Fisher Wang, 19, was just finishing his shift at McDonald's when he got the call. The teenager who turned 19 just two weeks ago and who left school a year ago, had become Rotorua's youngest councillor, and the second youngest in the country. He knocked off, celebrated briefly - including taking a phone call from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to congratulate him - and was back at work the next morning. Zizi Sparks reports.
Wang's family immigrated from Taiwan more than two decades ago and Wang was born and raised on a farm in Kaharoa. He went to Kaharoa Primary School then John Paul College where he was a prefect. When he graduated last year his life was planned out.
"I had everything set up to go to Victoria University to study law and environmental science but a few weeks before I was supposed to go I had a thought in my head 'is that really what you want to do?'
"That thought grew bigger and bigger," Wang told the Rotorua Daily Post.
"I knew the local elections were coming up and thought maybe I'll give that a go and see how I can give back to the community."
Initially, his family was worried he could be heading down the wrong path but they've since been supportive, Wang said.
I had a thought in my head, 'is that really what you want to do?'
Ten months later, he was elected.
His mother died in 2014 from cancer and Wang said she would be proud.
"I don't think she'd have thought I'd be running let alone elected but she'd be proud."
Wang has been working in the McDonald's Fenton St cafe for just over a year. It was his part-time job at school which he kept at after graduating.
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He's undecided if he'll keep working there given the result.
"Being a councillor is a very important role. That will be my primary focus."
Wang has always been interested in politics but said what really planted the seed was meeting Jacinda Ardern when she was campaigning.
"We're not used to seeing someone so young running for Prime Minister. It was a really refreshing thing to see. It opened the door for youth and was such a cool experience getting to talk to her."
Wang got the chance to talk to Ardern a second time this weekend when she called to congratulate him on Saturday and give him advice.
"I was gobsmacked.
"She said don't be afraid to speak up for yourself, put your hand up, do as much as you can and it will be wonderful experience."
As for perhaps taking Ardern's job in the future, Wang said that would be a dream.
"At the moment I want to focus on the Rotorua community."
During the election campaign, Wang was subjected to racial slurs while putting up billboards.
Wang was putting up two billboards on Pukehangi Rd when someone in a car driving past yelled: "We're not voting for ******* Chinamen".
When asked what he'd say to those people now, Wang said he had proven them wrong.
"Anyone can be elected and we should see diversity as a strength."
Wang thought his age might have been a barrier to getting elected.
"It's cool to see the community look past my age and see what I stand for and how I hope to contribute.
"One thing we've already done is bring more diversity into council. I want to bring a more youth and future-focused agenda."
In the next few years Wang said he wanted to learn as much as possible.
"It will be a lot of learning ... but I'm looking forward to it and want to get straight into it. It really is an honour to be elected and I hope we'll achieve some great things," he said.
Wang is the second youngest councillor nationwide behind 18-year-old Sophie Handford who was elected to the Kapiti Coast District Council. Rohan O'Neill-Stevens, 19, was elected to Nelson City Council and is just two months older than Wang.