Taipa Area School old boy Ezekiel Raui is packing his bags to fly to London, where he will meet the Queen, tomorrow.

And he'll be taking two special requests with him.

The 20-year-old Whatuwhiwhi man has asked if he can wear a korowai — as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did for her audience last month — and if he can hongi the Queen.

Mr Raui, one of two New Zealanders who have been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen's Young Leaders' Awards, said last week that it was still sinking in.


"I think until I land in London it won't become a reality that it is actually happening. It's still a really surreal feeling to me, but I'm definitely ecstatic and looking forward to it," he said.

He will receive his award on June 27, having resolved to share a hongi with Her Majesty after learning of his selection last year.

"I think being Māori, and it being such a significant part of who I am culturally, that to me is why it's so special. To be able to do it is special, so I'm looking forward to hopefully getting the chance to do that," he added.

Mr Raui, who also understood he would be meeting Prince Harry and Prince William, who was nominated for the award for his work around leadership and mental health, created Tū Kotahi, a peer-support programme led by young people that took form 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 the year before.

In 2015 he took part in the first White House United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) conference, where he met President Barack Obama.