Two boys are champions in their own rights. One is jetting off to the United States to compete at the Crossfit Games while another is heading to the national Manu Kōrero competition. What they do have in common is their love for their iwi which helped paved the way to their success. Hiko o Te Rangi Curtis and Te Rangitakaroro Hiini sit down with reporter Leah Tebbutt and talk about where they have come from and where they are going.
Hiko o Te Rangi Curtis, 15, and Te Rangitakaroro Hiini, 14, have imagined life outside of their kura. But it's not for the reasons you would assume.
Both Hiko (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pikiao) and Te Rangitakaroro (Ngāti Rongomai, Tūhoe) have been at Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai their whole school life and they believe it's the reason they are considered champions.
"I have been at this school since I was 4 so I don't know what to expect anywhere else," Hiko said.
"I'd be running fast if I was somewhere else."
For the first time, Hiko has qualified in the Teens 15-16 division at the Crossfit Games and jets off to the United States to compete at the end of July.
He said it was a dream come true. The once-chubby kid started Crossfit to get abs, but now it has given him a direction in life.
"When I leave school I want to build my own Crossfit gym because it's what I love, so I might as well do it."
But he knows he would be nowhere without the support of whānau and iwi.
"People kept pushing me when I really didn't want to do my workouts.
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"Those people supported me and did everything to help me and now I always keep it at the back of my mind, that because of them, I made it."
Passion looks like an easy thing when Hiko is talking but he said he wasn't born with it - it was instilled in him.
He said he feels privileged to go to a kura where his kaiako (teachers) feed him knowledge of te ao Māori and his tīpuna 24/7.
"Te reo Māori running around through all the tongues of these little kids up to my age is heartwarming.
"It is the breath and the hard work of our tīpuna hanging off their tongue."
Te Rangitakaroro agrees.
At 14, his passion for te reo Māori has already led him to become the Junior Māori champion at the regional Manu Kōrero competition.
"My speech was titled, 'My language is mine and yours is yours'.
"It was based around that but I was encouraging people to speak the Māori language how it should be spoken."
Having never competed in the competition before Te Rangitakaroro said his nerves were high and he wanted it over and done with but his pride in his Māoridom kept him going.
"When I was younger I would look up to others and I thought I would like to do that one day so it was cool being up there and thinking, now I am here.
"I am praying that things only get better from here in terms of the language and the history for Māori people.
"It would be nice to hear the reo around the country and not just in places like kura."
And while it still may be early days for Te Rangitakaroro, he already is setting his sights on university and a career in rugby.