When Rotorua Boys' High School head boy Ngakohu Walker was asked to speak at this year's virtual Anzac service, he wanted to do something different.
Although the day was about honouring the country's soldiers, Ngakohu believed the children of the war made an equal sacrifice.
And it's for this reason that Ngakohu's heartwrenching speech this morning followed the heartbreak of a child losing his father in the war.
The Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown has meant the cancellation of Anzac Day services across New Zealand for the first time in history.
However, people were urged to stand at their "letterboxes, front doors, lounges and backyards" at dawn to commemorate the lost soldiers.
Rev Tom Poata, alongside Ngakohu, would then speak at 9am from a livestream on the Rotorua Lakes Council Facebook page.
Although Ngakohu did not know anyone who fought in either of the World Wars, he said it was the sacrifice of the fathers, mothers and children of that time which he held close to him.
"I just try to take every opportunity I can in this life and show others that they should too."
From taking on choir practice to debating and rugby to kapa haka, Ngakohu did not let any chance pass him by.
"They fought for our freedom and we've got to make the most of it."
Not only that, but the courage and commitment the soldiers held was something Ngakohu hoped to convey to the younger pupils throughout his head boy leadership.
He was heavily interested in history, but also had an affinity for the sciences.
Besides his rugby league contract with the Vodafone Warriors, Ngakohu was looking at taking on an engineering or medicine degree next year.
He said being chosen to speak at this year's Anzac service was an honour.
Ngakohu attended his first dawn service ceremony in Belgium last year.
"It just gave me such a crazy feeling in my stomach ... the amount of New Zealanders that lost their lives just overwhelmed me."
It was this thought process that got him thinking about all the families left at home whose loved ones never returned.
"You don't hear the voice of the children of the war often, so I wanted to use it in my speech."
When asked why he thought it was important for the youth of today to keep the memory of the Anzacs alive, he said it was a way for future generations to ensure a war never happened again.
He said it was vital in "keeping the memory going" but also "raising awareness about the horrible things that happened".
"We need to remember the sacrifice they made, but also the everlasting effect it had on our nation.
"We will remember them, every single one."
A PIECE OF NGAKOHU'S SPEECH:
Dad has just left for war.
He was excited that he got the chance to go off to war for our country, but I wasn't.
I begged him not to go, but I knew that he had to.
"I won't be gone too long, I promise that I will come back home."
Dad was so proud as he marched alongside the other soldiers. Chest out, shoulders back with the biggest smile on his face.
He was proud that he got the chance to fight for his country, for the freedom of his country, right?