Winning trifecta celebrates young success in Central Hawke’s Bay

For the third year running a successful collaboration between the Waipukurau Rotary Club and Mayors Taskforce for Jobs celebrated Central Hawke’s Bay thriving young workforce in Waipawa on Wednesday and the future is looking bright! Seventeen local achievers took the stage at the Municipal Theatre to receive their qualifications at the Mayoral Graduation Ceremony and 18 young employees were nominated for the Rotary Young Employee of the Year. This year a new award was also introduced into the ceremony to recognise businesses dedicated to nurturing and empowering the next generation of workers: the Youth Friendly Employer Award.  Guest speaker Kim Walker from the Central Hawkes Bay College Careers & Gateway programme thanked local employers, “Your commitment to providing on-the-job training, practical experience and mentorship is invaluable. You’ve not only helped shape these individuals into capable professionals, but you’ve contributed to building a skilled workforce for our community.”

Shaye Anderson, also from the programme, praised the graduates, “You have proved yourselves as shining examples of what can be achieved through perseverance and determination; you have conquered challenges, acquired new skills and honed your craft. Continue to learn, grow and adapt…Be open to new experiences and keep acquiring knowledge.”

Graduates from a variety of fields were surrounded by family, employers and training advisors, as they received their qualifications from Mayor Alex Walker, “We have a long list of invited guests to acknowledge tonight, which is testament to this community and how we do things here in Central Hawke’s Bay; working together as a team who truly believes that the future of our community lies in the hands of our young people.”

Deputy Mayor Kelly Annand announced the winner of the inaugural Youth Friendly Employer Award.

Thanking all 12 nominees, she said, “It never ceases to amaze me, how many employers and people are out there that are just so committed to youth development and making sure our young people are looked after.”

Niki Lock, the nominator of this year’s winner, Stevenson & Taylor said, “Stevenson & Taylor endeavour to help out new apprentices by providing a positive working environment and good incentives to help motivate them to complete their training. They helped me complete two apprenticeships and gave me a chance to do what I enjoy doing as a job. We can always talk to anyone about issues or problems we have and someone is likely to help you whether it’s a difficult job or something outside of work.”

Rotary President Jane Hamilton and Rotary Director of Vocational and Youth Donald Cooper presented the 2023 Rotary Young Employee of the Year, which went to Gagau Robert Stanley of Craigmore Horticulture, Springhill Orchard.

President Jane Hamilton said, “Interviewing the nominees for the Young Employee of the Year was the most incredible day of my life, seeing these young people develop as they have. The recognition that their employers have given by nominating them tonight says so much about them as individuals.”

Amongst the nominees, three were highly commended: Emma Cameron of Fitzherbert Rowe, Natalie Riddell of Veolia Water ANZ and Rhys Tamanui of the Waipawa Butchery.

Gagau closed of the night thanking his employer Myles Hemara, “The way I look at it, to create great leaders, you need a great leader to mentor you. I want to give back to my staff, as my leader trained me; I can give back to the young people we employ.”

The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is a nationwide initiative, encouraging youth into education, training, work and other positive activities. It also funds Jobs in Central Hawke’s Bay through the Ministry of Social Development team.


Media Release – Central Hawke’s Bay District Council