The 2018 North Harbour Club AIMES Awards were presented for the 23rd year in late October. 23 young people, aged 25 and under, received awards across the three different categories – the AIMES Awards, the AIMES Emerging Talent Awards and the Junior Excellence Awards. The AIMES Supreme Award was won by 24 year old Sharndre Kushor of Albany. Sharndre, who also picked up the AIMES Innovation Award, was the co-founder (at just 18) of Crimson Education, an entity that has grown from a start-up into a global education company.
The AIMES Awards programme was first introduced in 1995 by the founders of the North Harbour Club. The acronym letters represent six categories in which awards are made annually for excellence to young people of the region aged between 10 and 25 years old – Arts; Innovation; Music; Education; Sport; Service to the Community. In the first 12 years awards were given in each of these categories. In 2007 the AIMES Emerging Talent Awards were added; and in 2015 the Junior Excellence Awards (for those aged 10-13) were added.
This year the Bellingham Wallace Accountancy sponsored AIMES Emerging Talent Awards and the Library Lane/NZ Force Construction sponsored Junior Excellence Awards were presented at a cocktail function held at the B:Hive at Smales Farm on Wednesday October 24th. Eight AIMES Emerging Talent Awards were presented and nine Junior Excellence Awards. The six AIMES Awards were presented at a black tie gala dinner held at the Bruce Mason Centre on Saturday October 27th. This annual dinner is a highlight of the year for the North Harbour Club and one of the true gala events for the North Shore.
"Every year we receive numerous applications that produce the most stunning recipients and I always have a slight worry that we won’t be able to match that same quality the following year,” said North Harbour Club President Phil Brosnan, in his address to the audience. "I am delighted to confirm that I had nothing to worry about as this year’s winners are an outstanding group of young people achieving excellence.”
SHARNDRE KUSHOR: The story of 2018 AIMES Supreme and Innovation Award winner Sharndre Kushor is very special. The 24 year old of South African Indian origin attended Albany Primary School, Albany Junior High and Albany Senior High School. At the age of 18, after graduating as Head Student at Albany Senior High, she co-founded Crimson Education from her family living room in Albany, an entity that has evolved from a start-up into a NZ$220 million global education company, encompassing 20,000 students and 2,000 tutors and mentors. As Chief Operating Officer, Sharndre has overseen expansion to 24 cities around the world. Just last year Crimson was recognised as Deloitte Fast 50's top three fastest growing companies with 1005% growth. Sharndre received the AIMES Innovation Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Massey University – including a cash grant of $15,000. She also received a further $15,000 as the AIMES Supreme Winner. Sharndre will use the funds to contribute towards attending an Interpersonal Dynamics for High Performance Executives course at Stanford University and also towards a charitable initiative to spread the Christmas joy to underprivileged children on the North Shore.
NATASHA WILSON: The AIMES Arts Award ($15,000) – sponsored by ASB – went to Opera Singer and former Westlake Girls student Natasha Wilson (24). Natasha credits her time at Westlake Girls High School as crucial for nurturing her love and talent for music. She says her involvement in Westlake’s choirs – Key Cygnetures and Choralation – laid the foundations. Since graduating from University in 2016, Natasha has been working as a full-time performer, mostly in classical voice. She was chosen to join the New Zealand Opera Company as part of the ensemble in 2017, touring in Gilbert and Sullivan’s 'The Mikado’. For the past year she has been undertaking an emerging artist internship with the company, performing a number of principal roles in productions. In September, Natasha started a one-year, post-graduate diploma in vocal studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the United States. The AIMES Awards funds will be used to help with this study. With a year of study at the conservatory with world-renowned vocal teacher Cesar Ulloa, Natasha hopes to set herself up to be ready to undertake a young artist programme at one of the major opera houses in the US, UK or Europe. It is through one of these young artist programmes that she plans to build the stepping stones towards a successful, professional, international career in Opera.
