Recognising those who have flourished

Te Kura O Paeraki Mt Pleasant School recipients Matthew Courtney and Payton Hayward with Principal Donna Ellery

Te Kuro o Te Tihi o Kahukura Heathcote Valley School recipients (L to R) Jamie Irwin, Belle Smith, and Aislinn Foote with Deputy Principal Gretchen Cocks

Te Raekura Redcliffs School recipients (L to R) Hugo Barton, Euan Wylie, Izzy Godfrey-Morris, and Lucia Leeper

Te Kura O Matuku Takotako Sumer School recipients (L to R) Marshall Gibson, Katrina McPhail, Issy Strachan and Kobe Colema

Last year’s Year 8 students are starting to think about the transition to high school with excitement and a maybe a little bit of trepidation. And, their parents are thinking about the transition too because it’s not an inexpensive exercise with need for new uniforms and new technology. To assist with these costs, the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation introduced the Puawai Award in 2020. The award recognises students who flourished in the final year of primary school. Each school determines their own criteria for the award, and the number of recipients they wish to recognise. Nick Leith, principal of Te Raekura Redcliffs School commented “For our four recipients, it’s a well earned award as they embody the school values. They are leaders in their own right; in the way they interact with all students as well as mentoring the young ones. They clearly demonstrate authentic leadership.

The 13 recipients of the Puawai Award are a diverse group. Ask them their favourite subjects and you find maths and PE are a common theme, with writing and art a close second. In their spare time they are an active bunch, playing basketball, football, hockey, and netball; and surfing, snowboarding, running, ocean training and horse-riding. Music, art, reading and computer games also feature. Next year they are heading off in different directions to nine different Christchurch high schools.

What impressed me was many of them had such clear aspirations as such an early age” said Jane Paterson, a Trustee of the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation. “It might be to earn a place on the Freeride World Tour for snowboarding, to represent Christchurch at the Eventing Championships this year, to earn a medal at the 2024 National Surf Lifesaving competitions, or to even join a rock band. They have both short and long-term goals and I am sure they will do their best to make them a reality.

Whilst the Puawai Awards are for Year 8 students, the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation also offers a range of academic and Outward Bound scholarships, and apprentice and environment awards. Applications are now open for the 2024 Scholarships and Awards programme; more information is available at