While many of us think about maths as numbers our brains can't compute, one young Rotorua man thinks of it as "full of creativity and artistic interpretation".
And now he is taking this view, with a passion for the subject, to be among the best in the world after being awarded a prestigious scholarship to study what's traditionally regarded as the toughest degree at Cambridge University in England.
Former John Paul College deputy head boy and academic captain Ishan Nath, 18, has been awarded the Sir Douglas Myers scholarship and will apply to study Mathematical Tripos.
The scholarship provides tuition and college fees and a living allowance and is worth approximately £34,000 ($60,000) a year.
His passion for maths grew the more involved he became with Olympiad.
"I learned that mathematics was not a subject meant to be rote-learned but was instead full of creativity and artistic interpretation," he said.
Nath represented New Zealand in the International Mathematics Olympiad for the past three years, winning a gold medal last year and a bronze medal the previous two years.
This was topped off with a perfect score in the Australian Mathematical Olympiad and a gold medal in the Asian Pacific Mathematical Olympiad.
He said he would be involved in the Olympiad again in the future.
Nath taught maths as an invited lecturer, a workshop volunteer and a paid tutor, saying he had "always been inspired by seeing students solve these problems with their own creative processes".
He had a keen interest in physics and computer science, and wanted to be able to take this to work on problems with real-world impact.
For him, working for the community was also important.
Nath had a keen interest in music, speech training and volunteering at the local Trade Aid and Lake Okareka Fire Brigade.
He said he wanted to stay involved with Fire and Emergency New Zealand as a volunteer firefighter and climb to be a crew leader one day, helping others get into volunteer firefighting.
The late Sir Douglas Myers set up the scholarship 18 years ago for academically gifted students intending to return to New Zealand to become leaders in their chosen fields.
Chairman of the selection committee John Taylor said the university's director of studies in mathematics said Nath was "up with the best students he had interviewed over the past 25 years".
"Given that the Mathematics Tripos is traditionally regarded as the toughest degree at Cambridge, Ishan has shown that our top New Zealand mathematics students can compete with the best in the world."
He said they would be following the "hugely talented" young man's career.
Sir Douglas Myers was a well-known businessman and former leader in the brewing industry.
He was a significant supporter of education, business, sport and the arts. The scholarship continues his legacy of finding ways to create opportunities to encourage young New Zealanders to succeed in global competition.
Universities New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee, administers the scholarship in addition to around 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.
Applications for the 2022 Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship close on December 1.