When I was in year seven I was labelled a ‘bad boy’ by everyone. I wagged classes and disrespected teachers and my peers. I used to lie to my parents all the time telling them that I was doing good in school. When parent interviews came they found out the truth. My mum gave me this look of disappointment and I knew I had let her down. That was what made me want to change.

In year eight I was put into the Te Aiga Pasifika class. Being in the presence of other pacific students all wanting the same thing, to make our parents proud and pass school was what I needed. I felt at home. My attitude towards school changed completely because I was now surrounded by good friends and teachers. My mum and dad were also more strict on me, checking up that I was attending school and making an effort.

That same year I wrote a speech (Be the best I can be) with my mum for a school competition and we received first place. It went viral on the internet and I started getting offers to MC events and continue with public speaking. This was a big achievement for me.

I am now in year 11 working towards my NCEA. I do find school challenging as there’s a lot of expectation and sacrifices I have to make but I want to succeed. I try to remind myself of my Grandparents journey to Aotearoa to inspire me, and my parents hard work to make me believe that I can be anything I want to be. My hope and dream for the future is to continue to make my family proud.

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