Young high achievers from across the North Harbour region have been awarded with grants totalling nearly a quarter of a million dollars to pursue their goals and passions at the annual AIMES Awards Gala Dinner held on Saturday 10 June. 

Seven winners received $15,000 each across the categories of Arts, Innovation, Music, Education, Sport and Service to the Community (AIMES) with Supreme Winner Zoe Hobbs awarded an additional $15,000 for her athletic prowess. 

Sprint sensation Hobbs, finaled in the 100m sprint at the Commonwealth Games last year and has gone from strength to strength since, breaking the 11-second barrier with 10.97 to lower her own national and Oceania record, as well as set a new Australian all-comers’ record. 

“Since the 1970s, there hasn’t been a female sprinter from New Zealand who has competed in the Olympic Games. Everything I do between now and next year will be focused on qualifying for the Games and giving myself the best possible base, exposure to competition, and path to success at the Paris Olympics in 2024,” says Hobbs. 

Joint Sport award winner Cameron Gray, a bronze medallist at the Commonwealth Games last year in the 50m Butterfly, also has his sights set on the Olympics next year. “If the 2022 Commonwealth Games has taught me anything, it’s that special things can happen in finals,” says Gray. 

Innovation winner Alexia Hilbertidou of GirlBoss NZ fame, has grown GirlBoss to 13,500 members in eight years, with programmes implemented in more than 100 schools across New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands. 

“I believe in the unlimited possibilities for young women to go forth and change the world. In presenting me with this award, you send a message that you too believe in that future,” said Hilbertidou. 

Fellow award winners included writer/poet Lily Holloway for Education, ballet dancer Asa Waller for Arts, opera singer Tayla Alexander for Music, and environmental scientist and conservationist Spencer Potbury for Service to the Community. 

North Harbour Club President, Mike Atkinson, was blown away by the level of excellence in the AIMES Awards applications, especially the range of achievements and success achieved by rangatahi. 

“The ability of these young people is nothing short of inspiring and we are extremely lucky to have such a wealth of talent in our North Harbour region. For the Club, its members, and its sponsors, it is an honour and privilege to acknowledge the achievements of these talented individuals so early in their careers, and we will watch with interest from the side lines as they continue to develop and grow,” says Atkinson.