Colourful lights, balloons and music still were not brighter than the shining of the Rotorua rangatahi at the OneChance Youth Awards.

A kapa haka performance, orchestrated to a tee, welcomed the 600 guests flooding into the Energy Events Centre last night in line with the "express your culture" theme.

Outstanding Rotorua youth have been acknowledged and celebrated at the annual OneChance Youth Awards tonight.

Eleven students from the city's five main high schools organised the awards which were open to ages 15 to 24 and had 12 categories.

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The third annual awards were all about celebrating youth and a total of $10,000 in cash and prizes were awarded at the event.

Head judge Mercia Yates said choosing the winners from the 60 original nominations was so difficult to chose from the diversity of skills that several equal places had to be given.

She said the awards were a beautiful way to acknowledge the efforts of work they did in the community.

"We've got a melting pot of talent who are multidisciplined ... they're not just from one particular field," she said.

Yates was one of three judges who were chosen by the high school organisers which she said was another way to ensure rangatahi were able to have their voices heard.

Year 13 youth organiser Sarah Gabolinscy from Western Heights High School said it was a hectic but fun experience which taught them leadership skills.

She said it was important to remind people that youth are amazing things in the community and let those young people know they could be recognised.

OneChance New Zealand chief enthusiast Alan Solomon said he was optimistic for the future of Rotorua and New Zealand from the spirit of excellence that shone from the awards.

Solomon said every year built on the year prior and the community contribution to the event had been "fantastic".

Some familiar faces were among the winners with Dr Tania Pinfold from Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust taking out the Youth Services Icon Award.

The Rotorua Girls' High School 2018 head girl Te Ririu Williams took out the Most Amazing Youth Visual Artist award and youth advocate Hone Morris was named Most Outstanding Community Youth Ambassador.

In 2020 the event will be renamed to the Rotorua Youth Awards and will run during Youth Week.

The awards will continue to honour amazing, local young people to showcase the talent we have in our amazing city and uplift community spirits.

The winners
- More FM Most Outstanding Youth Performance Group: Raukura Kapa Haka
- Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre Most Outstanding Youth Performer: Te Ara Pounamu Pukeroa, 15
- New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute Most Amazing Youth Visual Artist: Te Ririu Williams, 18
- Westpac Rotorua Most Outstanding Sports Team: Rotorua Boys' High School first XV
- Rotorua Lakes Council Sport and Recreation Most Outstanding Sports Athlete Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, 17, downhill mountain biking
- YouthHub Most Outstanding Youth Employee: Zeta Howden, 21, Cobb & Co
- Rothbury Insurance Most Outstanding Community Youth Ambassador: Hone Morris, 19
- Rotary Rotorua North Youth Services Icon Award: Tania Pinfold – Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust
- Cavanagh Law 'X-Factor' People's Choice Award: Jurell Fitzell, 15
- Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Most Awesome Youth of the Year: Hannah Gapes, 15
- Elite Adventures Youth Cultural Leader of the Year: Aleisha Mitchell, 23
- Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Supreme Youth Leader of the Year: Nathan Gapes, 17