award is unique in New Zealand and reflects the calibre of the town's young people.

It is in memory of the late Constable Graeme Wackrow and was presented to the town by his parents in 1987.

Constable Wackrow was killed in a car accident while serving with the New Zealand Police in Dannevirke.

An honours board for the award is displayed in the foyer of Dannevirke Police Station.


A panel of five members from the community judges the award, placing particular emphasis on the nominees' community service and their contribution to supporting the work of local voluntary organisations and groups.

The winner of the award holds the Wackrow Trophy for a year and is presented with a miniature trophy to keep by the community board and $500. Second place receives $300 and third $200.

This year's judging panel is Dannevirke Police Sergeant Gary McKernon, REAP manager and community representative Claire Chapman, and Dannevirke Community Board members Terry Hynes and Kim Spooner-Taylor and Cr Erana Peeti-Webber.

Judging will take place on Monday, August 17 in the Tararua District Council Chamber, starting at 10am. Each nominee has been given a 15-minute time slot to face the judges.

The awards will be presented on Tuesday, August 25 at 7pm in The Hub, Allardice St, Dannevirke.

Pen portraits of the nominees:

Zane Gatchell.
Zane Gatchell.

Zane Gatchell, 17, is a member of Dannevirke Fire Brigade.

He is head boy at Dannevirke High School and a graduated instructor for Dannevirke Cactus 2020.

Zane is captain of the DHS boys' hockey team and an umpire of the girls' hockey team and for junior hockey.

Nicolas Lowe.
Nicolas Lowe.

Nicolas Lowe, 17, is a prefect at Dannevirke High School and plays football for the school's First XI.

He was a volunteer at last month's Dannevirke Host Lions book sale and offers help within the community.

Nicolas is a participant in the RYPEN leadership programme.

Chianne Lyford-Shields.
Chianne Lyford-Shields.

Chianne Lyford-Shields, 16, is a Year 12 student at Dannevirke High School and works part-time at Kiwi Lumber.

She plays hockey and last year was in Dungeons and Dragons and was part of the school production.

Chianne also volunteered at the Lions book sale and helps out at other community events.

Her career goal is to join the Navy at the end of next year to become a hydrographic systems operator.

James Mollison.
James Mollison.

James Mollison, 17, is deputy head boy at Dannevirke High School.

He is goalkeeper for the school's First XI and also plays hockey.


James was a participant in the RYPEN leadership camp and also helped out at the Lions book sale.

Clare Seatter.
Clare Seatter.

Clare Seatter, 18, is a Dannevirke High School prefect. She is a recipient of Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards and was a volunteer at First Years Preschool in 2016-17.

She is a swim instructor and a qualified lifeguard. Clare is also a volunteer netball coach and umpire.

Clare is a graduate of the Massey University Young Women in Leadership programme.