Shar­nay hon­oured

North Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Shar­nay Cocup has be­come a mini-celebrity in the North Waikato af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Women of In­flu­ence Young Leader award.

Hear­ing the an­nounce­ment was hard to be­lieve for the 22-year-old Taupiri res­i­dent.

‘‘I went into shock straight away.

‘‘I got cold feet be­fore go­ing in, I got ner­vous, I started say­ing ‘what’s the point in me go­ing?’ but I thought, I got nom­i­nated for a rea­son, and I’m rep­re­sent­ing my com­mu­nity, I still did not think I would get over­all win­ner.’’

In their fifth year, the awards cel­e­brate New Zealand women across 10 cat­e­gories who have built on their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional suc­cesses to help and in­spire oth­ers. The awards are backed by West­pac and Fair­fax Me­dia (pub­lisher of Stuff).

Cocup’s work has in­cluded es­tab­lish­ing the Taupiri Youth Group which has put in count­less hours of vol­un­teer­ing,

One of the ma­jor projects the group started was restor­ing the Taupiri Moun­tain walk­way where they in­stalled handrails, stairs and cleaned up a me­mo­rial site.

Cocup’s Nana Wairere DixonOrmsby ac­com­pa­nied her to the awards event in Auck­land on Septem­ber 7.

As one of her big­gest fans, there was no doubt in her Nana’s mind that Cocup would win.

‘‘She said ‘pre­pare a speech’... I said no, I’m not go­ing to win Nana.’’

Fol­low­ing the news, she was in­un­dated with con­grat­u­la­tions and re­quests for photos.

It was a night full of sur­prises as she was left in awe meet­ing for- mer Prime Min­is­ter He­len Clark who re­ceived a Life­time Achieve­ment award.

‘‘She’s pretty pow­er­ful and in­spi­ra­tional, I think of a lot of women look up to her, she’s iconic... [and] she so de­served that life­time award.’’

The achieve­ment fol­lows her Ki­wibank New Zealand Lo­cal Hero of the Year, Waikato Youth Vol­un­teer of the Year and re­cip­i­ent of the Like a Boss cat­e­gory in the in­au­gu­ral Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil Youth Awards.

Cocup said she was proud to be able to set an ex­am­ple for oth­ers.

‘‘It shows you that some­one who started off with an idea and a pas­sion can go on to be in­flu­en­tial.’’

It’s her big­gest achieve­ment yet but her whole jour­ney has been down to the com­mu­nity she was raised in.

Friends and fam­ily have al­ways been in­flu­en­tial for Cocup.

And it’s been the ‘‘best of both worlds’’ be­ing able to learn from her fel­low mem­bers on the Taupiri Com­mu­nity Board, Taupiri School board and from the kids in the Taupiri Youth Group she leads.

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