The kids are alright, and as history will probably prove, also all right...
When they're not flossing (not that kind) or scrolling through TikTok, some of New Zealand's teens are out on the sports field winning medals, suiting up for national teams, and winning tournaments around the world – while making the rest of us instantly feel old and contemplate mortality more than ever before.
Here are some of Generation Z's finest Kiwi athletes, who aren't just brimming with potential but also killing it on the world stage:
Joshua Bai is a literal child. He just turned 13 and probably thinks Billie Eilish is old people music. But in the cerebral world of golf, where consistency and mental nous often trumps age or athleticism, Bai manages to stack up with the big boys.
Bai's story is a familiar one when it comes to golf prodigies: He swung his first club when he was seven, was among the top one per cent of golfers in the country at 11, and became a "scratch" golfer at 12 (that's a zero handicap before high school!).
Last month, he announced himself to the country when he shot a ridiculous five-under 65 at the Akarana Open in Auckland, where he sat in a tie for fifth on the second day alongside one of New Zealand's best golfers Michael Hendry. He finished the tournament in 27th, beating several fully grown adult pros.
Achievements: Became the first Kiwi to win the US Kids World Championship in 2017.
Gen Z fun fact: Bai says he's mostly self-coached and studies players like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy by watching videos on YouTube on his iPad.
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Edward Osei-Nketia has got – as Ziggy Marley sings in that Pitbull song that no one knows or likes except dads – options. After hitting headlines last month following his win at the Australian senior 100m title in Sydney, the sprint phenom has been at the centre of a tug-of-war for his services.
Osei-Nketia, son of New Zealand 100m record holder Gus Nketia, still hasn't decided if he wants to represent New Zealand or Australia (he's eligible for both), and has also received lucrative offers from multiple sports.
He has been open about his desire to be an All Black and already reportedly has an offer from a Super Rugby franchise. But on top of that, he's also received six-figure offers from the NRL and AFL according to a Herald report – both sports he has never played.
We'll claim him as a Kiwi for now.
Age: 18 (08 May 2001)
Achievements: Osei-Nketia's semifinal time at the Australian champs of 10.19s likely makes him the world's second-fastest current junior (under-20). It was also the fourth fastest 100m time in New Zealand history. He's widely tipped to become the first Kiwi to break the 10-second mark.
Gen Z fun fact: Celebrated scoring a try by dabbing while playing first XV rugby for Scots College.
Grace Nweke might be the most exciting netball prospect in years. The Year 13 Avondale College student juggles school with playing goal shoot for the Northern Mystics in the national premiership.
After impressing as a wider training partner, Nweke earned a full-time contract with the Mystics last month. She's been influential in helping the struggling Mystics this season, and has on several occasions, completely outclassed Silver Fern defenders.
She grew up idolising the greatest goal shoot in New Zealand history Irene Van Dyk. In fact, there's a lot of the Silver Ferns legend about Nweke – both are 1.93m tall, command the shooting circle like a dude man-spreading on a bus seat, can out-jump most defenders, and are really accurate shooters.
Expect to see a lot more terrible 'Amazing Grace' puns in the future.
Age: 17 (07 Feb 2002)
Achievements: Nweke is also a talented high jumper, which is a handy attribute to have as a goal shoot. Last year, she became the Auckland under-18 women's champion.
Gen Z fun fact: She's a fan of a super hip American R&B artist called Brent Faiyaz who I'm sure you've heard of.
Nico Porteous made history at last year's 2018 Winter Olympics, becoming the youngest ever Kiwi Olympic medallist – beating fellow teen snow sports sensation Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (more on her later) who broke the record earlier on the same day.
Porteous is the only athlete on this list I've interviewed , and when I asked him why he thought young people like himself were thriving at snow sports, he replied: "It's not really an age sport. I think once you get past that 16-year-old age, it becomes even. Just because it's not really a super strength based sport, there's a lot of other factors such as air awareness."
I'm not sure what "air awareness" means, but the country is certainly now aware of Nico Porteous.
Age: 17 (23 November 2001)
Achievements: Bronze (freestyle skiing halfpipe) at the 2018 Winter Olympics, bronze (superpipe) at the 2019 Winter X Games, Sportsman of the Year finalist at the 2018 Halberg Awards.
Gen Z fun fact: See below.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott held the title of youngest Olympic medallist in New Zealand history for a matter of hours, before Nico Porteous won his bronze on the same day at the PyeongChang Winter Games.
Since then, Sadowski-Synnott hasn't slowed down one bit and has had one of the biggest years in New Zealand sport. In January, she claimed the gold medal in slopestyle and silver in big air at the Winter X Games. She then took out the gold in slopestyle at the FIS Snowboard World Championships and added another slopestyle gold at the US Open to complete the snowboarding triple crown (winning the US Open, X Games, and World Championship titles).
She did it all before having her first legal drink.
Age: 18 (6 March 2001)
Achievements: Bronze (big air) at the 2018 Winter Olympics, gold (slopestyle) at the 2019 world champs, gold (slopestyle) and silver (big air) at the 2019 Winter X Games, gold (slopestyle) 2019 US Open, Sportswoman of the Year finalist at the 2018 Halberg Awards.
Gen Z fun fact: Used "#boujee" in an Instagram post, which shows a good sense of "air awareness" for a young person.
