Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

GirlBoss Awards celebrate young female trailblazers from across Aotearoa

GirlBoss Founder Alexia Hilbertidou (Samoan/Greek). Photo / www.girlboss.nz

From cultural crafters to community advocates and songstresses, the GirlBoss Awards were held in Auckland last night to honour nine extraordinary young female trailblazers from across Aotearoa. Created by 20-year-old GirlBoss NZ founder Alexia Hilbertidou, of Samoan and Greek descent, the awards are designed to uplift and celebrate young Kiwi women who enrich their communities through their talents, creative ideas and businesses. 

At just 12 years old, Pōtiki Poi creator Georgia Tiatia Fa’atoese Latu won the Supreme Trailblazer Award. Together with her family, Georgia makes eco-friendly, original poi which are sold and distributed through their website (https://potikipoi.co.nz/) In an interview with The Project NZ, Georgia shared her passion for poi: “Ever since I was younger I would always play with pois. Having been raised in Te Ao Māori, I’ve just loved my culture.”

Pōtiki Poi founder Georgia Tiatia Fa’atoese Latu. Photo / potikipoi.co.nz

The Emerging Leader prize was presented to Samoan entrepreneur Maia Filisita Mariner of Wellington for her shoe bank operation Lazy Sneakers (https://lazysneakers.co.nz/). 14-year-old Maia collects second-hand sneakers from the community to distribute to those who need them. “I created Lazy Sneakers because I saw a need. A need to help others who could not participate in sports or activities because they didn’t have the right footwear. Everyone deserves the chance to play, everyone should be able to have fun and everyone definitely deserves the right to reach their full potential.”

Lazy Sneakers Founder Maia Filisita Mariner with Walter Taulelei, President of Wellington Basketball. Photo / lazysneakers.co.nz

18-year-old Wellingtonian Roseta Lopa won the Arts & Culture Award for her contribution to music. Roseta founded the all-female singing trio Le ART, who featured alongside Vince Harder, Maisey Rika and Sol3 Mio on the Gospel album Offering and serenaded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House.

Le ART. Photo / www.facebook.com/Le.ART.NZ/

Hilbertidou, who last month won the PBT Business and Entrepreneurship Award at the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards,  was impressed with the calibre of nominations this year, and believes these women are the future leaders of New Zealand. “It’s important that we recognise the contribution of our young women and encourage them to keep striving and working hard, not only for themselves but for the great things they can do for their community, country and the world.”

The Awards were held in partnership with Trade Me. Read the full list of winners below:

Supreme Trailblazer Award
Georgia Tiatia Fa’atoese Latu (12) – Potiki Poi

Innovation Award
Brooke Moore (16) – Wrapt

STEM Award
Yashna Kumar (16) – Makers Space

Emerging Leader Prize
Maia Filisita Mariner (14) – Lazy Sneakers

Online Impact Award
Tayla Nasmith (18) – Mummys in Need

Sustainability Award
Sophie Handford (18) – School Strike 4 Climate

Community Award
Emily Hackett Pain (18) – PapersPensPencils

Arts & Culture Award
Roseta Lopa (18) – Le ART

Activator Award
Hailey Jay Bolton (12) – Teaching children about environmental protection

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