Northern Territory Young Achiever Awards

2021 Finalists


Charles Darwin University Innovation Award:

Emma Warren, 24 of Anula is empowering young people to feel confident. Emma is a Young Female Empowerment Coach who founded She Flourishes, a company dedicated to empowering and helping young women reach their full potential and strive to accomplish their goals. She launched a website and gave away a free e-book on “How to Have Fun Gaining Self Confidence”. Emma organised her first Mother Daughter Self-Love Lunch, which had over 100 attendees. She launched her Flourish in Life Program, a six-week program with modules, toolkits and more. Prior to her life coach journey, Emma founded Social Splash, a social media advertising, strategic management, photography and consultancy business

Faye Dickson, 29 of Darwin is committed to making people with disability feel better connected and engaged. Faye led the planning of and facilitated the All Abilities Expo, the first disability expo in the Northern Territory, bringing together the disability sector and providing a chance for people with a disability to meet local providers and choose services. The Expo was attended by over 50 exhibitors and 600 attendees. Faye also organised for local sports clubs to attend the Expo and showcase how inclusive they are. There were guest panel discussions where people with a disability asked questions to industry experts. Faye applied for funding through APM Communities


NT Government Young Carers Award:

Chrissie Taylor, 14 of Darwin understands that it is natural to care for family. Chrissie helps her mother look after her older sister, Amanda, who has autism. Chrissie assists Amanda in doing things like having a shower, going to bed, or getting her food so Amanda can start doing them by herself. Chrissie looks after her sister every day after school and during weekends. She aids Amanda in playing netball, a sport that Amanda loves but sometimes forgets. Chrissie attends Young Carer’s activities every year to get a better understanding of her sister’s situation and spend time around people who also care for their family members

Khalehla Cartwright, 16 of Herbert is a family-oriented person. Khalehla is a full-time student who has taken on the responsibility of assisting her parents with caring for her 15-year-old sister who has special needs, Emmeline, along with her three other younger siblings. Khalehla ensures Emmeline washes her hair and body and brushes her teeth. She escorts her sister and supervises her so Emmeline doesn’t get taken advantage of, or become angry and violent around children. As the eldest of five children, Khalehla has on multiple occasions had to put her studies aside to care for her siblings and spends around 30 hours per week on her caring duties

Sinafoni Naufahu, 18 of Alice Springs has unconditional love and support. Sinafoni is a Teacher Aide who cares for her 4-year-old brother, Edward, who has a rare condition called Goldenhar Syndrome, autism, eczema and food allergies. Edward is unable to walk, crawl or stand and uses a specialised walker, stroller and hoist. Sinafoni cares for her brother for 8 to 10 hours a day. Sinafoni also helps care for her 8-year-old and 6-year-old siblings as her mother has Type 2 diabetes and hypertension and her dad works long night shifts. In 2019, Sinafoni took eight weeks off school to care for Edward through his Cochlear Implant Surgery


Glencore McArthur River Mining Regional and Rural Initiative Award:

Melanie Gunner, 22 of Gillen is an advocate for youth mental wellbeing. Melanie is the Chair of the NT Youth Round Table where mentors educate each other on how life is in the different regional and rural communities and pitch solutions to the Chief Minister’s team. Melanie is a Youth Engagement Officer at the Alice Springs Town Council and Community Engagement Officer at Headspace Alice Springs. She delivers workshops and presentations and organises community events such as FABAlice, an LGBTQIA+ event, and Sun’s Out Heads Out Day, which was attended by over 400 students. Melanie won the 2020 Young Person Award for Mental Health Week

Alexandra Craig, 27 of Gillen is an Aboriginal Land Rights Lawyer at the Central Land Council (CLC), working with and empowering First Nation’s People. She drafts Community Development Agreements, provides legal advice to constituents of the CLC and undertakes other Aboriginal Land Rights Act and native title legal work. Alexandra is also a Sports Trainer at AFL Northern Territory, where she ensures games are safer for all athletes, provides first aid and helps manage injuries. She is a casual Regional Support Worker for Alice Springs Youth Accommodation and Support Services and a member at NT Law Society’s Legal Education Committee and NT Women Lawyer’s Association

