William Wallace Awards honour inspiring rangatahi

The William Wallace Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of rangatahi in care. 

The annual event run by Oranga Tamariki empowers youth who’ve overcome major obstacles in life by providing scholarships to help them pursue their dreams.

Scholarships worth up to $3,000 are awarded and contribute to developing talent, pursuing tertiary education, courses or equipment to help young people reach their potential.

20 young people received awards at the ceremony held at Te Papa in Wellington.

Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki, Gràinne Moss told those gathered at the event that supporting the awards and the young people involved is an absolute privilege.

“To be acknowledged with a William Wallace Award is a special, incredible achievement. In my work as Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki it’s my job to make sure we are doing the very best we can to support you.”

Scholarship recipients are nominated by foster carers, social workers, school principals or teachers and community workers.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin says, “Oranga Tamariki is encouraging communities to work together to create more opportunities for the well-being and successes of our tamariki.

“We want New Zealanders to collectively believe there is a wonderful future on the horizon for each and every child,” says Tracey Martin.

The William Wallace awards are named after a man called William Wallace who donated his estate to Child, Youth and Family to go directly towards nurturing and providing opportunities for children in care.

Below is a list of some of this year’s award recipients;

Lucas Walters - Oranga Tamariki (Tertiary Award) scholarship

Lucas Walters completed the Prime Ministers Youth Programme in 2015. His scholarship will go towards his Psychology and English studies at Auckland University in 2018.

Shanae Deacon – Open Home Foundation Award

The Open Home Foundation Award will go towards University Hall residence fees for Shanae is planning to study law in 2018.

Thayne De Barr – Fostering Kids New Zealand Scholarship 

Thayne’s scholarship will go towards fees for a New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (level 3) in 2018.

Karlee Symonds – Girls Friendly Society (GFS) scholarship

This is a special scholarship for women in the Wellington region and will go towards supporting Karlee in her pursuit of a Bachelor in Social Work in 2018.

A further acknowledgement was also given to the caregivers, social workers, partners, friends and family who have supported the scholarship recipients and helped them grow into the young stars they are.