His dream was to be in the army but somehow he's found himself a lead role on a Māori Television bilingual series.
Nepia Takuira-Mita caught the acting bug at 12 after being cast in a theatre production but tomorrow night season two of Ahikāroa premiers, with his character Hemi taking centre stage.
And it's now he realises how close he was to doing anything but gracing our screens.
"My dad was in the army and I just fell in love with what he was doing.
"He was my superhero so I wanted to be just like my dad."
But every time he shared his plans, his dad shut him down, adamant Takuira-Mita would follow a different path.
"He thought I could do better, he didn't want me to follow in his footsteps and he wanted me to aim higher."
Takuira-Mita is yet to confirm with his dad whether a television show was what he had in mind but with season two set to air, you can't doubt the show is doing well.
His character, Hemi, is an old-soul Māori boy from Te Teko, raised by his grandparents and considered the light of the show. But Takuira-Mita said season two showed a different side of the lovable character.
"He has taken quite a change and it sees Hemi facing some actual problems and how he overcomes them."
He said it had been a challenge to play Hemi this season because he wanted to portray him as truthfully as he could.
"I know there are a lot of Hemis out there, so hopefully teenagers who are going through that can relate to him and find some way through."
But the biggest change for Hemi this season was how he looked physically. Takuira-Mita said.
"I saw a few scenes from season one and I was topless and I thought, 'oh man I need to change that'.
"It started with kapa haka. We were training for Te Matatini just gone and performing half-naked so we wanted to get a Matatini body.
"I lost a few calories there and it just kinda became a lifestyle."
Ahikāroa is said to be a realistic drama aimed at a rangatahi audience by being a graphic snapshot of young, city, Māori mindsets and the show's incorporation of te reo Māori is what Takuira-Mita believes makes the show unique.
"It is normalising it rather than trying to teach it on screen. A lot of Māori do switch between the language so this helps normalise the language and grow it."
Ahikāroa returns to Māori Television on May 29.