Anti-bul­ly­ing stal­wart nom­i­nated for award

The Southland Times - - FEATURES -

ACen­tral Otago anti-bul­ly­ing stal­wart who prefers to op­er­ate un­der radar has found her­self in the na­tional spot­light. Karla San­ders, co-founder and di­rec­tor of Sticks ‘n Stones, is a fi­nal­ist in NEXT mag­a­zine’s 2017 Woman of the Year Awards.

Thirty ‘‘suc­cess­ful and in­spir­ing’’ women from around New Zealand have been se­lected from a range of cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity; arts and cul­ture; sport; health and science; busi­ness and in­no­va­tion; and ed­u­ca­tion.

San­ders is one of five in the Ed­u­ca­tion cat­e­gory and has been se­lected for stand­ing up to bul­ly­ing through her by-youth, fory­outh move­ment Sticks ’n Stones.

‘‘It’s su­per-ex­cit­ing and in­cred­i­bly hum­bling but it’s not some­where I feel to­tally com­fort­able. Un­der the radar is a far bet­ter place for me.’’ A group of stu­dents had nom­i­nated her. ‘‘The ap­pli­ca­tion was a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort, which I think is fit­ting. I never ex­pected to be a fi­nal­ist. I’m re­ally quite sur­prised. The women fea­tured are a re­ally great in­spi­ra­tion and to be fea­tured along­side them is re­ally cool.’’

Sticks ’n Stones was formed in 2012 and the point of dif­fer­ence was it was ‘‘stu­dent led’’, San­ders said.

‘‘If you told me five years ago we would be where we are now, I would have laughed in your face. Sticks ’n Stones is an or­gan­i­sa­tion of young peo­ple and I am in­cred­i­bly proud to have the role of sup­port­ing them.‘‘

Other nom­i­nees are: Arts & Cul­ture: Cather­ine Chap­pell, founder of in­spi­ra­tional dance com­pany Touch Com­pass, in which dancers with dis­abil­i­ties per­form along­side non-dis­abled dancers; Mary Ama, a leader in pre­serv­ing Pa­cific arts and cul­ture in New Zealand; and Auck­land Arts Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Carla Van Zon, who en­sured the suc­cess of the city’s 2017 event while bat­tling chronic kid­ney dis­ease.

The Busi­ness & In­no­va­tion: Blanche Mor­rogh, founder and di­rec­tor of thriv­ing ex­port busi­ness Kai Ora Honey; Kaz Sta­ples, who started her now hugely pop­u­lar Pure Del­ish brand from scratch and with­out in­vestors; and PledgeMe co­founder Anna Guen­ther, whose crowd­fund­ing plat­form has re­de­fined the way New Zealand com­pa­nies do busi­ness.

Com­mu­nity: Kris­tine Bartlett, whose vic­to­ri­ous fight for equal pay for 55,000 fe­male care work­ers was a news high­light of the year; Diane Vi­vian, founder of Grand­par­ents Rais­ing Grand­chil­dren, a trust that pro­vides sup­port to 6000 grand­par­ents and whanau care­givers; and Dr As­sil Rus­sell, who through Re­vive a Smile is de­liv­er­ing free den­tal treat­ment to more than 1500 vul­ner­a­ble Ki­wis.

Ed­u­ca­tion: Dorothy Burt, whose Mana­iakalani Ed­u­ca­tion Trust is help­ing chil­dren in lower so­cio-eco­nomic com­mu­ni­ties fare bet­ter at school; Wendy Pye, who has de­voted the past 30 years to help­ing mil­lions of chil­dren learn to read; and Karla San­ders, who’s stand­ing up to bul­ly­ing through her by-youth, for-youth move­ment Sticks ’n Stones.

Health & Science: Dr Ros­alind Archer is Auck­land Univer­sity’s first-ever fe­male en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment head and a re­spected ex­pert on oil, gas and geo­ther­mal reser­voirs. Dr Me­lanie Che­ung leads a world-first project aimed at de­lay­ing and po­ten­tially re­vers­ing the cog­ni­tive de­cline as­so­ci­ated with Hunt­ing­ton’s dis­ease. And Dr Siouxsie Wiles is work­ing hard to re­solve the cri­sis of an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance by search­ing for new an­tibi­otics.

Sports: Fiona Al­lan, a driv­ing force be­hind Par­a­lympic sport in New Zealand for more than 10 years; New Zealand’s lead­ing triath­lete An­drea He­witt, who suc­cess­fully com­peted in the Rio Games de­spite los­ing her fi­ance not long be­fore; and Heather Te Au-Skip­worth, co-founder of the world’s only an­nual in­dige­nous triathlon. The NEXT Woman of the Year win­ner will be an­nounced on Oc­to­ber 12.

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