James Arratta, 24 of Leanyer is fuelled by his care for people. James is a Remote Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) worker at the Royal Darwin Hospital. He travels to Tiwi Islands and Belyuen Communities three times a week to run AOD sessions with the women’s centre, schools, community groups and members, and attend local community events to better connect, raise awareness and educate through programmed sessions. He also coaches the Under-18 Waratah Football Club. James previously worked in an administrative role at the Belyuen Health Centre. He won the 2019 Health Professional of the Year and currently studies a Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs at CDU


Zip Print Sport Award

Kaylee Dunn, 14 of Fannie Bay is a road and track junior cyclist who competes for the Darwin Cycling Club representing Northern Territory. She competes in the Australian Junior Track Championships and the National Junior Track Series. Her love for cycling came from participating in the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival where she won the 1000m Burnie Wheel Race at age 9. Kaylee mentors less experienced cyclists at her club, both younger and older. Despite the cancellation of tournaments in 2020, Kaylee continued to train six days a week to ensure she is ready to compete. She has won a Boarding Scholarship to Immanuel College in Adelaide for 2021-2024

Jaimie Bryant, 17 of Katherine strives to reach the highest level in everything she does. As a young Indigenous female, Jaimie understands she has to work harder to find academic and high-level sporting opportunities. Between juggling school, sports and work, she has managed to represent Big Rivers and Northern Territory in netball, soccer and AFL. She has also represented Australia as part of the 2019 Wanderers Australia Netball team. Jaimie drives for 3 hours for an opportunity to improve her skills in AFL as a utility in the Saint Mary’s Women’s Premier League side. Jaimie currently works part-time to fund most of her sporting activities

Sherika Mahoney, 11 of Alpurrurulam has overcome adversity to excel in sports. Sherika lost her leg when she was six months old and has suffered from poor-fitting prosthetic legs over the years. But Sherika is interested in running and AFL. She strived to compete in Darwin for the School Sport Australia Athletic Championships. At 10, she was selected to represent her school at The Barkly Region Interschool Athletics Carnival. She was then selected to represent The Barkly Region at the NT Athletics Championships. She competed against able body and multiclass students and won four gold medals. She hopes to represent Australia in the Paralympics one day


McDonalds NT Career Achievement Award:

Jazz Walia, 29 of Lyons is committed to self-development. In 2015, Jazz started a family-owned business and opened a Pizza Capers franchise in Palmerston City. With growing passion for hospitality and management, Jazz launched a café business with supermarket called Fresh Point Café in 2017. In 2018, he converted the supermarket into a restaurant, Palates of India, and in 2019, he opened Flank Bar & Grill. In 2020, Jazz converted an unused community space into the second location of Fresh Point Café. During Covid-19, local customers supported the restaurants’ predominantly delivery and takeaway services, inspiring Jazz to partner with Deliverish to upgrade their online ordering system

Kathryn Ezzy, 29 of Humpty Doo is front-woman of the band Kathryn and the Overbytes. After earning her Bachelor of Education (music) with high distinction, she secured a permanent music teaching position at MacKillop Catholic College. She has been the Classroom Music Curriculum Coordinator and is the Acting Head of Arts for academic year 2021. In mid-2019, she obtained a position on the Catholic Education NT Teaching and Learning Standing Committee. Kathryn has coordinated Legato Orchestral Music Experience in collaboration with Centre for Youth and Community Music. During Covid-19 lockdown, Kathryn and her band members performed in livestreamed events, learning quickly to achieve high-quality sound

Alexandra Craig, 27 of Gillen earned her double degree in Law and Business in February 2019 and completed her placement at the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania. She moved to Central Australia and accepted a casual contract with the Central Australian Women’s Legal Service whilst completing her Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. Alexandra currently works at the Central Land Council (CLC) after successful admission as an officer of the Supreme Court of the NT and the High Court of Australia. At CLC, she drafts Community Development agreements, provides legal advice to the Community Development section, and undertakes Aboriginal Land Rights Act and native title legal work


 Colemans Contracting & Earthmoving Agriculture Award:

