Three of Marlborough’s most inspiring Kiwis were recognised for their outstanding leadership and becoming role models for children, at the Graeme Dingle Foundation 2019 Excellence Awards, held in Auckland last night.

Jordan Peipi and Fili Moalafotu received the Kiwi Can – Outstanding Team Leader Award for being able to make a positive change in their schools, their students and their community, through their leadership of the Kiwi Can programme, while Lisa Preece won the Outstanding Programme Coordinator Award.

Kiwi Can is a life skills and values programme for Year 1-8 students (5 to 12-year olds) that is run in over 100 primary or intermediate schools around New Zealand. The programme promotes a ‘can-do’ attitude and encourages children to take responsibility for their actions. The Award is sponsored by NZ Steel.

Fili says he notices small things can sometimes upset kids easily, like losing a game. “We teach them to try, try again, and it’s not about winning, but what you learn on the way.”

Jordy adds: “Firstly, they need to hear an adult telling them they’ve got what it takes, and teach them how to brainstorm solutions for whatever they’re struggling with, whether it’s fitting all the pieces of a puzzle together or scoring a goal.”

The Outstanding Programme Coordinator Award is given to a person who is making a significant positive impact on the lives of their students and within the community, and is sponsored by AIG.

Programme Coordinator, Lisa Preece says: “It’s all about opening young people’s eyes to what is available locally. There’s a real sense that much of the region’s local talent leaves Marlborough without a good understanding of the career opportunities that are possible locally … we want to change that.”

Jordan, Fili and Lisa received their awards on an evening which celebrated the over 27,000 students, their mentors, leaders and volunteers across the country who have been involved in the Foundation’s various youth development programmes including Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator, Project K, Kiwi Tahi and MYND – over the previous 12 months.

It also celebrated the incredible achievements of these amazing young people, many of whom have conquered immense challenges to chart a positive course through life.

The Foundation’s co-founder Sir Graeme Dingle, the mountaineer and outdoor education pioneer, says the Awards perfectly showcase what the Foundation lives and breathes – transforming young lives forever.

“The ethos of our Foundation is that we want all young New Zealanders to have a life full of possibilities so they can achieve their dreams and make the most of their unique talents. We want to help them build foundations for success.

“The Awards are an amazing opportunity to celebrate this country’s future – our children and our young people. It provides a valuable platform for them to recognise their own strengths and muster, from within, the conviction to overcome challenges, both big and small. It is also a wonderful reminder of the incredible work that our mentors and volunteers deliver, day in and day out, for children and young people throughout the country.

“Each year, these kids show courage, determination and resilience. It gives me a tremendous sense of joy to be able to recognise and acknowledge each and every one of our winners, who we are all so exceptionally proud of,” concludes Sir Graeme.

The annual Excellence Awards began life as the Project K Outstanding Student Award. They were first hosted by Governor General, Dame Sylvia Cartwright, 19 years ago. The Awards provide an opportunity to honour and celebrate outstanding young New Zealanders across all of the Foundation’s programmes throughout New Zealand.

Released by the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

For more information, please contact: Pam Smith on
or 09 477 6244.

About the Graeme Dingle Foundation

  • The Graeme Dingle Foundation is the highly successful youth charity named in recognition of Kiwi adventurer and personality Sir Graeme Dingle who founded the not-for-profit organisation with his partner Jo-anne Wilkinson in 1995.
  • Sir Graeme and Lady Dingle had a vision to improve New Zealand’s negative youth statistics. They have helped over 250,000 young Kiwis be more confident, find purpose and direction, and achieve success.
  • An Infometrics report in 2019 found that New Zealand benefits to the tune of nearly $8 for every $1 invested in the Graeme Dingle Foundation, in the form of reduced crime, young people getting better jobs and fewer young people becoming dependent on benefits.
  • The Graeme Dingle Foundation continues to run school-based programmes for thousands of Kiwis aged between 5 and 18 – Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator and Project K, along with MYND (an Auckland based programme for youth offenders). These initiatives aim to broaden horizons, offer opportunities and give young people the chance to become the next generation of successful parents, leaders and business people.
  • For more information visit


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