Talofa, Kia ora, Malo e Lelei,
First and foremost, I would love to thank my aiga/family and friends for their continuous support, love and words of encouragement. I am certain that without their support, I would not have had the courage to stand before our community and New Zealand as the next representative of Mr Gay New Zealand.
Sunday the 10th of February 2019 will forever be the day I will hold dear to my heart as it marks a pivotal point in my life where I was blessed with the honour of representing not only Aotearoa but also, our diverse LGBTQIA+ community to the world. I am grateful to be a part of this journey filled with challenges and humbling experiences along the way.
As the new representative of our LGBTQIA+ community, I want to inspire our future leaders to step up and continue to educate the community, raising awareness and leave a legacy for our next generation of rainbow youth and our Polynesian people.
I believe there is more work to be done in our schools, workplaces, mainstream media and community circles, especially in our own homes. I see the work we accomplish as ripples in the great Pacific Ocean and we need to work together to gain momentum. Our small wins will add to our larger goals, thus slowly growing into powerful waves that travel across to new shores and reach new people.
These waves of positive change reinforce that we need to be a united community with strong groups and individuals that can address these pressing issues and stigmas. We have achieved so much in the last few years but we still have more challenges ahead of us.
I intend to address social and political behaviours that have been practised over generations and work with our people to lead others to the right tools and the great facilities that are accessible to us.
I am nervous don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t, but knowing that I have family, friends and the support from my LGBTQIA+/family I know I can step into the unknown with confidence.
To conclude, I would like to sincerely thank my fellow contestants for their contribution towards this noble cause and I am forever grateful to have the honour of meeting such courageous and inspiring men.
Furthermore, I wish them the best of luck as they continue to accomplish amazing things for our people and make waves of positive change. Moreover, I would like to acknowledge the incredible people behind the scene, the unsung heroes and the ones that have made this a reality. Your actions have not been unnoticed and you have my gratitude for the amazing work you continue to do for our community.
“Faafetai tele lava – Thank you so much”
Always with love.