My name is Tahu Russell, son of Sharon Russell and moko of Maurice Nutira. I am a 17-year-old, deputy head boy at Kaiapoi High School.

Two years ago I travelled to Chengdu, China where I stayed for seven days. This was a project run by the Christchurch Educated team and I was honoured to have been one of the six lucky students selected from the hundreds of nominated students.

I was the only Māori student selected for the China trip and was able to stand and teach 2,000 Chinese students a haka. I have been invited to travel overseas again to the small town of Sendei in Japan from 8-22 July. This town holds our sister school and we hope to forge a stronger relationship with them. The purpose of the trip is to strengthen our education, to expand our culture and to give them a greater understanding of New Zealand and our people. As the only Māori student invited I am proud of my Kāi Tahu heritage and I want to introduce them to many aspects relating to Māori culture, including Kāi Tahu haka and waiata.

I know this trip will be invaluable as I am in my last year at High School. I am looking at a career in the Army but plan to do a commerce degree first to strengthen my academic record.

I recently stood on ANZAC day and delivered two speeches that were very well received and I earned high praise from some distinguished service men. I would love to come to a meeting or speak to some young Kāi Tahu about experiences and how to stand tall as a young Māori man when we are the minority.

I would like to thank the Taumutu Rūnanga for their continued support, and I hope to give a little back in the future.

Tahu Russell, deputy head boy off to Japan.

Tahu Russell, deputy head boy off to Japan.