Six years ago, 16-year-old Michael Ren didn't know how to use a computer.
Now, the aspiring software engineer has received a top award for designing an app to help parents track their children's academic progress.
The Year 12 Tauranga Boys' College international student was named the Supreme winner of the Young Innovator Awards - a programme for local students to promote innovation - for his app Insightz.
Michael also received the top Category Award for Creativity taking home $2000 in prize money and an internship with local tech company Cucumber.
While he was "pretty confident" in the creation, Michael said he was still "pretty surprised and excited" when he found out the results.
The young entrepreneur created the app after seeing his parents struggling to understand his NCEA academic results on the school's CRM system.
Michael, who moved from China with his mum Niki Li in 2015, said the app helps parents whose second language is English engage in their children's learning.
Now in its third version, the app provides a rank score and weighted grade point average calculations, NCEA progress tracking across multiple year levels and a variety of graphs for parents.
It also helps students get a clear picture of how they are tracking in different subjects.
"In year 10, I was talking to my mum and she didn't really understand how the New Zealand grading system worked. I made a very basic prototype to show her, and she thought it was very useful," he said.
After developing a second version, Michael said the latest app was more "complicated and powerful".
"Students can either input their grades from their student portal, or they can add their grades manually as the year progresses.
"Parents will be able to engage in their children's learning and help them if they need to. Some parents just don't know what is going on at school at all."
Michael's first time using a computer was at Tauranga Intermediate but his passion for programming came alive once he started at Tauranga Boys' College.
"I became obsessed with programming when I was 14 and started teaching myself."
He said now he "can't live without doing it".
There were 417 entries in this year's competition, which challenges Bay of Plenty students to come up with a unique innovation that will make the world a better place.
Michael said he hoped to become a software engineer specialising in machine learning and technical intelligence and the awards were a leaping-off point to his future career.
His mum Niki Li was "really proud", with the results coming as a "big, big surprise".
She said it was "really good" to see her son "follow his passion" and succeed.
The pair had to learn English from scratch when they first arrived in New Zealand and hadn't seen Michael's dad for more than two years.
Before the pandemic, he would visit New Zealand every few months, but the family had been split since the borders closed.
While this was hard on the family, Li said this award had bought "a little bit of comfort" to Michael's dad back in China.
Cucumber chief executive Rob Ford said he was "so impressed" with Michael's software development.
"What stuck with us most was his understanding of his target market and the problem to be solved. That is ultimately what separates great technology from that of the pack."