Malia Te Pairi wants to show others that leaving school at a young age doesn't have to stop you achieving your goals.

The Rotorua 17-year-old has made staff at Rotorua Youth Centre "extremely proud" with how much she has grown, having recently received a full scholarship to the Spirit of Adventure, worth $2400.

The programme begins on October 20 in Auckland and involves being on a boat for 10 days.

"It's like being a pirate for 10 days except you're not allowed to swear," she said.


"I've heard most people who come back from it have a whole new perspective on life."

Malia, who left school at 14, said it felt nice to have accomplished what she had.

"It shows all my mates you don't need school, most of my mates go to school."

Last month she passed her learner driver's licence, and is also doing a Te Arawa Lakes Training course, which involves automotive and employment skills.

She said she would like to get a welding qualification eventually and was applying for a job until her next course started.

Malia said she recommended youth go to Te Arawa Lakes Trust and the Rotorua Youth Centre as you learned a lot.

Rotorua Youth Centre manager Steve Holmes said he had been working at the centre since Malia was about 14.

"We've watched her grow and been really proud, particularly over the last year how much she's grown.

"She's got a vision and goal, and her tutors are very pleased with her progress."

Mr Holmes said the Rotorua Youth Centre saw potential in every youth and Malia had exceeded their expectations in a short period of time.

He said he asked Malia the other day if she minded him getting in contact with the newspaper about her scholarship and she replied she was happy for him to if it helped other people.

"That speaks volumes to me."

Mr Holmes said the Spirit of Adventure youth development programme involved a lot of teamwork and confidence building.