The Mana Pounamu Young Achievers' Awards were brought about through the vision of the late Tāua, Alva Kapa, and were named as such because they were first held in the Year of Mana Pounamu (2001). The Awards are a Kāi Tahu initiative supported by Kā Papatipu Rūnaka ki Arāiteuru, the University of Otago, the Otago Polytechnic, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ministry of Education. 

The objectives of these awards are to:

  • Celebrate the success and achievement of rakatahi Māori
  • Encourage rakatahi Māori to participate in tertiary study
  • Identify leadership potential
  • Provide positive role models to rakatahi Māori.