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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:19am

Girl with brown hair and grey hoodie and boy with black hair and black hoodie sit at a wooden table in a bar holding beer glasses with metal straws in them

Continuing our series of the winners of the Selwyn Awards. Mana, 10, and Tui, 8, Martin won the Innovation Excellence Award for their business Plastic Straws Suck.

Amongst the youngest nominees for the Selwyn Awards Tui and Mana, were fitting winners of an award that recognises the outstanding innovative contribution of individuals, social enterprises or businesses in Selwyn.

After completing a school project about the impact of plastic in oceans, the passionate beach users knew they had to do something.

“The beach is a fun place to be with all your mates and friends and family. If there’s lots of plastic it pollutes the ocean and that’s not very cool!” states Tui.

With the assistance of Dad; Nathan, Plastic Straws Suck was born.

With the aim of having hometown; Lincoln, plastic straw free by 2020 and donating 25% of their profits to organisations dedicated to removing plastic from oceans, Mana and Tui have spent tireless hours talking to local hospitality businesses about the impact of plastic straws and selling metal straws at local markets and through their Facebook page.

Being entered into the Awards was a surprise, as their Mum’s friend nominated them and only told them a couple of weeks before the Gala Dinner.

Reflecting on the evening, Manu recounts “My fav [favourite] part was getting to know everyone, putting our idea out there and talking about what other people have done to get there and how amazing their journey had been. When we heard our name called as the winner, we were surprised. It felt really amazing”.

“It was really cool watching the entertainment and the food was really yummy. We also got to meet the Mayor and wear his Mayoral chains, which was cool…and he also bought some metals straws off us!” Tui remembers enthusiastically.

“Winning the award has definitely changed the way locals look at us,” Mana says. “And more companies are going plastic straw free off the back of winning”.