She was born 14 weeks early, but that hasn't held a Rotorua student back.
Te Waiarangi Merito Manley is now 15 and this year alone has received a Te Arawa rangatahi scholarship, won the Waiariki Nga Manu Korero speech competition and was involved in the Rotorua Boys' and Girls' High School Raukura kapa haka group which came second nationally.
It is World Prematurity Day on Monday which celebrates little survivors and helps raise awareness of the challenges families face, something mother Cheryl Manley clearly remembers.
"It was pretty scary, I stayed at Waikato [Hospital] for five weeks and five weeks at Rotorua [Special Care Baby Unit] and had family or friends stay with me every single night.
"I definitely learned a lot and our baby book is a family taonga (treasure), it has in it milestones when I could eat just 2ml (of milk)," Mrs Manley said.
"We have a joke in our family that she was so impatient. She just turned 15 and wants to go driving, she's always in such a rush to conquer the world."
Mrs Manley said that it taught her that she needed to advocate strongly for her child and said they were lucky that her daughter had no health issues from her prematurity.
Te Waiarangi has grown up hearing of her early start in life.
"Every single birthday they bring up a new story and I'm lucky to have such a strong family. They were praying for me every single night." The Rotorua Hospital Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) cares for premature babies once they've reached about 32 weeks with those born earlier cared for at Waikato Hospital.
SCBU looks after about 300 babies a year with 40 per cent being there because they are born too early.
Clinical nurse manager of SCBU Jacquie Koberstein said it was a labour of love for them.
"We get to know families really well. It's rewarding to build good relationships with parents and families. We teach parents how to recognise what their baby needs so when they go home they are comfortable in handling their baby and knowing if they are unwell.
"It's fantastic seeing parents who are really scared initially about how small their baby is and then sending them home confident and competent in caring for their child.
"It can be challenging at times, but it's really rewarding and humbling to be involved in the family's journey."