The finalists have been chosen and voting is open for the OneChance Youth Awards.

The awards look to bring the achievements of young people to the centre stage for the youth by the youth.

Eleven students from the city's five main high schools have organised the annual awards, which are open to ages 15 to 24 and have 12 categories.

All finalists needed to have shown they contribute to their community, team or workplace and have shown integrity, initiative and enthusiasm as well as commitment and perseverance.


To be nominated, they also needed to show leadership skills and that they could motivate and positively influence others.

The OneChance Youth Awards trophies for the winner announced on May 26. Photo / Cira Olivier
The OneChance Youth Awards trophies for the winner announced on May 26. Photo / Cira Olivier

Head Judge Mercia Yates said choosing the 36 finalists from the 60 nominations was no easy task, and all nominees had a variety of skills.

"It is extremely challenging because we have so many deserving rangatahi (youth)," she said.

While there were fewer nominations than previous years, "the standard of these ones has been outstanding".

Rotorua Girls' High School student Taini Tomoana was on the award committee and said the awards were all about promoting youth success on a larger scale.

This was the first year Tomoana had been part of the event and the organising itself helped build her planning and leadership skills.

"It's really cool and fun," she said.

MoreFM daytime announcer Max Goodman said bringing light to youth achievements was important to celebrate the aspiring as well as inspire others.


MoreFM was one of the sponsors of the event and Goodman said it worthy, especially in a small community.

"It brings acknowledgement to a generation that is pushed aside a little bit... being able to acknowledge them is a huge part of allowing them to grow," Goodman said.

A total of $10,000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs.

The winners for each of the 12 categories will be announced at the award ceremony on May 26 at 4.30pm at the Energy Event Centre.

Tickets are free but limited and can be collected from the Ticketmaster office at the Energy Event Centre.

The dress code for the event is "express your culture" and there will be prizes for the best outfit.

The 12 award categories are: Most outstanding youth performance group, most outstanding youth performer, most amazing youth visual artist, most outstanding sports team, most outstanding sports athlete, most outstanding youth employee, most outstanding community youth ambassador, youth services icon award, most awesome youth of the year, youth cultural leader of the year, people's choice award and supreme youth leader of the year.

- Online voting for the people's choice award opens to members of the public today at

The Finalists
More FM Most Outstanding Youth Performance Group
Finalist name: Madagascar Jnr Cast
Finalist name: Western Heights Pasifika Group
Finalist name: Raukura Kapa Haka

Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre Most Outstanding Youth Performer
Finalist name: Awatea Waiariki Thompson (19)
Finalist name: Te Ara Pounamu Pukeroa (15)
Finalist name: Joshua McGrath (19)

New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute Most Amazing Youth Visual Artist
Finalist name: Te Tai o Rehua Cooper (23)
Finalist name: Te Ririu Williams (18)
Finalist name: Tara Prieto (22)

Westpac Rotorua Most Outstanding Sports Team
Finalist name: Rotorua Boys High School 1st XV
Finalist name: Pikiao U17s Rugby League
Finalist name: JPC Thunder Geyser Cricket Team

Rotorua Lakes Council Sport and Recreation Most Outstanding Sports Athlete
Finalist name: Cameron Ingram (17) Cricket
Finalist name: Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (17) Downhill MTB
Finalist name: Makayla Timoti (17) Waka Ama

YouthHub Most Outstanding Youth Employee
Finalist name: Darcy Simon (20) Cobb & Co
Finalist name: Sirina Hurihanganui (18) Cobb & Co
Finalist name: Zeta Howden (21) Cobb & Co

Rothbury Insurance Most Outstanding Community Youth Ambassador
Finalist name: Jess Wharekura (16)
Finalist name: Christa Kurian (16)
Finalist name: Hone Morris (19)

Rotary Rotorua North Youth Services Icon Award
Finalist name: Sheryn Shoebridge - Rotorua Young Mariners
Finalist name: Peter Doyle – Rotorua Young Mariners
Finalist name: Tania Pinfold – Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust

Toi Ohomai Institute Technology Most Awesome Youth of the Year
Finalist name: Rahera Walters (17)
Finalist name: Hannah Gapes (15)
Finalist name: Ila Ford-Robertson (17)

Elite Adventures Huru Peri Te Rangipuawhe Maika
Youth Cultural Leader of the Year
Finalist name: Rangipo-Puti Wallace Ihakara (22)
Finalist name: Aleisha Mitchell (23)
Finalist name: Manaia Hereni Lewis-Wano (16)

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Supreme Youth Leader of the Year
Finalist name: Nathan Gapes (17)
Finalist name: Nicole Agnew (19)
Finalist name: Grace Hayes (17)
Finalist name: Hone Morris (19)

Cavanagh Law 'X-Factor' People's Choice Award
Finalist name: Hannah Gapes (15)
Finalist name: Nathan Gapes (17)
Finalist name: Jurell Fitzell (15)