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What are the ONYA Awards?

The ONYA Awards are a refresh and rebrand of our previously named Citizen and Young Achiever Awards.

Every year we hold an awards evening, where members of the community are acknowledged and celebrated for the incredible achievements and positive difference they have made within their communities through their outstanding dedication and community spirit.

Our ONYA Awards recognise our star players – the people making a positive difference in our communities in so many different ways. People who don’t usually seek the limelight, but deserve to be acknowledged.

Why are they called the ONYA Awards?

It’s our way of saying Good OnYa – you’ve made a difference.

In Hauraki District, we care about each other, we care about looking after the environment and we care about keeping our communities vibrant and safe.

It takes a big team effort to build a future with connected people, healthy environments, and a strong economy.

We wanted the name of the awards to reflect that. Just like the Oscars represent the best of the arts, we think the ONYA's will become instantly recognisable as the local award that celebrates the best of our community champions.

Why has the change happened now?

We postponed the Awards in 2020, due to COVID, so we took the opportunity to refresh the look and feel of the way we say "good on ya".

We also wanted to broaden the scope and be more inclusive in the way we acknowledge and celebrate outstanding community service within the Hauraki District.

What is different? 

Previously, we had awards for Citizens (aged over 25) and Young Achievers (aged 13- 25) and there were requirements for a minimum length of service. There were also restrictions on how many nominations any one entity could submit.

We want the ONYA Awards to be as inclusive as possible, so we’ve removed these restrictions. Now you can nominate anyone of any age doing something special in any of our award categories, no matter how long they’ve been doing it!

The new categories are:

ONYA  - for caring about your community - Individual award for service to the community;

ONYA  - for working together to make a difference - Community group award for service to the community;

ONYA  - for knocking it out of the park - Award for service or achievement in Sport or Recreation;

ONYA  - for enhancing and enriching our lives - Award for service or achievement in Arts or Culture.

The Council's Special Awards Working Party will also decide the recipient of the ONYA - Tu Meke award, chosen from the successful nominees in the four categories above.

ONYA  - Tu Meke / for going above and beyond - Special award for outstanding service to the community.

Who can make a nomination?
  • Any member of the community can nominate a person they think is worthy of a Hauraki District Council ONYA Award. Another person must second the nomination.
  • An executive officer of any bona fide organisation, association, club, or society based in the Hauraki District. Another executive officer must second the nomination.
Who can’t make a nomination?

Members of Council’s Special Awards Working party, who decide on the winners.

What must be included in the nomination?

We want to hear all about the nominee’s achievement and involvement, so make sure you tell us everything about what makes their contribution special, not just their official title or duties.

You can include photographs, testimonials or any other supporting documentation.

A nomination form must be signed by:

a) two residents of the District, or
b) two executive officers of a bona fide organisation, association, club, or society.

Who can be nominated?

The ONYA Awards recognize substantial service (usually of a voluntary nature or beyond normal employment) or achievement within the Hauraki community for any of the following:

ONYA  - for caring about your community - Individual award for service to the community;

ONYA - for working together to make a difference - Community group award for service to the community;

ONYA - for knocking it out of the park - Award for service or achievement in Sport or Recreation;

ONYA - for enhancing and enriching our lives - Award for service or achievement in Arts or Culture.

The Council's Special Awards Working Party will also decide the recipient of the OnYa - Tu Meke award, chosen from the successful nominees in the four categories above.

ONYA -Tu Meke / for going above and beyond - Special award for outstanding service to the community.

In exceptional circumstances, an award may be granted to a non-Hauraki resident, if the service has been carried out wholly or predominantly in the Hauraki District.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again! Nominations are not a one time thing. If the nominee wasn’t an award recipient, they can be entered again in subsequent years.

Nominees who have previously received a New Zealand National Honour are still eligible for an ONYA Award nomination.

Where can I get nomination forms?

Hard copies of the nomination forms as well as guidelines and FAQs will be available from Hauraki District Council Service Centres and Libraries, or you can download them from our website

When do nominations close?

All nominations must be received by 4pm, Tuesday 31 August 2021.

How do I complete a nomination form?
  • Please complete the nomination form completely and accurately;
  • It is important that you provide as much factual, relevant information as possible about your nominee and the reasons for which recognition is sought;
  • Describe what is special about your nominee’s achievements and what they have done to deserve a ONYA Award;
  • Tell the story of how they have made a difference in their community or field of work and give an indication of their longevity of service;
  • Show how they have improved the lives of others, or exemplified selfless service;
  • You may list your nominee’s occupation and positions held in organisations, but you need to be specific about the achievements that make them stand out above and beyond their peers;
  • Support letters add depth to the nomination and validate your nominee’s character and achievements;
  • Unfortunately, you can’t nominate yourself for a ONYA Award, and any such nominations will not be considered.
How do I submit a nomination form?

Nominations opened on Friday the 30 July 2021 and closed on Tuesday 31 August 2021.

The nomination form and supporting information can either be submitted online;

Nominations are now closed.

Can I make additions or changes to the information submitted?

Please email ATTN: Community Development Advisor (Social) if there have been any changes to the nominee’s personal details or any other information supplied on the nomination form.

What happens next?
  • You will receive a letter from the Office of the Mayor to inform you if your nomination has been successful or unsuccessful;
  • If your nominee is successful we will contact you to share the news of their impending award;
  • An official letter will be sent from the Office of the Mayor to congratulate the awardee and provide information on the ceremony.
  • A short citation will be written based on the information you provide. This will be presented to the awardee in advance of the ceremony to ensure all details are correct.
How many awards are given out?

The number of ONYA awards available each year is strictly limited. Not everyone can receive recognition unfortunately, no matter how worthy their accomplishments. It is important to realise that an award will not automatically follow a nomination.

What if my nomination is not successful?

If your nomination is unsuccessful, you as well as the person you nominated will be contacted and informed. You’ll both still receive an invitation to attend the awards evening to celebrate those who were chosen to receive awards.

If you have nominated someone in previous years and they have been unsuccessful, then you may assume that the nomination has lapsed. In order for your nominee to be reconsidered, you will need to submit an updated nomination form and supporting documents.

  • Local media may be invited to attend the ceremony;
  • Photographs taken will be used in the public domain.
  • A media release will be generated by the Hauraki District Council Communications team after the awards evening to celebrate those who received awards.

The consent of the person being nominated is not required. Nominators are asked to treat the nomination as CONFIDENTIAL. To avoid possible embarrassment, nominees should not be informed of their nomination until after the recipients are decided.

If you have any further questions or require guidance in the preparation of the nomination, please contact:

Katie Mclaren
Community Development Advisor (Social)
Hauraki District Council
Ph: 07 862 8609
Email: katie.mclaren@hauraki-dc.govt