A big congratulations to Abbas Nazari and Josiah Tavita Tualamali’I, both UC Arts graduates, who are semi-finalists in the 2022 University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the year.
ABBAS NAZARI (CHRISTCHURCH)
When Abbas Nazari and his family fled their home country of Afghanistan, they didn’t know they would be taking a perilous journey across the ocean.
Rescued with more than 400 other asylum seekers, from a boat on the brink of collapse by Norwegian vessel, the Tampa, was just the beginning of the story. When New Zealand offered refuge to the families on board, it was a turning point in Abbas’ life.
Since then, Abbas has taken every opportunity that has come his way. From playing rugby and entering spelling bees to winning a Fulbright Scholarship.
While completing a Master’s in Security Studies at Georgetown University, Abbas wrote After the Tampa: from Afghanistan to New Zealand – which has become a number one bestseller.
Most recently, Abbas has been advocating for greater assistance for Afghan refugees. Abbas’ success is a testament to his strong community, work ethic, and curiosity which has propelled him through life.
JOSIAH TAVITA TUALAMALI’I (CHRISTCHURCH)
Politically engaged and motivated to speak out and help others, Josiah Tualamali’i is extraordinary.
An activator for mental health, equity and Pasifika leadership, Josiah is the youngest person to have been a panel member of a Government Inquiry (Mental Health and Addictions 2018) and that same year accompanied Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands to represent New Zealand’s young Pacific people.
In 2016 he received the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award for Leadership and Inspiration. Born in Dunedin and of Samoan Pākehā heritage, Josiah’s goal is to foster social agency, ensuring all New Zealanders voices are heard.
He is a Director on the board of Le Va, which promotes Pacific wellbeing and leads work on mental health and suicide prevention.
A postgraduate student, he co-led the petition to parliament calling for recognition of the dawn raids and successfully sought an apology from the Government.
Find out more about the other Young New Zealander of the Year semi-finalists here: University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year Award (nzawards.org.nz)
We are also excited to announce that UC Professor Bronwyn Hayward has been selected as a semi-finalist for the inaugural Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year.
You can find out more about the New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year awards here: Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year (nzawards.org.nz)