Whanganui's Petera Hudson spent last year working intensively with five young people and their families - and he said the ripples spread further.

On December 8 Mr Hudson was one of seven people who got the Vodafone World of Difference Award.

It gave him $100,00 for salary and project costs and a whole year to work for the betterment of marginalised youth.

It's the same award that Des Warahi got last week.


Next year Mr Warahi begins his work with the Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust.

Initially Mr Hudson was to work with the same trust. His focus quickly changed to an organisation he had been working with for years and that had a similar focus on youth education as a means toward employment - the Nga Hononga Marae Charitable Trust.

Mr Hudson and the trust's Ron Hough accepted the award in Auckland. They spent two days at the Vodafone headquarters, hearing about the award contract and support structures, meeting other recipients and becoming part of the "Vodawhanau".

Mr Hudson found that the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation was the "green" end of the multinational Vodafone corporation, and was remarkably flexible. It was loose but also formal, and had a strong social conscience.

"It's closer to where we sit as Maori," he said.

The foundation aims to help young people aged 12 to 24. Mr Hudson has a Masters degree in education and also a background in dance.

He chose young people he already had connections with through family, dance or work with schools, and he expected benefits to them would spread out to their friends and families.

Each of the young people was disadvantaged by isolation- either physical through disability or location, or social or intellectual.

One of the young people was a teenage girl.

Mr Hudson said her father had gang connections and was in prison, and her mother was raising the family in the relative isolation of a gang environment.

Through a "spiderweb" of whanau, hapu, Catholic, Whanganui River, marae and school connections Mr Hudson was able to create a korowai (cloak) of support around her this year.

He discovered that her sister was at university studying law and Maori language, and he created another korowai, both academic and social, of support for her in that urban environment.

Another of Mr Hudson's young people was Shenaragh Nemani, who flies to Miami next week to fulfil one of her dreams by participating in the World Latin Dance Cup. She has cerebral palsy, and will dance in the limitless division in a wheelchair.

On December 14 the Nga Hononga Marae Trust hosted a gathering of nearly 50 people, including some from Treasury in Wellington and the Whanganui District Council economic development team. It was an opportunity for Whanganui iwi to talk about what kinds of help they would appreciate.

During the year Mr Hudson has worked from home, and he has kept a notebook for his interactions with each of the young people.

He's had a year without financial constraints to focus on them and their whanau. He said the work had built a strong foundation, it will be ongoing for them and those ripples will keep spreading.