Last year's Whanganui secondary schools junior sportswoman of the year and karate world champion was Taihape Area School student Erika Elers, who is also a talented artist.

She has just entered her painting Twilight Dream, completed for NCEA Level Two Art, into this year's prestigious Waimarino Arts Awards in Raetihi.

Principal Richard McMillan said Erika was an incredibly talented young woman.

"She's an all-rounder and her spectacular wins are very prestigious for our school. We are all very proud of her."


Erika is trained in karate by her mother, Miho Davis, a teacher at the school.

"Karate was quite tough but very interesting and rewarding," Erika said.

Erika is the new karate world champion in the 14-16 age group.

After returning from Shito-Ryu, the 11th International Karate Do Kai in Osaka, Japan last year, she said it was exciting to compete against people from other countries.

Erika is proud of her Māori/Japanese heritage and says it has contributed to her resolve in all things.

She is modest about her achievements.

"I don't think I'm that good. I'm just another young student who likes to do things.

Entering her painting in the Waimarino Art awards had been a last-minute decision, she said.


The Waimarino Art awards turn 15 this year. A new Remarkable Ruapehu category has been added to encourage artists to celebrate the Waimarino district.

Winners will be announced on July 3 and all entries will be exhibited at Raetihi's Royal Theatre from July 4-14.