2016 Queen's Young Leader, Brad Olsen, and CYNZ Executive Director and Queen's Young Leader Advisory Panel member, Aaron Hape.
PR: CYNZ CONGRATULATES NEW ZEALAND'S 2016 QUEEN'S YOUNG LEADERS
COMMONWEALTH YOUTH NEW ZEALAND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2015
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director Aaron Hape today extended the organisation's congratulations to Brad Olsen and Valentino Wichman on being named as Queen's Young Leaders award winners for New Zealand and the Cook Islands respectively in the 2016 round of awards.
Brad, 18, is an advocate for young people. He spent four years on the Whangarei District Council Youth Advisory Group, where he offered advice on policies which affect young people, and is a Youth Ambassador for UNICEF NZ, providing views around children's rights. He has also volunteered with Commonwealth Youth New Zealand, to raise awareness of the Commonwealth. At the age of 17, Brad helped to set up a free healthcare clinic for young people in Whangarei. He also works with the National Youth Advisory Group, advising government departments and NGOs about issues ranging from mental health to education.
Valentino, 28, supports LGBTQI rights in the Cook Islands and is Secretary of the Te Tiara Association. After helping to draft the Cook Islands Youth Policy, she wants to spend the year as a Queen’s Young Leader working with policy makers to bring LGBQTI legislation into line with that of New Zealand and to develop support services for the LGBQTI community in the Cook Islands. In addition Valentino plays a key role in other community groups, including The Cook Islands Prostate Foundation and the Rotaract Club of Rarotonga, which offers young people aged 18 to 30 the chance to make a difference in their neighbourhood.
"I am absolutely thrilled to see the amazing work Brad and Valentino undertake has been rightly recognised by the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty The Queen," said Mr Hape, who is also a member of the panel that selects Queen's Young Leader award winners.
"Their dedication in taking a lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives should serve as an inspiration to young people around the Commonwealth, as it did for me when I read their stories."
Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the United Kingdom during which they will be conferred with their Award by The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.
New Zealand's first winner of a Queen's Young Leader award was Tabby Besley. Tabby founded InsideOUT, which aims to make schools more inclusive places for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.