Mental health advocate Ezekiel Raui wins top enterprise award

By Jessica Tyson
Ezekiel Raui and his partner Sydney Batters at the Young Enterprise Trust Alumni Awards. Source: File

Social entrepreneur and mental health advocate Ezekiel Raui has been named the supreme alumni of the year at the 2021 Young Enterprise Trust Alumni Awards.

The awards, held on Thursday night, celebrated the achievements of about 100,000 students who have completed The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme, an experiential learning programme, which helps students set up and run a business through the course of the school year.

Raui, who was also named as the cultural leader of the year at the awards, was recognised for his significant contributions to the mental health and wellbeing sector.

Ezekiel Raui with Young Enterprise CEO Terry Shubkin. Source: File

At just 23 years old Raui, of Te Rarawa ki Hokianga and Ngāpuhi, has worked closely with Mike King and Lance O’Sullivan and established his own peer support programme, Tū Kotahi, that focuses on students' emotional, mental, social wellbeing and resilience.

“Mental health and wellbeing is where it all started for me. What I love most about navigating this space is that, while it has its challenges and can be deficit-focused, it highlights the importance of the simple and small things in life and how each of these, like daily exercise, social gatherings and sleep, can be effective tools to helping us overcome our own challenges.”

Due to Raui’s dedication in this sector, he has met the Obama family at the White House in Washington DC, received the Queen’s young leader award at Buckingham Palace and been named on Forbes' 30 under 30 list.

Raui is studying for a masters in business management and says he continues to play a part in helping New Zealand’s pool of competent and innovative individuals, whānau and communities grow.

“One thing that I've learned more than anything is that our tūpuna have things planned for us that we may never anticipate, so the best I can do is stay me and prepare for the unexpected.”

Source: FIle

Raui's partner, Sydney Batters, says she was proud to see Raui receive the supreme award last night.

"His mahi has always been from the heart and with such an empowering purpose. I feel that this award was well deserved. Matariki and the Māori New Year has brought so many blessings upon us and this is award was humbling for me as much as it was for him. His mahi has, and always will, continue to inspire me and the rangatahi of Aotearoa."

The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme is run by The Young Enterprise Trust, which works with over 85 percent of secondary schools to bring enterprise into the classroom. This year alone there are over 4,700 students across the country participating.

“I see the beauty of these awards as recognition of the positive and impactful role young people play in today's society, Raul says. "The cultural leader award signifies the importance of enabling people to bring their whole selves to work and the supreme award pays homage to the everyday heroes young people are in their communities and that when the sun rises the next day the world is just that little bit better.”

Award finalists and winners:

One to Watch

  • Brooke Moore - Wrapt & SugarBunny
  • Anzac Gallate - The GroUp Group
  • Meghshyam Prakash - Haast Law - winner
  • Emily Hacket Pain - Paper Pens Pencils

Cultural Leader of the Year

  • Ezekiel Raui - Taharangi Consulting - winner
  • Keith Toma - Panikeke
  • Rahiri Edwards-Hammond - Project Rangatahi

Distinguished alumni

  • Glenn Bull – Skilitics - winner
  • Nigel Bamford -Escea
  • Paul Grover - Observatory Crest

Start-Up of the Year

  • Wero Mai
  • EcoBase - winner
  • WombatNET

Contributor of the Year

  • Ezekiel Raui  - Taharangi Consulting
  • Anna Campbell – Group Marketing Manager - winner
  • Helen Townsend - The Rubbish Whisperer

Community Leader of the Year

  • Michelle Prasad – Good Start Foundation - winner
  • Phoebe Havill – Wahine on Water
  • Shuari Naidoo – Moraka Menstrual Cups

Innovator of the Year

  • Emily Blythe - Pyper Vision - winner
  • Anzac Galette - The GroUp Group
  • Sam Mackwell - Mackwell Locomotive & AgLoco Ltd

Supreme Alumni of the Year

Ezekiel Raui - Taharangi Consulting – winner