A Tongan fine arts graduate and a marine biologist in training are among five young leaders from New Zealand's Pacific community who were recognised at a ceremony at parliament last night.
The fifth Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards were held to recognise achievement and encourage success for young Pasifika in the arts, business, sport, leadership, and, for the first time, science.
The winner of the Leadership category was 17-year-old Leorida Peters, an Aucklander of Samoan descent, who was recognised for inspiring her community to have its voice heard more widely on the international stage.
"Empowering our people to be able to know and engage global issues and to be aware of what's going on around us, not only in our own nation but on a global stage at the same time because most of the forums and the conferences that I do go to, the Pacific community is under-represented and so that's why I really want to push more people into that area."
Leorida Peters says she has a special passion for wanting to help women and children, who she says often struggle to make themselves heard.