WDSA Frances Clarke Memorial Awards

Frances Clarke Memorial Awards Celebrate 2019 Superstars

The Frances Clarke Memorial Awards took place on Wednesday the 13th of November 2019. This was the 29th annual awards ceremony and another fantastic celebration of the amazing achievements of this years’ superstars.

The official government house photos are here: https://gg.govt.nz/image-galleries/frances-clarke-memorial-awards-2019. Our Facebook pictures are here.


Members of the Wellington down syndrome community turned out in their droves to support the event, which was held in the beautiful ballroom at Government House and hosted by our Patron, The Governor-General, Her Excellency The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy. 

The MC duties were performed by the seasoned Charlotte Gendall. Stirring speeches were delivered by actor Jacob Dombroski, a previous winner of the over 16 year category, and Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Disability Rights Commissioner and world champion athlete. 

Congratulations to our three winners: 

8-16 Year Category: Hinerangi Collins-Mohi from Porirua. Hinerangi shows determination and a passion for sports, dance and music. She works hard to master skills in Ballet, Jazz, swimming, tennis and school activities such as Polyfest. She passed her Grade 2 Ballet Exam with Highly Commended and is working hard to prepare for her grade 3 exam. For the last three years, Hinerangi has played netball for her school in a mainstream school competition.

16 and Above Category: Mithu Sathiyaseelan from Lower Hutt. Mithu is a young woman with Down syndrome and is deaf. Until two years ago Mithu used a walker and wheelchair due to a number of physical challenges. In the last 5 years she has been working actively on strength and balance using an intensive Interaction approach. Mithu has developed independence with mobility and transfers. She was able to travel home to Sri Lanka with her family, not needing her wheelchair or walker!

Community Category: Sue McFarlane has worked as a Neurodevelopmental Therapist in Porirua for approximately 35 years. Sue receives an award for her service to babies and toddlers who were born with Down syndrome and their whanau. Sue will do anything for families to help them attend appointments, support their child’s development and navigate the health system.

We would like to thank Government House for hosting this spectacular event and our committee members for all the hard work to make it happen.

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