• 2017 AIMES Award Winners who were at the gala dinner held at the Bruce Mason Centre on Takapuna. From left: Melanie Bracewell, Alexia Hilbertidou, Alex Maloney, Molly Meech and Lewis Fry.
  • 2017 AIMES Award Supreme Winner Lewis Fry with the Sir Peter Blake Trophy.

2017 AIMES Award recipients

Top award goes to talented North Shore doctor

With the desire to treat incurable blindness, the excellence of young talented North Shore doctor Lewis Fry has been recognised with the Supreme Award at this year's AIMES Awards. These awards were presented at a gala dinner at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on Saturday November 11th.

The annual AIMES Awards (Arts, Innovation, Music, Education, Sport and Service to the Community) are the innovation of the North Harbour Club, a group of business and community leaders north of the Harbour Bridge, aspiring to help talented youth achieve even higher. 2017 sees the celebration of 22 years of rewarding youth excellence in the region, with grants totaling $2 Million dollars over this period.

The Supreme Award winner Lewis Fry (24) is a Takapuna local and an ex-Kristin School pupil and DUX, and has very recently taken up a Rhodes Scholarship at The University of Oxford, undertaking a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences. This will allow him to spend the next three years working on gene editing technology ‘CRISPR’ to edit DNA and treat incurable blindness.  CRISPR has changed the game for genetic diseases.

Lewis says Young people from the North Shore do incredible things. It’s an immense those who have previously won this award.

"I am so grateful for the opportunities that are provided by an AIMES Award. These awards only exist because of a strong community and committed leaders who are contributing to our future and I thank the North Harbour Club for their efforts.

"I go forward knowing that I am part of this supportive community, and I take great pride in representing the North Shore and representing New Zealand. I hope I can one day look back on this as the base that allowed me to develop a career that improved the health of New Zealanders and helped science flourish in New Zealand.”

Andrea Davies, Chair of the AIMES Awards Judging panel, says that the depth of youth talent emerging from the North Harbour region continually amazes the judges.  "Every year at the AIMES Awards we think we've reached a pinnacle, yet we continue to be impressed, it's a very humbling experience to be involved with such talented youth.”

With 176 nominees this year the judges were presented with a tough task to select the category winners and overall supreme winner.  The judges were also inspired to see many of our past Junior Excellence and Emerging Talent winners forging the path in their career and this year going on to win Emerging Talent or the AIMES Awards level.

The AIMES Awards are divided into categories of Excellence (the Supreme winner is selected from within this group). Applicants must display excellence in the areas of the Arts, Innovation, Music, Education, Sport and Service to the Community.  Emerging Talent winners are also selected from this group of applicants aged between 14 and 25 years. The Junior Excellence Awards are categorized in the same way and are aged between 10 and 13 years of age.

Supreme winner Lewis faced tough competition from fellow AIMES Award recipients; comedian Melanie Bracewell (22), computer scientist Jun Bing (24), cellist Jacky Siu (21), Olympic sailors Alex Maloney (25) and Molly Meech (24) and Alexia Hilbertidou (18) an activist and entrepreneur.

Two days prior to the gala dinner, AIMES Emerging Talent Awards and Junior Excellence Awards were also presented to another 16 exceptional young people at a function held at The Wharf (Northcote Point) with their friends and family in attendance.

A total of $200,000 in AIMES Awards grants were made in 2017. These went to:- AIMES Supreme Award and Education Award, $30,000: Doctor, Lewis Fry (25); AIMES Arts Award, $15,000: Comedian Melanie Bracewell (22); AIMES Innovation Award, $15,000: Computer Scientist Jun Bing (24); AIMES Music Award, $15,000: Cellist Jacky Siu (21); AIMES Sport Award, share $20,000: Olympic Sailors Alex Maloney (25) and Molly Meech (24); AIMES Service to the Community Award, $15,000: Activist and Entrepreneur Alexia Hilbertidou (18).

AIMES Emerging Talent Awards (Grants of $7500 each) went to:- Zoe White (18) ARTS – Ballet Dancer; Blake Tolmie (15) INNOVATION – Inventor; Lauren Bennett (21) MUSIC – Violinist; Matthew Beardsworth (18) MUSIC – Musician and Composer; Courtney Davies (21) EDUCATION - Microbiologist; Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (21) SPORT – Netballer; Cameron Webster (22) SPORT – Rower; Olivia McTaggart (17) SPORT – Pole Vaulter; Ian Lim (19) SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY – Community Champion.

AIMES Junior Excellence Awards (Grants of $3000 each) went to:- Jasmine Jarad (13) INNOVATION - Innovator/App Developer; Jesse Oh (13) MUSIC - Singing, Piano, Violin and Viola; Caitlin O’Reilly (13) SPORT - Swimmer; Chantelle May (13) SPORT - Fencer; Maggie Squire (12) SPORT - Diving; George Rush (12) SPORT - Yachting; Logan Somerville (11) SPORT - Karate.