Māoriland's Madeleine (Maddy) Young is a semifinalist in the Young New Zealander of the Year category at the New Zealander of the Year Awards.
"I was pretty shocked and didn't expect it," said Maddy who is a Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka of Māoriland Charitable Trust and programme manager of the Māoriland Film Festival.
"Being nominated for Young New Zealander of the Year is quite surreal.
"Reflecting on it, the kaupapa of our work is about the rangatahi that we are working with.
"In my job it's about supporting youth to achieve their dreams whatever that might be so it's a bit strange to have myself separated out from them with this nomination.
"But at the same time it's nice to be recognised. The results we are getting from our rangatahi and their work is mind blowing so I'm taking it as a win for what all of us have been doing."
Over the last seven years, Maddy has carved out a unique role for herself in Aotearoa's film landscape.
As programme manager of the Māoriland Film Festival (MFF), the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the southern hemisphere, Maddy's focus is on nurturing rangatahi to find their voice through film and develop the practical skills to tell their unique stories.
In this area, a key focus is training and development, enabling them to enter high-value creative work by providing training, mentorship, professional development and networking.
With Maddy's guidance, the rangatahi lead everything - facilitating workshops, writing and producing films, and presenting screenings to their peers.
Last year as well as curating the programme for the MFF and running the rangatahi development strategy, Maddy also co-ordinated youth-led film workshops in Taiwan and Finland.
Starting as Māorilands first employee, Maddy came on board when it was clear that the trust needed to do more than run a yearly festival to become sustainable.
She became fulltime in 2017 and was given the instructions to create a rangatahi strategy and to make it what she wanted.
"There were a few key messages that were expected of me but the main thing was to create a rangatahi strategy for us.
"That was surreal, you don't normally get to create your own job just out of university at 22 years old.
"Everything we do is collaborative and in a team environment but I've had the freedom to take our programmes where they need to go."
When Covid-19 hit Aotearoa during last year's Māoriland Film Festival, Maddy responded, organising workshops and initiatives held in Kaitaia, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tairāwhiti and Ōtaki to connect rangatahi from across Aotearoa with an opportunity to learn the practical skills they need to tell their stories through film.
In the wake of Covid-19, Maddy alongside her team opened M.A.T.C.H the Māoriland Tech Creative Hub Intensifier Programme training young Māori animators in a rapid six-week training programme which took place at the end of last year.