Twenty-year-old Whatuwhiwhi man Ezekiel (Zeke) Raui last week added meeting Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex to an already extraordinary CV.

Mr Raui proudly wore a korowai (but apparently did not achieve his stated ambition of greeting Her Majesty with a hongi) to Buckingham Palace to receive a Queen's Young Leader's Award.

The National Youth Ambassador and youth development director for the Key to Life Charitable Trust, a Hawea Vercoe Alumni and youth board member of the MOKO Foundation, he is currently in the last year of study for a business degree.

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


Mr Raui, who received the Queen's Young Leader Award for his work in encouraging Maori men to take up leadership posts and to talk more openly about mental health issues, said from London that while the Palace was "breathtaking," his private audience with Prince Harry and the Duchess Sussex was "phenomenal and more importantly, energising."

He had found the couple motivating, very genuine, down-to-earth and engaging.

Prince Harry had admired his korowai, calling it his "pick for outfit of the ceremony."
Her Majesty had also inquired about it as she awarded him his medal, Mr Raui telling her that it was traditional Maori attire, that it belonged to his family, and was a reminder that no matter how far he was from home they would always be there to support him.

Mr Raui's mother, Vanessa, said she, his father Tunui and the whole whanau were incredibly proud of her son. She did not know anyone else who had met the Queen, or any royalty for that matter, but he had taken the whole experience in his stride.