SALLY KIM: 23 year old Celloist Sally Kim, also a former Westlake Girls pupil, received the AIMES Music award – sponsored by Yamaha Home Entertainment – receiving a cash grant of $15,000. Sally, who also performed at the AIMES Gala Dinner, has recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours at the University of Auckland majoring in Performance Music on the Cello under the tutelage of a German cellist Edith Salzmann. She started playing the Cello at the age of five, along with the Violin and the Piano. Sally continued learning the three instruments until the age of 12, before deciding to specialise in the Cello. She has loved being a chamber musician since high school and has won many competitions, including being granted the Pettman National Junior Academy’s Special Scholarship to enable her to compete in an International Music Competition in Padova, Italy. She has also played as a Cellist in a Piano Trio, receiving an award which led to a fully funded trip to the UK to give 12 concerts and attend BBC Proms concerts. Her ensemble, Trinity Trio, gave nine concerts including performances in the St James Piccadilly in London, Edinburgh Festival, Buddleigh Salterton amongst others. The trio left such a great impression on the professors of the Royal Academy of Music, The Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music, that they invited the trio to play in the prestigious Pablo Casals Festival in France. In 2017 Sally won the Manchester Fellowship and was contracted to play as a member of the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. Part of the fellowship included being tutti cellist for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Opera. In August, Sally commenced her Master of Music Degree studies at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston (USA) with Professor Paul Katz. Sally will use the funds received from this AIMES Award towards costs associated with studying in the United States.
MICHAEL CHIENG: Former Rangitoto College head boy Michael Chieng, a doctor at North Shore Hospital, won the 2018 AIMES Education Award – sponsored by Kristin School – receiving a cash grant of $15,000. In his third year of medical training Michael elected to undertake a research studentship in public health. His project examined the risks of cycling on New Zealand roads compared with other recreational activities. This work gained national traction and the projects findings were published in the Journal of Transport and Health. In 2016 Michael embarked on an elective to Scandinavia, known for its advanced medical care and world-class facilities. In Copenhagen, Denmark, he performed an internship with the gastroenterology department at Copenhagen’s largest and most specialised hospital. There he learnt from leaders in the field of Parenteral Nutrition – the administration of nutrition via the veins, completely bypassing the normal gut digestive process. Michael brought back knowledge and skills from this overseas experience and in November last year presented a research paper at the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting titled 'Catheter-related venous thrombosis in hospital patients receiving parenteral nutrition at North Shore Hospital’. This was led by the Nutrition Support Team at Waitemata DHB. They found that the incidence of venous thrombosis in our cohort of Parenteral Nutrition patients was reassuringly comparable to international data. In the past year Michael has also been published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. He wrote a case report titled 'Clostridium difficile infections in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease'. The purpose of this publication was to update clinicians on the latest literature consensus for this type of infection in a high-risk group. At the conclusion of Michael's medical studies at the University of Auckland he was nominated as one of five finalists for the JDK North Prize in Clinical Medicine – a result of achieving the highest “distinction” grade in all of his medical rotations throughout his undergraduate study. He was also one of five students to be nominated for the Sir Carrick Robertson Prize in Surgery. He was the only student in the graduating class to be named as a finalist for both premier awards. Michael wishes to present more of his research at both international and domestic conferences. The AIMES Awards funds will help contribute to conference registration as well as publishing costs.
GEORGIA WILLIAMS: 23 year old Commonwealth Games Cycling Silver Medalist Georgia Williams received the 2018 AIMES Sport Award – sponsored by AUT Millennium – and a cash grant of $15,000. The Professional Road Cyclist received an AIMES Emerging Talent Award in 2013 – support that enabled her to move to Cambridge and be part of the New Zealand Track Cycling Team which took her to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Rio Olympics. Georgia has now turned her focus to Road Cycling with outstanding success. After shining while competing in Australia in early 2017, she was signed by one of the top professional female road cycling teams called Orica-SCOTT. They are an Australian team based in Europe. Georgia then spent seven months in Italy racing the European World Tour – her first year back racing on the road. Georgia won the New Zealand National Road Champs in Napier in January – by over four minutes. Winning the national champs gave Georgia selection for her next big goal of the season which was to get a medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. She picked up a Silver Medal in the road race. Georgia is thrilled to have been offered a contract with the team to continue to complete in Europe for the 2019 season. The team are currently ranked the top women’s team in the World. Georgia's next big goal is the Tokyo Olympics. She wants to race the time trial and the road race aiming for a medal or a top 10 position. Other goals throughout 2019 are podium positions in European world tour races and a good showing at the 2019 world champs scheduled for September. Funds from this AIMES Award will be very important in the build-up to Tokyo. They will be used for expenses in Europe, including seven months accommodation in Spain and to also assist with coaching.
