Pacific ingenuity and entrepreneurs recognised at YES Awards

posted: 10:00 am - 7th December 2018

(Picture caption: Laulu Mac Leauanae and some of the Kulture Splash team at the YES Awards.)

The ambition and achievements of young entrepreneurs has been celebrated and recognised at the 2018 Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Awards.  

Around 4000 senior secondary students have taken part in YES this year, setting up over 900 companies between them, however, only 21 of those companies made it to the national final, where the YES Company of the Year along with a number of others were presented.  

Chief Executive at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Laulu Mac Leauanae attended the final gala dinner staged at TSB Arena, to congratulate the winners of the MPP Award for Excellence in Pasifika Business - Kulture Splash.

Manurewa High School’s Louisa Dale, Christianya Seumanu, Shimral Singh and Summer Nanai make up Kulture Splash (pictured below), who started the year with a clear mission to address health related issues in the Pacific community by introducing an Otai frozen yoghurt.


Popular among Pacific communities, the Otai drink is traditionally a high sugar fruit punch.

Kulture Splash’s healthy alternative – Otai yoghurt – has received a lot of publicity with the team being invited to participate in a Matariki celebration and appearing on Tagata Pasifika.

The Ministry is very supportive of YES, an experimental programme where students set up and run a real business or company, and create a product or service while experiencing what it is like to go to market.

It also funds a dedicated Roaming Teacher – Pasifika - Lucy Whmer - for YES, which is part of the Young Enterprise Trust.

Meanwhile, the Lion Foundation YES Company of the Year Award went to Volt Electrics, from Henderson High School.

The company was awarded $3000, as well as a $5000 scholarship for each company member to the Massey University Business School. 

Volt Electrics create sustainable and affordable e-bikes using recycled laptop batteries, and old bikes that were otherwise destined for landfill.

They now have four battery pack products available and have secured placement opportunities with AvantiPlus.

Second place was Top That! from Tauhara College which sells 100% vegan, all organic meal toppings to add flavour to even the blandest of meals.

The company was awarded $2000, as well as an additional $1000 for their school.

Limitless from Nelson College came third with their product the Nanosign – a cost-effective and innovative sign to cover speed signs and improve road safety in New Zealand, and the company was awarded a $1000 cash prize and $1000 for their school.

Among the judges for the competition were YES Alumni and Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King, Business Development Manager of HSBC, Peter Fogarty, and The Lion Foundation Chairman Simon Whyte.

This public event was the final culmination of the companies’ business year after 10 months of building their businesses from scratch.

Among the guests present to celebrate the success of these young people, was Her Excellency Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and other dignitaries.

Visit YES for more information on the initiative, and MPP to see what the Ministry does to support the scheme.