Georgia Hale, 2020 University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year - Te Mātātahi o te Tau
We asked Georgia Hale, 2020 University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year - Te Mātātahi o te Tau a few questions about receiving this honourable award and her advice to others wanting to make a difference in their communities.
Georgia Hale is a champion sportsperson who has represented New Zealand in four separate sports. She has used her sporting profile as a platform to create a huge community impact around New Zealand.
She has set up a number of community initiatives with the Warriors, including the Great Charity Day which raised more than $120,000 in its first two years. She has also set up a number of initiatives through her platform to help young children, rural communities, the intellectually disabled, and a wide range of other charities.
How did it feel to receive the 2020 Young New Zealander of the Year Award?
It was an overwhelming yet amazing feeling, one that I had never experienced before. I am so privileged to receive such an honourable award recognising the area that I am most passionate about. I felt truly blessed to be proudly representing my sport that I play and also work in.
What does this award mean to you and what was your initial reaction when receiving this award?
I was very surprised when even nominated for this award, to then being invited to attend the ceremony as a semi-finalist and then going on to win. A lot of mixed emotions as I just enjoy doing what I do every day, both playing rugby league and working in communities around the country to make a difference. I was humbled and proud to receive the award for my family, for the teams I am apart of and for the communities I have been so fortunate to work within and it makes me so proud to represent them all with this recognition.
What advice do you have for young Kiwis who are wanting to get involved and make a difference within their communities?
Find an area you are passionate about and you will never feel like you work a day in your life. Even being so young I have found that doing what I truly love and enjoy and in a place where I can make such a difference has been the most rewarding experience. I encourage everyone to find that and if you can really make something of it you will see all the rewards that come with it, like connecting with amazing people, learning, growing and adding to making New Zealand great, and that through its people.
What drives you to continue to make a lasting contribution to Aotearoa’s communities?
It all steams from a place of passion. I love rugby league. I want to give young girls the opportunities I have had so far in my sport, I want to leave my mark in the game, one that I can look back on and be proud of, and I want to give the game as much as I can in return, both on and off the field, because it has given me so much. Therefore I will continue to do what I love and proudly fly the flag for our game.