He's 17, one of 12 children "somewhere near the end" - and remains amazed that his drawing won the junior art section at the Waimarino Art Awards last month.

Mohi Williams, a Year 12 student at Ruapehu College, describes drawing as his relaxation.

"I mean I love it, but I haven't thought of it as a career or anything."

His drawing, Unleashed, of a young girl with her hair flying in the wind, was not completed when it was entered, he said. "My art teacher entered it anyway."

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When his teacher told him he had won, Mohi thought she was joking.

"I couldn't believe her. It was so weird. I even got some money."

The young girl in his winning drawing was "a random", he said. "She was just in a book I saw."

Mohi has interests in science as well as art.

He was selected to be part of a scientific Massey University research project this week.

"I like science a lot. It's always interesting and our teacher is awesome."

So art really wasn't a main interest for him, he said. "I just love to draw and some of my brothers and sisters do too, so it's kind of in the family. It's better than TV anyway."

The family live at Waiouru, where Mohi's dad was in the army but now works in his own building business.

"We live in the countryside where it's always quiet and peaceful. I really wouldn't want to live in town. Coming in by bus every day to school is enough for me."