Pupuke teenager Tyrone Rogers is a young man with big plans. And he is well on the way to making them a reality.
The former Kaeo Primary School pupil has already recorded a significant achievement in being named Whangaroa College dux, the first time in six years that a student has met the criteria for the prize.
Principal Jack Anderson said 18-year-old Tyrone had had to be his own role model, although his older brother had just completed a degree in architecture at AUT and his whanau were very pro-education, which had helped a great deal.
"Tyrone Rogers is young man with big aspirations," Mr Anderson added.
"His dream is to study at Otago and complete a Bachelor of Physical Education, and get the tools he needs to come back to his community and make a change. Tyrone wants to be a teacher - he wants his community to become healthier and happier, and he wants his people to live longer and more rewarding lives."
He had taken his first step towards achieving that goal, gaining university entrance, being named dux and winning a $10,000 University of Otago Māori and Pacific Peoples' scholarship.
"There have been many obstacles in the way for Tyrone, but he never let that become an excuse. He just kept grafting," he said.
"His hard work and dedication to both his studies and his sporting pursuits led to him receiving several awards at this year's school prizegiving, including the Murray Jury Cup (senior sportsman of the year), the Bob Shutt Memorial Trophy (for public speaking), and the Joshua Lane Memorial Cup for the senior student who has enriched the lives of others."
It was also important to recognise the contribution made by Tyrone's whanau in his success.
His grandparents, Wiki and Bernard Rogers (Snr), and his father Bernard Rogers (Jnr), had all supported him in his studies, and all were present to see him receive his prizes, and as his fellow students celebrated his success with a haka tautoko.
In his final speech at the college Tyrone spoke of his lasting memories and passing the torch on to the younger school students, wishing those who would be returning good luck and urging them to make the most of their opportunities, to learn more, work hard and lead by example.
"These are words that will hopefully carry Tyrone through his next four years of tertiary study," Mr Anderson said.