The recently developed Taiohi Awards are being enthusiastically embraced by Ngai Te Rangi marae throughout Tauranga Moana.
The awards are made after individual Ngai Te Rangi marae nominate young people who they want to acknowledge as outstanding and elite in their respective fields.
Ngai Te Rangi Iwi spokesperson Paora Stanley says the awards acknowledge success today but they have a much deeper purpose as far as the iwi is concerned.
He says the iwi leadership knows the future needs of the iwi will be quite different as it takes a greater role in the wider community. Therefore it is acting now to ensure it has young people coming through who can achieve and lead and be role models
“And I have to say anyone would be impressed with the calibre of the young people who are being put forward. We now have to ensure they have what they need to continue with their success and have the support around them to develop character and strength in their lives,” Stanley says.
There are three Taiohi Award winners in November: Mariah Ririnui, Te Aihe Toma and Eruera Walden.
Seventeen-year-old Tauranga Girls College student Mariah Ririnui from Maungatapu Marae is a track and field star. She won a bronze medal for long jump at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year in India and competed at the World Youth Athletic Championships in Italy during July of this year.
She has many dreams and aspirations for the future including qualifying to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games and also the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.
Te Aihe Toma of Te Rangihouhiri plays and dreams rugby. Te Aihe has featured as an outstanding player in the Te Puna JMC, Tai Mitchell and Goldfields competitions and was been active in touch rugby in 2007 and 2008. He played in the Tauranga Moana Maori U/16 team and received outstanding player of the club.
This year he has featured in the Tauranga Boys 2nd XV, 1st XV, BOP U/16, and was selected to trial for NZ U/17. In touch rugby, he has participated in the regionals, secondary zonals, secondaty Super 8 and secondary nationals.
Te Aihe’s dreams and aspirations over the next five years are to play rugby for the Bay of Plenty Steamers then the Waikato Chiefs or any Super 14 team. But his highest goal is to represent New Zealand and play for the All Blacks or New Zealand Maori.
He believes he will achieve his goals by keeping a positive attitude staying focused and on task not only in the sporting arena but in the academic arena as well.
Eruera Walden of Whareroa Marae is an 18-year-old Year 13 student at Aquinas College.
He has grown up close to his whanau and to his marae, both Tutereinga and Whareroa.
Since he was little and old enough to either reach the kiwifruit or hold on to pruners he has been helping in the whanau orchards on weekends and school holidays alongside cousins and uncles. Over the years he has been taught by his koro about all facets of horticulture so this gave him the interest to participate in the gateway program at college.
He was accepted as a trainee in horticulture and was subsequently assigned to one of the largest orchards in Te Puke. While in this training environment he observed a number of processes used on that orchard that could be used on the whanau orchard which would help increase productivity and overall outcomes.
Since completing the gateway programme Eruera has decided he would like to continue studying in the area of horticulture and has applied to Lincoln and Massey universities to undertake a social science degree majoring of course in horticulture.