Oamaru lass has her efforts recognised

Waitaki news
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Zealand youth award, winner, Emma Paton of Oamaru, has been presented with her award at a function in Parliament.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean who also attended the ceremony said she was proud to stand alongside Emma. "These awards recognise young people from around the country who have made outstanding contributions to their communities. They also include  people who have supported or championed young people," she said.

Emma, who is bi-laterally profoundly deaf, saw a gap in the support networks for young deaf people in her area, especially once they had left school, so helped establish a support group - Otago Deaf Youth.  

This  group helps young deaf people to participate in activities they might not usually get the chance to do, and establish support networks.  Emma is a talented in sports and is ranked as the No.5 woman table tennis player in Otago.  

At the recent Network Waitaki Sports Awards   Emma won the Athlete with a Disability Award and was a finalist in the Sports person of the Year Award. "Emma is a wonderful role model for both Deaf children and their parents.  They see Emma's achievements and see that the same is achievable for them or their children," said Mrs Dean.

Around 160 people and organisations were nominated for the awards and of these forty received awards. Winners included a group of university students building financial literacy skills in schools and a group of kayakers educating young people about sustainability using kayaks made from recycled plastic bottles. Individual winners included a youth worker who organised youth camps for deaf young people, a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter and a student who's been capturing on video the stories of remaining World War Two veterans.