This week is Youth Week - eight days of celebrating New Zealand's young people.
At the time of the 2013 census there were 16,683 15 to 24-year-olds living in Northland.
While it can be easy to focus on the negative when it comes to youth in the region, there is plenty to celebrate.
Throughout Youth Week the Northern Advocate will be profiling young people from around the region who are doing incredible things.
Today we share Ezekiel Raui's story
Be optimistic and give new things a go, make mistakes and learn from them, and most importantly - believe in yourself.
That's the advice Ezekiel Raui would give to other young people from Northland.
He knows words can be "just words" to some. But for him, continuous practise of those three things have helped him get to where he is today.
The 21-year-old admits to getting a bit whakamā (shy) when people tell him he's doing amazing things, but it's true.
In 2015 he met President Barack Obama; he was a 2018 Queen's Young Leader and received the award from Her Majesty during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace ; he talked mental health with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they visited last year; in 2013 he designed peer-support programme Tū Kotahi which is now in some schools; last month he graduated Massey University with a Bachelor of Business; and he has made the Forbes 30 under 30 .
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Raui, who is of Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi descent, was born in Rotorua and spent his first five or six years in Tokoroa before moving to Auckland and then to Whatuwhiwhi when he was 10.
He had a humble upbringing and has stayed everywhere from old buses, to on the floor, and in small rooms with his family while they were finding their own space.
"We didn't have much materialistically. The idea of going to McDonald's, for example, was a treat. But I wouldn't change it for the world. It is why I am the way I am today."
Raui's dad was a bus driver and his mum stayed home to support Raui and his three younger siblings.
"Because of that foundation, what we lacked financially we had in support. And for us, home was a supportive, conducive environment for our dreams and our aspirations."
Raui attended Ahipara Primary, Paparore School, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rangiawhia, and finished at Taipa Area School.
He said up until he was 13 he wanted to be a palaeontologist.
That changed after he noticed his peers were always late to form class and asked them why one day.
"They said it's the easiest time, when everybody is in form class, to sell drugs and alcohol at school. When I asked them why they said because to them, that's what it meant to be Māori, to be Pacific Island. Ever since then I've always aspired to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand."
That was still Raui's goal until recently. Now he aspires to be the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
But it was at that moment he realised he wanted to support his peers to change their mindset.
Last month Raui graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Business - it was one of his proudest moments.
"I know I've had some pretty crazy experiences. But for me being the first in my family to attend university, then to be the first in my family to complete my bachelor's and to graduate from university. It was an overwhelming moment."
Since graduating Raui is focusing on Tū Kotahi - the peer-support programme which was born on two pieces of paper after comedian and mental health campaigner Mike King spoke at Taipa Area School in 2013 following a cluster of suicides in 2012.
It's now being piloted in schools.
"I wouldn't have got there first and foremost without my family, secondly without the mentors I've had like Mike King, Dr Lance [O'Sullivan] and Matthew Tukaki, to a range of different people I've managed to meet. A culmination off all of that took Tū Kotahi from paper to project."
Raui said whenever he has the honour of speaking at schools, he bases his talk on what he considers the three keys to success.
"The first one is to be optimistic and always give new things a go, and always encourage other people to give new things a go. The second is make mistakes and learn from them - the only time a mistake becomes a failure is when you don't learn from it. The last one, and probably the most important to me, is the importance of self belief."
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider.
However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE : 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE : 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP : 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
• SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666.