Amy Kirke, 27 of Lyons is a scientist who won the 2020 Northern Territory Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award (RWA). As part of winning the RWA, Amy created the pilot program called “Let’s Go Fishing”, a game that simulates fishing and fisheries management. Some of the program’s objectives are to explain how fishing affects the whole ecosystem, share knowledge on fishing practices and explain how research helps manage fisheries. Amy received her PhD scholarship to study in Charles Darwin University in 2018. During National Science Week, Amy created a book which was sent to communities schools to educate students on threatened and endangered elasmobranch species in NT

Hugh Dawson, 22 of Elliott recognises the opportunities of the cattle industry for young people. While with the North Australian Cattle Industry, he helped develop the Future Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association program, set up for young industry leaders to form connections and begin developing skills to communicate with media. Hugh has worked as NT representative of the Young Livestock Exporters Network, taking part in the first Livestock Leaders’ Workshop. Hugh is an advisor to the working committee for The Livestock Collective. Whilst currently working with Barkly Pastoral Company, he has trained to fly a helicopter and is completing his Certificate IV in Agriculture at CDU

Romy Carey 27, of Berry Springs is passionate about advancing the voice and interests of cattle producers in the Northern Territory. Romy is the Executive Officer of the NT Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA). She has successfully applied for industry Build Skills funding to fund 80% of members’ and non-members’ course fees. Her previous role in the VET Sector enabled her to source a registered training organisation willing to travel to NT to deliver accredited training. Romy also oversees and manages the Bohning Yards and Grant Heaslip Training Centre and Accommodation in Alice Springs. She has helped develop a call centre script specific to cattle theft to improve reporting.


One Rail Australia Indigenous Achievement Award:

Kyle Bambra 19, of Arnhem Land is committed to helping his fellow countrymen. Kyle has worked with Indigenous youth, teaching culture and the choosing the right path in life program through the Boluna Foundation. He mentors young Indigenous people to help give back to his community. Kyle is a client of NDIS and although unable to read or write, he is fully committed to fulfilling his dream of becoming a qualified hairdresser. Kyle has now undertaken a hairdressing traineeship and is one of the best students in his course. He travels to remote communities to cut hair for free and make people feel good about themselves

Luke Roberts, 22 of Berrimah hopes more Indigenous employment programs will be accessible. Luke was part of the Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, where he helped provide safe homes for families in multiple remote communities through housing programs. Prior to leaving the Department due to racism concerns, he had the opportunity to travel to remote communities and engage with different people from all walks of life. Luke was part of the Aboriginal Employment Program and has encouraged people to give it a go. Luke completed a Certificate IV in Project Management. He also has a Certificate II in community Services (AOD) and Certificate II in Business

Shakira Munckton, 18 of Tennant Creek is spreading kindness and love. A proud Jingili woman, Shakira has formed friendships with elders and young people. She has contributed to the local community by spreading kindness and love, and encouraging everyone to connect with nature. Learning from her parents and grandparents, Shakira makes a habit of stopping to talk to people so that each person can tell their own story and she can give them comfort and a little inspiration to start their own process. Shakira credits her inspiration and passion for helping others to the stories her grandfather shared with her before he passed away. In 2020, Shakira completed Year 12


Minister for Youth Excellence in Youth Leadership Award:

Arne Orstavik, 20 of Millner is passionate about creating youth-led action leading to positive social change. Arne is the Regional Leader at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) Darwin, where they mentor members and advocate for continued skill development, education and personal empowerment. Arne has co-facilitated a two-day local AYCC Climate Justice Bootcamp where they provided 15 young participants with skills, knowledge and confidence to raise their voices and lead social change. Arne also led and participated in the NT Anglicare Couch Surfing for Youth Homelessness event in 2019. Through various volunteer roles, Arne has completed the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards

Pashya Noorizal, 17 of Tennant Creek is offering respect and resilience as a lesson for youth. Pashya works at Youthlinx where he assists in promoting the development of self-confidence and life skills, encouraging participation in sports and activities. He has completed his Bronze Medallion and Life Guarding qualifications and has commenced work as Life Guard at the Town Pool. Pashya overcame bullying in Year 8 and completed Year 9 and 10 with academic achievements in Math, English, Science and Health. He has joined the Barkly Regional Council’s Youth Advisory Council in 2019. In 2021, Pasha received the Young Citizen of the Year Award for Tennant Creek

