Kaitaia GP Dr Lance O'Sullivan loves the opportunity to become a role model for other young Maori ever since his life was changed by his "45 minute man".

O'Sullivan said he was inspired to start a career in medicine after going to a hui with his auntie and hearing a 45 minute talk from a young Maori doctor.

Now he spends his free time trying to influence the lives of other young Maori, even if it's just in a 45-minute talk.

He may get a bit more time to work on it after the Dream Big Maori competition entries close on Friday, March 24 - one winner will get to spend a whole day with O'Sullivan, and he plans to make the most of it.


He is one of six Maori role models who will spend a day mentoring and encouraging one of the competition winners.

O'Sullivan, who was New Zealander of the Year in 2014, fronts the campaign and is joined by fellow influential Maori figures Tammy Davis, Stacey Morrison, James McOnie, Robett Hollis and Lisa Carrington.

"We do need to ensure that people can, and young people, young Maori, can get exposed to successful Maori," he said.

"That's how my life was influenced, by a successful, young, Maori doctor.

"Seek out your 45-minute man or woman, find that person and be inspired by them. It doesn't matter if they are only in your life for 45 minutes."

O'Sullivan said it was hard to become inspired when he was young because he didn't have much opportunity to be encouraged by people who looked and sounded like him.

"I think whether it's Maori, whether it's Chinese, whether it's Pakistani, whatever, our potential success will be influenced by seeing people that we can relate to, and so no matter your colour or creed, it's going to be the case," he said.

He said he would take any opportunity to get involved in supporting young people.


"I would love to be able to support young people to believe they are capable of more than they believe," he said.

He planned to take his winner on a day with "a lot of leadership stuff".

"It's definitely not a burden, it's a privilege," he said, of taking the winner around with him for a day.

"I'm really looking forward to whoever ends up spending the day with me."

The Crowd Goes Wild reporter James McOnie plans to take his winner out in the field and "really show them a good time".

"We will show them the best possible Crowd Goes Wild day they could have," he said.

"They don't want to be sitting around the office watching the deadline."

McOnie said he had big dreams when he was young of becoming a professional sportsman or making movies. Being on TV is a good compromise, he thinks.

There had been a push in his family, who were mainly professionals, to pursue a career as a lawyer or something similar.

"I think that eventually you do, in the back of your mind, you really do have to listen to what your heart's desire is."

McOnie believed it was important for young people to verbalise their dreams.

"People always seem to be ashamed of saying what they want to do. Maybe it's a New Zealand thing. I think it's positive - get it out there."

Young Maori are encouraged to send in their video entries for the competition by Friday 24 March to get a chance to spend a day with a mentor.