A Northland College student is winning praise from Far North Mayor John Carter for her rap poem, Just Because.
Seventeen-year-old Shania Howard, of Ngapuhi and Te Rarawa, composed the poem about the perception of Maori and the aspirations of rangatahi.
She says she's expressing herself to in response to stereotypes, and that there's a negative view of the region.
Mr Carter is urging Northlanders to read and share Shania's poem.
"We have some wonderful young people in our communities but we don't always give them the credit and encouragement they deserve and need to succeed in life," he says.
"Shania's poem challenges every one of us to look beyond stereotypes and recognise the potential in each individual."
Shania has won a scholarship to study at Waikato University.