Ben Poveda-Alfonso, 28 of Alawa is passionate about youth empowerment. Upon arriving in Australia in April 2015, Ben undertook a Bachelor of Accounting degree in Charles Darwin University. At CDU, he was President of the CDU Students’ Association. Ben founded Kindness Shake, a community and student-led initiative helping migrants, refugees and temporary visa holders experiencing financial difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic. They have served over 5,000 pre-cooked meals, assisted more than 500 individuals and raised over $60,000. Ben won the 2020 CDU International Alumnus Award and 2018 StudyNT International Student of the Year Award. He plans to commence a Masters of Public Policy in 2021.


 NT Government Small Business Achievement Award:

Luke Haywood and Jett Egan, 16 of Larapinta are committed to learning constantly. Luke and Jett started their business venture “J&L Gardening” as part of a school project, for their Personal Learning Program at St Philips College whilst completing their Year 10 studies. J&L Gardening offer low-cost service and knowledge of garden maintenance and design. Luke and Jett utilised their contacts and peers to provide them with business ideas and guide them on the right pathway. They now have over 50 clients and have completed 90 jobs at a rate of $20-$30 per hour. In October 2020, they helped plan, budget and create a Peace Garden for their College

Sharna Jane Kotz 23, of Nightcliff is dedicated to developing her services for local Territorians. Sharna has a Certificate III in Beauty Services and a Diploma in Beauty Therapy. In 2016, she opened her own salon, Pure Skin Face & Body Clinic. From a one-woman therapist, she has grown her salon to employ full-time, casual and contracted specialists, an injectable nurse and dual qualified nutritionist and iridologist. Sharna continues to research the best and safest technology in the industry. She is the first in NT to introduce Plaxplot, a safer device for non-surgical blepharoplasty. Sharna offers work placement opportunities, including an introduction into the beauty therapy workforce

Sizol Fuyana, 20 of Palmerston is devoted to supporting disadvantaged young people at risk of entering the justice system. Sizol is the Executive Director of Fuyana Support, a youth-oriented consultancy firm with a focus on social and emotional well-being. They offer tailored solutions to local organisations/services and project management capacity. Fuyana Support has partnered with the City of Palmerston to develop a Youth Info Map, with the project leading to freelance work with Joblink, supporting young jobseekers. Fuyana Support produces “The Reality Change” on podcast, discussing personal growth and how to face adversity. Sizol is a law and psychology student who has volunteered for many working groups.


Somerville Community Service Award:

Imogen Kuipers, 13 of Jingili is committed to supporting children with cancer. Imogen has been riding her bike a minimum of 500 km every October in the Great Cycle Challenge (GCC) since she was 7 years old, raising funds that are used Australia-wide for vital childhood cancer research. Despite the challenges 2020 presented, she raised her highest-ever total of $11, 426, riding a total of 603km. In 2019, she participated in the “Light Your Bike, Support the Fight” night ride. In 2020, she initiated online auctions and sent e-mails and text messages to raise funds. Imogen was the GCC ambassador in 2019 and 2020

Peter Susanto, 14 of Rapid Creek strives to achieve the best. After completing the Code Club Program in 2016, Peter volunteered at Code Club to share his coding knowledge. Peter is a member of NT Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented, actively assisting new members and inspiring them to make beneficial products. In 2018, Peter set up a free mini-library with help from Darwin City Council. Peter is a Nightcliff Swimming Club member. In 2019, he mentored a team for the 2019 First Lego League Competition. Peter and his sister sell Indonesian snacks and donate all profits to an orphanage in Surabaya, Indonesia

Marie Cunnington, 26 of Durack is dedicated to serving her community through volunteer work. Marie has been volunteering for the Northern Territory State Emergency Services (NTSES) for five years, providing assistance where needed. She loves being the NTSES mascot, Paddy the Platypus, going to schools and giving information on preparation and the importance of having emergency kits. She has also been with the Virginia Bees Creek Volunteer Fire Brigade for two years, providing assistance at some of the worst bushfires in rural Darwin. Marie was deployed to assist with the Queensland bushfires in 2019. She received the 2020 Chief Minister’s Top End Youth Volunteer of the Year Award


