Courtney Bellringer, of Inglewood, receives her award from the Governor-general at a special ceremony for the 1999 SPCA Young Animal Carer of the Year Awards, held at the SPCA Animal Village in Auckland on Sunday February 12, 2000. - Photo by Dianne Haworth
Top young animal carers
receive their awards
OUTSTANDING young animal carers from throughout New Zealand gathered at the SPCA Animal Village in Auckland on Sunday, February 13, to receive their awards, presented by the Governor-general of New Zealand, Sir Michael Hardie-Boys.
The two age-group prizewinners for the inaugural 1999 SPCA CHEF Young Animal Carer of the Year Award were Ben Lakomy, 15, from Wellington and Courtney Bellringer, 11, of Taranaki. Both have won a trip for two to the Zoofari Lodge, in Dubbo, New South Wales, through the competition's sponsor, CHEF. Ben and Courtney also received a set of 40 Animal Ark books from Hodder Moa Beckett publishers.
Celebrity judges, Mary Lambie and Mark Leishman, joined the executive director of Auckland's SPCA, Bob Kerridge, sponsors Heinz Wattie and Hodder Moa Beckett publishers, to select winners from the 97 entries received. Judges looked for an ongoing commitment to animal welfare, with winning entries including videos, drawings, photos and diaries of work carried out by these dedicated young people.
Contestants were asked to submit either a day-to-day diary or an essay describing their work for the welfare of their own pet, or any other animals in their area.
The animal or animals did not have to be pets - contestants could be assisting to preserve a native creature habitat in their area, helping to find homes for their area's strays, or any other such involvement. The submission was to be at least 250 words long, but not over 1000 words.
Winners and runners-up in Category 1 (11 and under) were:
Winner: Courtney Bellringer, 11, of Inglewood, Taranaki. Courtney says she loves all animals and enjoyed working on her submission.
Runners-up: Nicole Hansen, 9, Hamilton 2; Chelsea Marriner, 8, Reporoa 3.
Certificates of Merit - Lydia Lowe of Hamilton, Charlotte Joblin of Masterton, Emma-Jane Tinkler of Auckland and Jodie Verhuist of Kaeo.
Category 2 (12-18 years) winner and runners-up were:
Winner - Ben Lakomy, 15, of Wellington. Ben is already a seasoned campaigner for animal causes and volunteers his time to SPCA and other areas of animal welfare. Runners-up - Nicole White, 15, of Papamoa 2; Wendy Yates, 16, of Auckland 3.
Certificates of merit - Fern Wendt-Corfe of Kaukapakapa, Stacey Lees of Paeroa, Danielle Mills-Crook of Paeroa, Amie Ritchie of Rotorua, Katie Shore of Wellington, Michael Stevenson of Rawene, Kate Voice of Auckland.
The winning school entry came from Year 2-3 at Ohaeawai School in Kaikohe, Northland, where Teach (the school's adopted cat) receives plenty of care and attention from the pupils. Parents of Ohaeawai School pupils drove seven class representatives down to Auckland to collect their class certificate. They also received a set of Animal Ark books from Hodder Moa Beckett publishers for the school library.
The number of schools entering the contest was rather disappointing for both the SPCA and for Hodder Moa Beckett, who donated the school prize. There were only two schools that entered, both showing very good quality and enthusiasm, so it is hoped that more schools will take this year's awards on as an educational school project that could also benefit the school library.
To that end as many schools as possible were contacted by October to bring to the teachers' attention the benefits of participation. See issue three for details.
This year's contest was launched last month to coincide with International Animal Week. The SPCA and sponsors will be hoping the weather gives them as good a day for the next event as they enjoyed for the February presentation ceremony.
The SPCA is to be congratulated on organising such a contest, as it is through such events that New Zealand's young people will learn to care for both their own, and the country's wild and companion friends. By guiding the young towards thoughtful care of animals, the welfare of New Zealand animals in future years is certain to be affected in a positive way.
|Ben Lakomy, of Wellington, receives his award from the Governor-general at a special award ceremony in February. - Photo by Dianne Haworth