The region’s talented youth was showcased at the sixth annual Gore District Youth Council Youth Awards at the SBS St James Theatre on Saturday.
The event, hosted by comedian Guy Williams, covered about 60 nominations in 10 categories which included senior and junior awards in four sections.
The top awards were the Gore District Council junior supreme award, which was won by Hamish Goatley, and the senior supreme award, won by Luke Hillis.
About a dozen performances – including singing, poems, dancing and a crowd favourite Menzies College Rugby Dudes Can Dance item – lit up the stage alongside Mr Williams’ comedy acts.
There were video messages from Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker, Southern Steel netball players Abby Erwood, Jen O’Connell and former player Wendy Frew.
Youth council co-ordinator Eleanor Ranstead was delighted with the success of the council event.
“It was a great showcase of fantastic talent and we were absolutely thrilled to have Guy hosting the night for us,” Mrs Ranstead said.
It was Mr Williams’ first time visiting Gore but he immediately told the crowd it was “the best city in world”.
“Guy spent time in the foyer afterwards with everybody, taking photos and congratulating the youth,” Mrs Ranstead said.
“He really loved coming down here and is hoping to come back to visit in the future and possibly put on a show.”
Deputy chairwoman Emily Chamberlain (15) said the night exceeded the youth council’s expectations.
“It went really, really well. Guy was fantastic, and all of the performers on the night did a fabulous job,” Emily said.
She was proud of the event the council had been able to produce.
“I loved just seeing the council coming together and working hard to get this event to happen.”
Mrs Ranstead mirrored Emily’s sentiments and was incredibly proud of the youth council.
“They did an absolutely phenomenal job. The time, energy and the effort they have put in over the last six months is amazing,” she said.
The award winners were chosen by an independent panel of three judges who worked with youth in the region, Mrs Ranstead said.
Next year, the youth awards would be held during Youth Week, in May.
“We really want to include them during that week now and have a really big push on youth.”
The 2018 Gore District Youth Awards
Blue Light leadership award, junior
Winner: Hamish Goatley
Joint runner-up: William Ranstead and Jakob Harrex
Blue Light leadership award, senior
Winner: Laura Smith
Community Networking Trust inclusion and diversity award
Winner: Mikayla Ferguson
Gore Pakeke Lions commitment to the environment award
Winner: Jenna Graham
Winner: Ben Hargest
Gore Paper Plus working for youth award
Winner: Sophie King
Outstanding youth champion award, junior
Winner: Grace Turipa
Outstanding youth champion award, senior
Winner: Luke Hillis
Workplace Safety Southland non-conformist award, junior
Winner: Levi Smith
Runners-up: Kiera Ferguson and Ben Heaps
Highly commended: Taylah Friend
Workplace Safety Southland non-conformist award, senior
Winner: Bella Ranstead
Soroptimist International of Gore overcomers award, junior
Winner: Bridget Edwards
Runner-up: Preston Karena
Soroptimist International of Gore overcomers award, senior
Winner: Riley Howley
Gore District Council junior supreme award
Winner: Hamish Goatley
Gore District Council senior supreme award
Winner: Luke Hillis.