NT Government Young Aboriginal Educator Award:

Kial King, 28 of Katherine is an Aboriginal and Islander Education Worker at St Joseph’s College, providing Cultural Education Programs for the students and staff. He has the ability to extend student learning through differentiating for individual needs and demonstrates creativity in developing hands-on activities. For instance, he developed a maths activity working on proportions of cattle in different paddocks for students in pastoral towns. Kial is a member of the college community and Catholic Education Northern Territory. He has strong cultural knowledge and shares and play a significant role in improving indigenous community relationships. He completed his Bachelor in Primary Education in December 2020

Tomisena Duncan, 21 of Jilkminggan is an Assistant Educator at Jilkminggan School. She is a leading contributor to the School’s Indigenous Languages and Culture curriculum. She also works alongside the school’s Literacy Leader to organise and coordinate a Read Write Inc. Group. She requested Read Write Inc. training resources that are EALD-friendly. Tomisena completed Year 12 whilst undertaking school-based training to continue working as an Assistant Educator. She is currently completing her Certificate III in Education Support and hopes to take further studies to become a fully qualified teacher. In 2020, Tomisena was recognised as the Aboriginal Educator of the Year by the Department of Education

Louise Crowe, 27 of Eaton is a proud Wiradjuri woman who teaches art and design woodwork to Year 11 and 12 students at Palmerston College. She has developed and sustained a viable curriculum for Creative Arts and Design and Engineering. She helped re-open a workshop that hads been shut down for seven years and developed policies on how to safely use machinery for the students. She improved the intake and popularity of the Arts and Design areas and encourages students to express themselves and their culture through their art. Louise has a Bachelor Honours in Industrial Design and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education


Santos Environment Award:

Brittany Hayward-Brown, 26 of Rapid Creek hopes to inspire conservation-focused behaviour. Brittany helped reactivate EnviroCollective, an environment-focused group at Charles Darwin University. As President of EnviroCollective, Brittany has organised over 15 educational events, with focus on CDU Casuarina campus’ remnant vegetation as part of the Conservation on Campus Program. She collaborates with other local environmental groups, CDU researchers and local experts. In recognition of their work, EnviroCollective received the Territory Natural Resource Management Award. Brittany has volunteered with the Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve and the Larrakia Rangers and Tangaroa Blue at the Darwin Clean Up. In 2020, she completed and honours research on Gouldian Finches

Cara Penton, 25 of Rapid Creek is passionate about researching threatened and endangered animals. Dr Cara completed her doctorate on scholarship at Charles Darwin University where she researched arboreal (tree-dwelling) mammals and tree hollow availability in tropical savannas in collaboration with the Tiwi Land Rangers. In 2019, Cara led the NT Science Week Committee to run 20 live events and organise workshops at CDU’s Painting Nest Boxes for Wildlife. In 2020, she worked for Inspiring Australia in developing a website identifying photos of arboreal mammals at tree hollows on the Tiwi Islands. Cara is now working as the Ecological Monitoring Officer with Warddeken Land Management

Jessica Puntoriero, 23 of Berry Springs is proud to represent Indigenous female rangers. Jessica was part of the Larrakia Land and Sea Rangers program, where she coordinated the annual Darwin Harbor Clean-Up that collected 1.36 tons of rubbish. She was heavily involved in their collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in monitoring the world’s atmospheric pollution north of Darwin. She helped organise the 2019 NT Women’s Healthy Country Forum Jessica which was attended by over 150 Indigenous elders and local women. Jessica was awarded the 2016 Newmont Tanami Indigenous Scholarship. She will graduate in 2021 from Charles Darwin University with an Environmental Science degree

Amy Kirke, 27 of Lyons has a focus on sustainable education. Since winning the 2020 NT Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award, she has made it her mission to increase science, technology, engineer and math (STEM) outreach to communities in the Northern Territory. She created a pilot program called “Let’s Go Fishing”, a game that simulates fishing, overfishing and fisheries management. Amy is a marine biologist who moved from NT to Perth to complete her PhD. She is studying the biology and ecology of sharks caught in commercial fisheries. As a lecturer, Amy is committed to sharing her expertise and knowledge with young people to manage local fisheries