Little person taking giant strides towards big future.
Charlie Roigard was born to be different.
His 2005 birth marked the arrival of Rotorua's first officially classified "little person" in 40 years.
Standing at 1.19m (3 foot, 11 inches) Charlie has achondroplasia, the medical term for short-limbed dwarfism, a condition that affects the body but not the mind.
There was a 50-50 chance he would be born wee, he inherited his stature from his father 1.37m (4 foot, 6 inches) Andrew Roigard.
Neither are towering giants but both have created their own success stories.
Who says size matters? Spend time with Charlie and you're in the presence of a teen with talents by the tonne.
Earlier this year he caught Our People's attention playing Bottom in the combined Rotorua Boys' High-Girls' High A Midsummer Night's Dream production. Hidden under his ass' head his hee-hawing antics brought the house down.
Last monthhe was back in the public eye, centre stage as tenor onein Rotorua Boys' High School's Raukura choir as it notched up a merit award at the Big Sing Cadenza competition between 13 of the upper North Island's top school choirs. Charlie has sung since he was a toddler - music, theatre and creative dance are but three of his list of can-dos.
He was a Rotorua Boys' High School team member at the 2018 New Plymouth Super 8 top boys' school's sports and performing arts festival.
"I played a mental patient in an excerpt from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, that was scary."
Nor is he a slug in the classroom. Last year he achieved his junior certificate with merit endorsement, his 2019 target is an excellence award.
At Rotorua Intermediate he bagged a principal's award, last year he represented the school at a Waikato University leadership forum and this year has brought him a leadership award. It's already being predicted he's future prefect material.
Charlie's also proving himself a dab hand at woodwork, the three-legged stool he's built is a complex piece of mathematically challenging cabinetry.
But there is one thing Charlie's not so good at, it's talking about himself. Like any typical teenage boy he's not a great conversationalist which is why having his mum, Judi Sullivan, close by is a bonus for Our People's question time. Charlie doesn't switch off, he's on high alert, correcting her if she falters.
The two are a tightly bonded unit.
From Charlie's conception, Judi was conscious there was a 50-50 chance he'd carry his father's little person genes. It's estimated there are around 250 of their kind in the country.
Confirmation the child she was carrying would likely be a member of this exclusive club was picked up by a scan in the 26th week of her pregnancy. "They said 'something's not quite right', then when he was two days old his achondroplasia was confirmed."
A genetic specialist has predicted by the time Charlie stops growing his full height will be around 1.45m. Their boy's size made not a jot of difference to either parent, Charlie is their Charlie, cherished regardless.
Aware bullying could be part and parcel of her son's school days Judi admits to a certain apprehension when he started at Westbrook Primary School, how would the other kids perceive him?
Their reaction was the exact opposite to the teasing she feared.
"The girls were picking him up, cuddling him, treating him like a doll or baby brother. They had to be told to let him be more independent, but from that early attention, he developed a wonderful group of friends.
"We took him to an Armageddon convention in Auckland, Charlie went as Darth Vader, people were videoing him, taking his photograph."
Given space to express himself was exactly what Charlie needed - he's a resolute "give everything a go" kind of guy.
At Westbrook he joined the kapa haka group.
Football became an interest, he'd love to still be playing but reality is reality. "The other kids got bigger and my legs wouldn't carry me like theirs did, besides at intermediate I developed a tricky knee, the doctor said 'give it a rest for a year'."
When trampolining business Flip Out was operating Charlie was a regular on the tricks circuit becoming a Little Ninja blue belt.
Charlie defends himself against our incredulous, "You're kidding, out there with all those beanstalk blokes" when he reveals his second sport of choice is basketball.
"I'm a pretty good dribbler, have a lot of fun."
Fresh bullying concerns surfaced when he entered RBHS as a new boy among much bigger boys. But there was nothing to be concerned about.
"Charlie's popular, outgoing, the senior boys watch his back to prevent any random idiot picking on him."
His mountain of friends cross the genders, he and a girl he's pally with have created a YouTube channel for screening the wacky videos they shoot. Charlie's very definitely a child of the digital age. "I guess you could call me a screen freak."
Naturally, his mum's "super proud" her boy's such a high achiever despite the limitations his stature imposes on him. "He's an absolute bundle of energy, he's never sat on the sidelines. Bless his heart, he's even tried high jumping, given long jumping a go, has run in races, he's never let being what he is get in his way."
Born: Rotorua, 2005.
Education: Westbrook, Primary, Rotorua Intermediate, Rotorua Boys' High School.
Family: Father Andrew Roigard, mother Judi Sullivan, stepfather Stephen Hurring. Two half-brothers, two stepbrothers, stepsister. "A heap of wonderful cousins."
Interests: "My mixed family." School, music, drama, sport, bouncing on the tramp, YouTube, gaming, travel. "I've been to Australia five or six times, Fiji twice."
On his life: "I'm grateful for the life I've had so far."
The coin flips of being a Little Person: "The downside's not being able to do some of the physical things my mates do, a positive is people remember me."
On his future: "I don't have a dream job lined up yet."
Personal philosophy: "IDK [I don't know], I'm still working on it."