Adult Learners Week - Awards evening in Tauranga
Kylie New with Councillor Matt Cowley and Ruth Peterson
Adult Learners Week Awards were held in the Bay of Plenty last Thursday (10 September), to celebrate excellence in the adult learning arena. Nominated students, educators and providers, from both community and tertiary education gathered with their supporters and family in Council Chambers to honour Outstanding Adult Learners, Exceptional Adult Educators and Innovative Providers in the Bay of Plenty.
Community Education BOP who hosted this event, also introduced the inaugural Life Long Learner Award, created to celebrate and acknowledge those involved in community education and who embody the spirit of ako.
The Outstanding Adult Learner Award honours the student who has grown through adversity in the face of extreme odds to excel in their area of study. The soul-wrenching story of Scott White (BOP Polytechnic) identified the supreme winner in this category.
Awards were presented by TCC Councillor Matt Cowley; Director, Education and Maori Development Kieran Hewitson from BoP Polytechnic; Ruth Peterson, Manager Northern Hub, Ako Aotearoa ,and Kerri Tilby- Price – CEO of Exult, and past winner of two awards.
Recognition was also given for the Exceptional Adult Educators – the Supreme Winner was Kylie New, lead tutor of Café Operations and Food & Beverage, BoP Polytechnic. The Ti Timitanga teaching team from the Polytechnic - Jo Rodger, Matewiki Watarawi, and Justin Wigmore, was runner-up. Commendations were awarded to Lee Pearce (BOP Polytechnic), and Vikki Wright (NZ Sign Language tutor) from Katikati. As part of their awards package, they each received an Ako Aotearoa voucher to the value of $150 for any Northern Hub professional development workshop in the next 12 months.
The final awards of the evening were for Innovative Providers – entities providing creative adult education in the Bay. Janice Higgison of the Arty House (Te Puna) took out the Supreme award and the runner up was U3A. Again Ako Aotearoa donated gift vouchers to enable members of these organisations to attend a workshop.
In her address, Ruth Peterson made a plea for "better work stories" - there has been only one Adult Community Education recipient of the national award for teaching excellence, which is administered by Ako Aotearoa. At the end of the evening one of the previous awardees promised to give Ruth a better work story by accepting a nomination for the national awards in 2016.
Ako Aotearoa's Ruth Peterson
For more information about Ako Aotearoa and the tertiary teaching excellence awards, and to read about the 2015 recipients, go to