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Young Kiwi changemakers recognised for important mahi

04 January 2024

Congratulations to the 2024 University of Canterbury (UC) Young New Zealander of the Year Te Mātātahi o te Tau Award semi-finalists.


We are proud to have two UC students and three UC graduates among the 10 inspiring young Kiwis.  

Graduating with Honours in Engineering from UC, Bariz Shah is a strong advocate for the Muslim community. His impact is seen through his work acting as a ministerial advisor, fundraising for displaced people in Afghanistan, and advocating for a safer New Zealand.  

Having recently completed her Bachelor of Arts in Māori and Indigenous Studies and Psychology at UC, Cha’nel Kaa-Luke (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Turi) is a Deaf Māori wahine who advocates for spaces to cater to the diverse needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing rangitahi.

Josiah Tualamali’i is currently studying towards a Master of Arts at UC. He is an instrumental changemaker in the spaces of mental health and equity. Josiah drives social justice in the community by championing children’s rights, advising the government, and advocating for systemic change. Read more about his story here.  

Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce from UC, Julia Arnott-Neenee is a trailblazer for Pacific representation, co-founding Fibre Fale, a Pacific, purpose-led organisation that builds pathways for Pacific people in technology. She recently received the UC Young Alumni Entrepreneur Award for her mahi. Find more about Julia here.  

Keegan Jones gained a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce from UC. As a young lawyer, he is passionate about helping his iwi and empowering Māori in Te Tai Tokerau. Keegan’s dedication to providing accessible legal support has seen him launch Northland’s first collaborative legal services clinic and the NZ Free Legal Clinics Project across Aotearoa New Zealand. His work has recently been recognised with the UC Young Alumni Community Impact Award. Learn about Keegan’s story here.  

The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa honour outstanding New Zealanders for their contribution to the wellbeing of Aotearoa across seven categories. You can see the complete list here.  

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