Early in his career, Etene Nanai-Seturo was compared to Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau because of his dual-code prowess. But as he becomes more of a regular fixture in Colin Cooper's Chiefs side, Nanai-Seturo feels more like a traditional rugby success story – a special athlete whose heart was set on playing the national game.
He was noticed as a young rising star when he started scoring tries for St Kentigern College's first XV. At just 15, he was signed on a five-year contract by the Warriors – leading to an epic tug-of-war between the club and NZ Rugby over his playing services. He ended up playing for the All Blacks Sevens team, picking up a Commonwealth Games gold medal along the way, and is now a regular starter for the Chiefs.
As New Zealand's best young athletes, especially boys , slowly turn away from the sport, players like Nanai-Seturo offer some hope about rugby's next generation.
Age: 19 (20 August 1999)
Achievements: Member of the gold medal winning All Blacks Sevens team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Gen Z fun fact: He occasionally rocks a blond hairdo, which I guess is not so much a Gen Z thing and more of a general teen thing/phase. Anyway, it looks good.
On June 13 2018, Amelia Kerr had one of those days that most kids dream of.
Up to this point, she had been playing for the Tawa College boys' first XI, and was the only female given dispensation to play for the boys' team by College Sport Wellington. She had represented New Zealand at international level since she was 16.
And on that special day in Dublin, Kerr stepped up and made history. She became the youngest player, male or female, to score a double century in international cricket after she struck an unbeaten 232 off 145 balls for the White Ferns against Ireland. She then had a "wee nap" after her incredible innings, and claimed the first five-wicket haul of her career, conceding just 17 runs.
She went on to finish the year with a batting average of 59 and as one of the hottest prospects in world cricket.
Age: 18 (13 October 2000)
Achievements: Her 232 knock was the highest individual score in a women's ODI match. It was also the third highest individual score in ODI history (male or female). She was named the International Women's ODI Player of the Year at the 2019 NZ Cricket awards.
Gen Z fun fact: From an interview with the Herald : "My friends were sending me snapchats of me on the news."
Anna Leat starred for the New Zealand U-17 side who became the first Kiwi team in history to qualify for the semifinals of the World Cup. In the historic quarter-final win against Japan, Leat pulled off a stunning save in extra time to keep the scores level at 1-1, before saving Japan's first spot kick to give New Zealand the advantage in the penalty shootout. She then stepped up to score the winning penalty herself in perhaps the greatest moment in New Zealand football.
Leat, who made her debut for the senior Football Ferns side when she was 15, chose not to make herself available for this year's World Cup, deciding instead to focus on her studies where she will take up a scholarship at Georgetown University in the United States.
Age: 17 (26 June 2001)
Achievements: Leat won a bronze medal with the New Zealand U-17 women's team at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. Her penalty goal against Japan won the public vote as New Zealand's favourite sporting moment of the year at the 2018 Halberg Awards.
Gen Z fun fact: Leat, like most kids of her generation, is anxious about the deteriorating planet they've been left with. And Leat isn't going to sit back and watch it burn. "The state of the planet is pretty scary but there is also a lot of opportunity for change. It could go seriously downhill from here, or we could bring it back. I'd like to be part of the positive turnaround," she said in an interview with the Herald . We could all learn from this wise 17-year-old.
Alice Robinson is yet another teen bringing snow sports to the forefront. Robinson is New Zealand's youngest ever Winter Olympian, edging out Nico Porteous by eight days. What are these snow sports kids eating? Robinson ended up finishing 35th out of 81 skiers in the giant slalom in PyeongChang.
In 2019, she became the first New Zealander to win a junior world title in alpine ski racing when she took out gold in the giant slalom at the Alpine World Junior Ski Championships in Italy, making her the world number one under-18 racer. She then got New Zealand's first World Cup medal in 17 years when she finished second at the FIS Alpine World Cup finals in Andorra.
Age: 17 (1 December 2001)
Achievements: Gold (giant slalom) at the 2019 Junior World Championships, silver (giant slalom) at the FIS Alpine World Cup in Andorra.
Gen Z fun fact: Robinson's Instagram account features at least two Fleetwood Mac songs, which is proof that Fleetwood Mac is still relevant and is one of the most important bands of all time.
Lewis Clareburt is already being compared to legendary Kiwi swimmer and two-time Olympic gold medallist Danyon Loader.
Clareburt was a late inclusion to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, but ended up taking out the bronze medal in the 400m individual medley in the first major event of his career. He shaved four seconds off his personal best and also set a New Zealand record.
He has since bettered his own NZ record at the Pan Pacific swimming championships and is now targeting a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in the same race that Michael Phelps made famous.
After his bronze at the Gold Coast, Clareburt caught the eye of Doug Frost – former coach of 13-time Olympic medallist Ian Thorpe – who has joined the young swimmer's camp on his journey to Tokyo.
Age: 19 (4 July 1999)
Achievements: Bronze (400m individual medley) at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Gen Z fun fact: Bit of a reverse Gen Z fun fact: Clareburt might possibly be the only teen on the planet who watches the American political drama Designated Survivor , starring a way-past-his-prime Kiefer Sutherland. In an interview with Stuff, he said he was watching the show after he got picked for the Commonwealth Games.