A Maori teen with dreams of becoming Prime Minister is one of five Maori youth receiving $20,000 scholarships to help them get into prestigious international universities.
Fifteen-year-old Samuel Taylor was down in Wellington this week for the National Party conference, so missed the scholarship ceremony, but told the Herald "it means the absolute world to me".
Taylor, who comes from "a pretty Pakeha immediate family" has recently starting taking an interest in his heritage and learning te reo at school.
He dreams of being the first Maori Prime Minister and to increase Maori representation in government.
The Te Ara a Kupe Beaton scholarship, awarded by Crimson Education, was founded as a way to encourage young Maori to discover their potential on the global stage. They will each receive personalised mentoring and education services, worth $20,000.
The scholarship was developed to honour Kupe - a tribal warrior who journeyed to discover New Zealand - while at the same time evoking a bold and adventurous spirit in young Maori.
The winners are Taylor, 16-year-old Ariana Guptill, 17-year-old Carym Wharerau, 18-year-old Lily Holder-McFlinn, and 17-year-old Rongopai Te Ata Pounamu Tickell.
Wharerau, whose goal is to study product design at Stanford, MIT, said he has always followed the mantra: "Don't be ordinary, be extraordinary."
We need to look at all the ways we can support young Maori to reach all the aspirations they have for themselves and their community.
"I've always been ambitious and had a soul to be out in the world," he said.
"This scholarship will help me achieve that and help show other young students they can achieve the same thing."
Crimson Education founder Jamie Beaton said the top 40 applicants submitted "incredibly heartfelt applications of the highest calibre".
"The five recipients of the Te Ara a Kupe scholarship displayed qualities of perseverance, leadership, worldly thinking, community mindedness, and self motivation, with a goal to make a global impact to benefit their community."
Fellow judge Shay Wright said the scholarship will make a lasting impact on the winners and their wider community.
"We need to look at all the ways we can support young Maori to reach all the aspirations they have for themselves and their community," he said.
"Te Ara a Kupe Beaton scholarship is one of those things, and Crimson Education is helping to bridge the gap between our community here in New Zealand and the top academic institutions, and provide the academic and mentoring support to get our rangatahi Maori ready for those prestigious environments.
"I hope that each of the recipients is able to gain clarity on what journey they're passionate about pursuing in the future, and have the resources, support and mentorship to make sure they can make a great difference in the world, and back in New Zealand."