Two Northlanders have made the shortlist for Young New Zealander of the Year.
Ezekiel Raui, mental health advocate and founder of peer-support programme Tū Kotahi, and Shay Wright, co-founder of Te Whare Hukahuka - an educational social enterprise that works with Māori community organisations - have been named semi-finalists for Young New Zealander of the Year in the 2020 New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Raui, who is from Whatuwhiwhi, said it was "amazing" to be named as a semi-finalist, especially because he has his eyes on being named New Zealander of the Year like two of his mentors Dr Lance O'Sullivan and Mike King.
"My goal, because I love a bit of competition as well, is to try get it a little younger than they were - so we shall see," he said.
Raui is only 22 years old but he already has a list of notable achievements.
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; he has a Bachelor of Business and plans on starting his masters; and he has made the Forbes 30 under 30.
He said he strives to do better and to receive different awards to showcase to young people what is possible.
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"For me, coming from humble beginnings and growing up in a real community, I want to continue to reinforce how anything is possible for our young people, regardless of the circumstances they come from, as long as they put their mind to it, they believe in themselves and their dreams."
This is the second year Wright - who grew up in Takahue - has been shortlisted for Young New Zealander of the Year. He made the finals for the 2019 award, which was won by Kendall Flutey.
Wright, who was head boy of Kaitaia College in 2007, is a well known social entrepreneur and was named in the 2016 Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list of social entrepreneurs.
He has also been a finalist for the 2016 and 2017 Young Enterprise Alumni Award, 2017 Young NZ Innovator Award, 2017 and 2018 Matariki Young Achiever Award, and a double finalist for the 2019 Impact Awards.