About the Awards

The Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki (PMOT) Awards are a celebration of the achievements and potential of young people in care across New Zealand.

Recognising excellence

"He kōtuku rerenga tahi – the white heron flies only once."

This whakatauki inspired the tohu for these awards, which aspire to be a special, life-changing opportunity.

What are the Prime Minister's Oranga Tamariki Awards?

What are the Prime Minister's Oranga Tamariki Awards?

Highlights of The Prime Minister's Oranga Tamariki Awards 2020


The Prime Minister's Oranga Tamariki Awards 2020: Highlight reel – video transcript


(text on screen)

Fancy meeting the Prime Minister?

For this year’s awards, 27 care-experienced rangatahi from all over Aotearoa – and their carers and supporters – gathered in Wellington for a huge day…

The rangatahi were recognised for their achievements in an official ceremony featuring:

MC Anika Moa

Motivational speaker Dr. Paul Wood

UFC featherweight Shane Young

Plus a live set from BENEE.

There was even some impromptu dancing…

A big of mingling…

Then a chance to meet Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.



Getting an award and being recognised through all this is kind of… amazing.

Shane Young:

Whoa. These kids, these 27 kids have got through to this one person. For that kids – I thank you! Ka kite anō.


Huge shout-out to everyone. All of the award winners – you guys are insane! Congratulations. XXX. You’re the bomb!



End of transcript.

Whether or not they receive a PMOT Award, being nominated can be a life-changing experience for a young person who has been in care. When you nominate a young person, you show how much you believe in them, their achievements to date, and their potential. Award categories acknowledge excellence in a variety of areas such as academic achievement, creative entrepreneurship, skills and technology, and leadership.

Read about previous recipients and their supporters on the Award News page.

Award scholarships

Award recipients will be given a scholarship with their award to further their skills, talents or aspirations. There are two types of scholarships:  

  • Outward Bound 21 day experience (valued at $5495), or
  • $3000 funding scholarship.

Scholarship funds can be used for almost any costs involved in academic study, trade training, creative or business endeavours, musical and cultural interests, sports training, community work and leadership development.

Some examples of how recipients have used their scholarship include:

  • Purchasing a horse for equine therapy training.
  • Attending a performing arts course at the Globe Theatre in London.
  • Buying specialist photography and card-making equipment.
  • Purchasing fencing tools to start a business.
  • Taking a dream trip to New York for Fashion Week.

Usually, you can’t use your scholarship funds for personal purchases, such as cars or jewellery. If you’re unsure and want some advice, get in touch with us to talk about your idea. 

The funds are available for three years, but we encourage recipients to use it within one year. When recipients are ready, we will help them access their scholarship either all at once or a little bit at a time.

Get in touch if you have questions: PrimeMinistersAwards@ot.govt.nz.

Award presentations

We celebrate our award recipients by gifting them a specially designed tohu (trophy) and certificate. In the past, we’ve presented tohu to recipients at national events in Wellington and at local events in their home region.

National events are usually held in December and recipients are invited to attend an award ceremony. We arrange and pay for travel for the recipient, their nominator and a support person.

Regional celebrations have been held when large gatherings are not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our team works hard to make the day special for young people in other ways, such as providing award packs with vouchers and gifts that can be enjoyed with friends or family.

Who can be nominated

You can nominate a young person if they are:

  • aged between 15 and 21 years at the time of the application
  • currently in care OR they have been in care within the last five years, and
  • are aware of the nomination.

For the purposes of these awards, “in care” means that the eligible young person is (or was) in the care of Oranga Tamariki, an iwi provider or another NGO provider.

There are up to 25 awards available each year across five categories.   

See award categories

If a young person didn’t receive an award the first time you nominated them, you can nominate them the following year, as long as they still meet the eligibility criteria. 

There is no limit to how many people you can nominate.  Please complete a separate nomination form for each young person or rangatahi.

Make a nomination for the PMOT Awards

Published: July 9, 2021 · Updated: July 22, 2022