Maori and Pasifika Triumph at Inaugural Future Business Leader Awards for Apprentices

The inaugural Future Business Leaders Awards event was held in Auckland on 25 August to celebrate the achievements of New Zealand’s ‘bright young things’ in the trades and services.



The multi-sector industry training awards were held as part of a forum bringing together New Zealand’s future business leaders for Got A Trade Week, the national campaign to raise awareness of the careers that exist in 140 trades and services in New Zealand.

Recipients of four awards were announced at the event, with south Auckland mental health worker Christina Taefu taking out the top award, Overall Future Leader.

She also won the Female Future Leader category.

Ms Taefu was selected from more than 80 nominees by a judging panel of industry leaders including Industry Training Federation chief executive Josh Williams, Rachel Petero, Mark O’Grady from NZ Print, Bronwyn Yates of Literacy Aotearoa and MAI FM station manager Philip Bell.

Judging criteria looked carefully at how the nominees had overcome any hardship in their lives, their attitude to workplace training, their leadership ability and how they showed commitment to their communities.

“We agreed unanimously,” says Mr Williams, “that Ms Taefu stood out. She is clearly a future business leader in the education and mental health sectors. Through her community service and commitment to helping others, she is the embodiment of someone who has the passion and the ability to make a difference.”

A former Miss Samoa NZ, Ms Taefu works as a mental health facilitator for Framework Services in Otahuhu, currently completing a Level 4 Health and Wellbeing certificate. It was through her journey from depression and anxiety to recovery that her passion to be a mental health ambassador was ignited.

Also scooping an award was Turaukawa Bartlett, winning the Maori Future Leader award.

Turaukawa is a whanau support worker for a non-profit organisation providing health and wellness services in the Waikato district of Hauraki, who says his training as a whanau support worker has equipped him with the essential skills to ensure all whanau receive the best care possible whilst empowering them to make positive changes in their lives.

Sione Taueli Tonga won the Pasifika Future Leader award.

Sione has completed his printing apprenticeship and is now senior printer at Stratex NZ.

The judges agreed that Sione has “an amazing work ethic, has overcome adversity and focused on making positive family changes through his personal and professional development”.

Vodafone design engineering apprentice Meresiana Mata Fugawai Uluiviti won the General Future Leader award and is following in her transmission engineer father’s footsteps working in the Telco industry.

“Meresiana’s leadership and management capability is clear. She is process driven, committed and loyal, and a great team player,” said the judging panel.

As Overall Future Leader, Christina Taefu received funding to attend an eight-day Outward Bound business leadership programme. All four winners received JB Hi Fi vouchers, a Sonos Play 3 system and a year’s subscription to MYOB.