2017 Youth Award Finalists

Sam Darling

An exceptional young man, Sam Darling of Ettrick leads by example, is self-motivated to achieve his goals and unselfishly gives back to his community.

Sam’s personal dedication and extraordinary talent for the bagpipes—the quintessential expression of Scottish heritage—is second to none.

Sam first learnt the bagpipes aged eight. An outstanding piper, he’s played for the Alexandra Pipe Band and the Dunedin City Pipe Band. He plays for the acclaimed Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band Grade 1 and is lead piper for the NZ Youth Pipe Band.

Relating well to people of all ages and abilities, Sam taught piping to students at his high school. Now studying at the University of Otago, Sam returns to Central Otago to support local pipers at events and to teach workshops.

With great personal dedication to his own learning and a strong leadership commitment to freely share his knowledge and skills with others, Sam is a highly deserving youth award finalist.


James Sutherland

An influential leader who acts with humility and passion, youth award finalist, James Sutherland, of Alexandra, is involved in a diversity of youth and community activities that benefit others.

A Dunstan High School year 13 student, James is proactive and positive in supporting youth. He is on the national board of Sticks’ n’ Stones, a founding member of the reformed Central Otago Youth Council, a senior leader and treasurer on the Otago Suicide Prevention Trust and a Young National party representative.

James is on the school council and involved in inter-house sporting activities, debating, social studies quizzes, the Environment Group and the formal and after-party ball committees. He is a senior librarian and contributed nationally to the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) and served on the Alexandra Blossom Festival Committee.

James’s style is collaborative, humble and encouraging. Committed to local and global issues, he is a big picture thinker determined to make the world a better place.


Alex Darling

Youth award finalist Alex Darling, of Ettrick, shows a huge commitment to the well-being of others through his involvement in a diversity of school and community activities.
At Roxburgh Area School, Alex is the board of trustees’ student representative, on the sports council, in the school band, a house leader and a keen actor in school productions. He also contributes to Sticks ’n’ Stones and the Roxburgh Brass Band.
Alex also volunteers with the Millers Flat-Ettrick Scout Group, assisting with the Kea scouts. His excellent leadership skills, maturity and creativity, mean he engages positively and effectively with both scouts and leaders.
Enthusiasm, empathy and a willingness to give his time to others have earned Alex the respect of school and community. Combined with his dedication to school and community activities, Alex is a high academic achiever who studies hard.

Alex epitomises the values of Roxburgh Area School and Central Otago.