Like many kids, George Han dreamed of being a fireman.
But he dropped the idea when he discovered a new passion - mathematics.
Now, his passion has seen him win one of nine Premier Awards in the 2015 scholarship exams. The awards are given to the very best scholarship candidates.
Exam results released yesterday revealed 2381 of the 8000 students who sat exams were awarded a scholarship in at least one subject.
Scholarships range from $500 for a single subject to $10,000 a year for up to three years of tertiary studies for Premier Award winners.
George, 17, who has been accepted into Harvard University, received outstanding scholarship prizes in calculus, statistics, physics and English, and scholarship prizes in economics and media studies.
"I was really surprised and pleased to see my results," the former Westlake Boys' High School student said.
"I really enjoy mathematics which has some level of critical thinking. We had a really good scholarship unit at school where we worked on complex calculus problems."
George has participated in the International Mathematical Olympiad four times, was top in the world for Thinking Skills in the 2014 Cambridge International Examinations and was the 2015 deputy head boy and academic captain of Westlake Boys.
At Harvard, George is considering studying pure mathematics.
Westlake Boys' headmaster David Ferguson said he was a "fantastic but modest" student who achieved across the board.
NZQA deputy chief executive Kristine Kilkelly said students who gained scholarships were "the best of the best".
"New Zealand Scholarship is regarded as the most prestigious secondary school award available in New Zealand," she said.
"Students are required to demonstrate a very high level of critical thinking and clear application of knowledge, skills and ideas."
Premier Award winners in 2015
• Amaan Merchant - Wanganui High School
• Hugo Brown - St Paul's Collegiate School
• James Hartshorn - Wellington College
• Martin Luk - King's College
• Oxana Repina - Rutherford College
• Soumil Singh
Hamilton Boys' High School
• Thomas Hayes - Auckland Grammar School
• George Han - Westlake Boys' High School
• Zhong Qian Huang - Macleans College