31st October 2019
The Wellington Down Syndrome Association (WDSA) wishes to advise of the upcoming annual Frances Clarke Memorial Awards
to recognise and encourage the special achievements of people born with Down syndrome in the greater Wellington region.
The awards will be hosted by our Patron, The Governor-General, Her Excellency The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy. The award
ceremony will held at Government House on Wednesday 13th November at 10:00 am.
The guest speakers are:
Jacob Dombroski, a previous winner of the over 16 year category. Jacob is 27 years old and has a passion for music,
dance and performing. He is a writer and performer of his own show “Big J Stylez” which he performed at the Auckland and
Wellington Fringe festivals. He has also recently appeared on Shortland Street. https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/entertainment/actor-down-syndrome-gets-stint-shortland-street-barman
Paula Tesoriero MNZM, Disability Rights Commissioner. Paula is a world champion athlete and a former senior public
service manager. Paula is also an expert in governance having served on several boards including the Halberg Disability
Sport Foundation, NZ Artificial Limb service, Sport Wellington and Paralympics NZ.
This year’s three award winners are:
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 her very low muscle tone and associated weakness as well as an
anteriorly tilted pelvis and externally rotated hips. 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! She has amazed her family and
her doctors including her GP, Paediatrician and Orthopaedic doctor.
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
Our MC is Mrs Charlotte Gendall.
The Wellington Down Syndrome Association is a non-profit organisation that supports, educates and advocates for families
and people with Down syndrome in the greater Wellington Region. WDSA is run completely by volunteers.
All recipients and their parents have given permission for their details to be published.