From inspired to inspiring, Talei Bryant will soon be taking the stage to speak to thousands of youth who were once just like her.
It was last year when she attended Festival for the Future in Wellington where she was deeply moved by speakers like Meihana Durie and Aroha Lawrence. So much so she went on to co-found the Find your Fish movement.
Through her office in Kawerau, she runs programmes around the community to help people find their passion and hopes eventually it will be a nationwide support group.
"I see so much hurt and so much pain in my community so I just want to see them happy," she said.
Now this year, Talei has been invited to speak at the annual festival which supports young New Zealanders to connect and discuss major issues affecting young people, including climate and inclusion.
At 22, she already speaks with confidence and passion but confirms it's not as easy as it looks to uplift your community.
"You hit a brick wall where you feel like nothing is going right, but you know if you keep pushing you will scratch the surface of a goldmine and it is going to be great.
"It's not easy, it's hard but it's a 'worth it' hard."
Growing up in the Waimana Gorge has meant a childhood of isolation but she hopes her experience transfers to those she speaks to as an "I can do it so can you" attitude.
"There is no strong community vibe and I want to bring that back in.
"Our life is so short so every day I am living I want to make sure I am making an impact on people."
Joining her in Wellington will be Marlena Martin (Tūhoe, Te Arawa) who has led the Kawerau Future Leaders programme since 2018.
Her empowerment and wellbeing programme, The Pounamu Project, which targets high school rangatahi, recently received funding to go ahead and she also facilitates confidence workshops in New Zealand and Australia centred around modelling and cultural identity.
It was her upbringing in Minginui and then in Rotorua which created her passion for rangatahi.
"When you are in a place that isn't nourished in opportunities it is easy to struggle to find your place and it was only when I moved to Rotorua for high school I began to realise it was okay to have dreams.
"I want people to feel empowered, worthy and enough to believe in themselves and fulfill their dreams."
She said sometimes all it took was someone to believe in them which would lead them to take positive steps and impact their families.
Festival for the Future is being held in Wellington on July 26 to 28. Tickets can be bought here.