On 31 October, the 14th Mana Pounamu Young Achievers Awards were held in Dunedin. Forty-one pupils from Otago won awards, recognising both achievement and potential of rakatahi Māori. Josh Arana Hill (Ngāi Tahu nō Awarua Rūnanga, Ngāpuhi) was a recipient and he also received a Hands-on Science Scholarship, which enables him to attend Otago University for one week during the holidays with all accommodation and course fees covered; the scholarship is valued at $650.

We are very proud of Josh’s achievements and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the awards, celebrating all of the students achievements throughout Otago.

Josh was also recently invited to be a part of an upcoming Highlanders Under 17 Rugby programme.

We would like to include the letter, which Josh’s deputy school principal kindly wrote. Nā Nicky and Allan (parents) and Diane Hill (Grandmother).

School endorsement letter for Joshua
Josh is a Year 11 student at South Otago High School (SOHS). He is currently undertaking full studies for NCEA Level 1 English, mathematics, science, geography, accounting and economics. He has gained all of his available credits to date at merit and excellence level and is well on his way to achieving his academic goals of both subject and overall endorsements at Level 1.

Josh has been heavily involved in the wider realm of school life. Within his leadership role as a sports captain he has been a school haka leader. He was also the designated haka leader for his house, Blaikie House, in the recent Interhouse haka and waiata competition. Josh takes his cultural roles seriously and is always happy to help out.

Josh is also an outstanding all-round sportsman, having represented SOHS in a range of sports, most notably cricket, athletics and rugby.

Josh has performed with distinction in athletics, where he has represented the school at regional and South Island level. This year, Josh broke a long-standing school record for discus at the SOHS athletics day. He is also the SOHS U15 athletics champion.

Josh was a member of the high performing SOHS 1st XV in 2014, having also played age grade rugby within the club. He was a starting member of this year’s team, a significant achievement for a Year 11 student. He was also the captain of the SOHS U15 team, which won the recent South Island U15 Junior Rugby Tournament in Queenstown.

He led the team superbly and was rewarded by being selected in the overall tournament team. This was Josh’s third trip to this tournament, having been in both the 2012 and 2013 squads also.

Josh has also represented Otago Country in age-grade rugby at secondary school, having played in the U14 team, which won the South Island age-grade tournament in Invercargill last year. This year he was a member of the Country U16 team and they participated in the South Island Tournament in October. In 2013, Josh was also awarded the Southern Region (South West Otago) U15 player of the year and most promising junior player.

Josh is always personable and wholly reliable. He takes his academic studies and sports training very seriously and has a strong motivation to be the best young man he can be.

Although quiet in nature, he serves as a much respected role model within the junior school and is therefore a very worthy recipient for this award. Nā Greg Heller, deputy principal of South Otago High School.

Josh Hill.

Josh Hill.