ALEXANDER KUCH: 23 year old former Kingsway School pupil Alexander Kuch received the AIMES Service to the Community Award – sponsored by Albany Toyota – and a cash grant of $15,000. This award recognises Alex's journey in Children’s Rights and International Adoptions. This is important to Alex as he was adopted from Romania in 1997 by a German family and they have now lived in New Zealand for 12 years – in the North Harbour region. Alex’s family were told by a psychologist that he would not be able to lead a normal life, that school would be nearly impossible and university would not be possible. Fast-forward 20 years and he has defied the experts and was able to complete his schooling and graduate from the University of Auckland due to the support of his family, friends, and his own hard work. He is now motivated by his own experience and desires for others like him to have the opportunity to gain similar chances as he has had. He is the leading voice for children’s rights and reopening International Adoptions from Romania which have been closed since 2003. They currently have approximately 70,000 orphans in Romanian institutions. Alex was named a young NZer of the Year semi-finalist, received an award on behalf of the president of Romania and was a Downtown Rotary Peace Fellowship nominee in 2017 and has spoken globally about adoption. Ultimately, he wants to establish a global consultancy in children’s rights, advising foundations, non-profits, international governments, and corporations. Alex speaks globally about children’s rights. His autobiography, “The Adventures of Alex”, is scheduled for publication in late 2018. Alex is thrilled to receive this AIMES Award as it will help towards his long term aspirations. The funds will assist in publishing his biography as well as speaking engagements and other costs.
The eight North Harbour Club AIMES Emerging Talent Awards in 2018 went to:
Ella Cornfield (Arts) – Ella, a 20 year old former Takapuna Grammar student, is an actor, musician, singer and dancer who is studying at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
Max Lawton (Innovation) – 18 year old Entrepreneur Max is in his last year at Rangitoto College and has developed a range of natural skincare products aimed at providing young people with relief from acne.
Anna Smart (Music) – Also 18, Anna, who is in her final year at Orewa College, plays the Bagpipes and competes on the world stage.
Matthias Balzat (Music) – 19 year old Matthias is an award-winning Cellist who is studying in Germany.
Dougal Burden (Education) – Dougal, 18, is a former Takapuna Grammar student studying law at Oxford University in the UK.
Ethan Dick (Sport) – the 18 year old Rosmini College student is a member of the New Zealand gymnastics team with an aim to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Oscar Gunn (Sport) – The 19 year old former Kristin School pupil is one of New Zealand’s brightest sailing prospects (from the Murrays Bay Sailing Club) who is currently campaigning in the 49er class for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Matthew Goldsworthy (Service to the Community) – The 19 year old former Northcote College student is a musician, teacher, entrepreneur and producer who founded Youth Arts New Zealand (YANZ), a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting young talent in the arts.
As well as receiving the AIMES Emerging Talent Awards (sponsored by Bellingham Wallace), each of these recipients received a cash grant of $7,500 from the North Harbour Club.
The nine North Harbour Club Junior Excellence Awards in 2018 went to:
Janayah Wadsworth (Arts) – Janayah is 13 years old, a student at Takapuna Grammar and a singer, vocialist, musician.
Alia Cauty (Innovation) – Alia (12) is an inventor from Northcross Intermediate School. Her inventions have included an original system that can detect a water leak anywhere in your plumbing or pipework; and an electronic register to automate school roll calling.
Hermione Aris (Innovation) – Hermione (13) is a Kristin School student who is pursuing a career in STEM and Space Exploration.
Alexander Beattie (Music) – Alex is a high achieving musician/composer at Long Bay College with the ambition to study and make a career in music.
Tiffany Ho (Education) – 13 year old Tiffany attends Kristin School, and is a high academic achiever with the goal to become a medical inventor and use writing to help others.
Ryan Jefferson (Sport) – Ryan (13) attends Northcross Intermediate and is one of New Zealand’s brightest stars in Trampolining.
Sebastian Menzies (Sport) – Seb (13) from Murrays Bay Sailing Club and at Rangitoto College is a national champion sailor currently competing in the 420 class.
Jessie Honey (Sport) – Jessie (13) a Murrays Bay Intermediate student, is a nationally ranked track athlete (400 and 800 metres) who also excels at Netball and Basketball.
Kate McIntosh (Service to the Community) – 13 year old Kate, of Northcross Intermediate, has invented the eWhistle, a device to help people with a hearing disability to play team sports.
As well as receiving the Junior Excellence Awards (Sponsored by Library Lane & NZ Force Construction), each of these recipients received a cash grant of $3,000 from the North Harbour Club.