Great PR for a caring PM – but benefactor’s name has been buried in awards change

Back in the days when a government agency’s name clearly signalled what the public could expect from it, we had a Department of Child, Youth and Family Services which in 2005/06 proudly reported the first William Wallace Awards would be made to four young people during Foster Care Awareness Week in October 2006.

Fast forward to November 2018.  The agency has become Orangi Tamariki (Ministry of Children in small type underneath) but when nominations for the 2018 awards closed (15 – 20 awards were available this year) they were still called the William Wallace Awards.

Many young people in care have overcome significant barriers and gone on to achieve great things. These awards honour these outstanding young people, and provide help for them to pursue their dreams of tertiary, vocational or leadership training. 

Any young person in care – or who has recently come out of care – can win an award. And anyone can make a nomination

But hey.  We have a caring, nurturing Prime Minister and – shazam!

The William Wallace Awards are being renamed …

The Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards.

Betcha that has given Jacinda a nice warm glow.

The benefactor whose estate has provided the awards over the past 12 years or so won’t be entirely forgotten. Two William Wallace Scholarships are being retained as part of the new awards.

News of the name change came from Children’s Minister Tracey Martin:  the first Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards for exceptional young people in state care will be presented at a ceremony in Parliament next week, she announced on Tuesday.

“For the last 12 years, Oranga Tamariki and its predecessors have been holding what have been called the William Wallace Awards to mark the bequest he made to care-experienced young people,” Minister Martin said.

“It was a very generous gift that has seen the awards grow in profile and reach and it is timely that they are now endorsed by the Prime Minister.

“We want the young people to know that their effort and success is recognised at the highest level and to gain as much support as possible for the awards.

“The new name recognises the mana of care-experienced young people, who have overcome a challenging start in life to demonstrate huge potential for the future and reflects the Government’s commitment to young people in care.”

The William Wallace Awards are – sorry – were named after William Wallace, who died in Australia in 1989 and left his residual estate to ‘the neglected children’s department or like institution of the Dominion of New Zealand’.  

He intended these funds to be used to nurture children and young people in care, and help them develop their potential through educational support, vocational training and opportunities to develop leadership.

The bequest was put into a trust account. The interest earned each year initially was awarded to four young people in the following areas:

  • $3,000 towards tertiary study
  • $3,000 towards vocational study
  • Two $2,000 leadership courses such as Outward Bound and the global Youth Leaders Conference.

The Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki, Gràinne Moss told those gathered at the presentation ceremony last year that supporting the awards and the young people involved was an absolute privilege.

“To be acknowledged with a William Wallace Award is a special, incredible achievement. In my work as Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki it’s my job to make sure we are doing the very best we can to support you.”

The Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, this week announced 20 exceptional care-experienced young people will receive awards next week at the inaugural Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards in Parliament.

The scholarships are worth up to $3000, but the amount varies depending on what the young person has applied for – tertiary study, career training, or developing leadership skills through a course or programme such as Outward Bound.

In addition to financial scholarships, this year the opportunity to participate in tailored work or life experiences will be offered to some award winners.

Curious about the change of name and (as always) the funding, Point of Order put some questions to the ministry.  Here are the questions and responses:

Will all the awards be financed from the William Wallace bequest, or only some of them?

Child, Youth and Family received the bequest from Mr William Wallace in 1995. The bequest was invested and interest from that money still funds some of the scholarships.

If some are being funded from sources other than the bequest, how many of these are there and what is the source of the funding in these cases?

Some of our scholarships have been made possible because of generous donations from corporates and philanthropic organisations.

As well as that, Oranga Tamariki has held a number of fundraising opportunities throughout the year, giving staff and members of the public an opportunity to contribute.

People have given generously to the awards because they recognise the achievements of the young people in overcoming a challenging start in life and going on to demonstrate real potential for the future.

This year scholarships have been sponsored by Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, Barnardos, Open Home Foundation, Fostering Kids New Zealand, Kiistone, Youth Horizons, GFS, Sysdoc and Outward Bound.

What will be the total cost to the public purse of the awards?

The cost to Oranga Tamariki is minimal and no public money goes into the scholarships the young people receive.

Our cost is primarily on travel to bring 20 award recipients (and their support person) to Parliament to celebrate their success.

Who was William Wallace – can you steer me to a brief biography?

Little is known about William Wallace.

What we do know is that he died in Australia in 1989, and generously donated the residuary of his estate to Child, Youth and Family with the intention that it was used to nurture and develop children and young people in care.

Where and how did the idea of re-establishing the awards as the Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards originate?

Last year we began discussions about refreshing and re-launching the awards.

We consulted on aspects of the proposed changes with young people, including previous William Wallace Award winners.

We continued planning and discussions with Hon Tracey Martin’s office through to October 2018.

The new name was confirmed in October 2018.

In what ways will the new awards scheme be an improvement on the current one?

The endorsement by the Prime Minister ensures that care-experienced young people know their effort and success is recognised at the highest level.

The new name recognises the mana of care-experienced young people and reflects the Government’s commitment to young people in care.

It also means that the awards themselves – and children in care – get a higher profile. One of the reasons Oranga Tamariki exists is to get society to see children in care more positively and understand how they can help or be involved. The stories that flow out of the Awards really help in that regard.

We’ve been getting more businesses and sponsors involved in the Awards recently, but reshaping them is also helping us to get more and different sponsorships.

Many of the young award recipients have overcome a challenging start in life to demonstrate huge potential for the future.

For the first time, we are offering tailored work or life experiences to the award recipients. This will give our young people valuable connections and experiences for the future.

 Was the Wallace family consulted about the change and how did they – or the trust administering the estate – respond?

Over the years we have made several attempts to trace Mr Wallace’s family. None of these attempts have been successful.

We took legal advice prior to changing the name.

In recognition of Mr Wallace’s generosity, we have retained two William Wallace Scholarships as part of the new awards.

 

 

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