Hailing from sunny Whakatane, 18 year old Daniel is a youth leader for the LGBTQI+ community in the area which he says is one of his proudest achievements; “One of my core principles in life is leaving the world a better place than I found it; I see myself achieving that by ensuring that Rainbow Tangata feel more supported and welcomed than I did when they come out”.
In 2020, Daniel was elected to the Whakatane District Youth Council, where he was elected to the leadership team. He also became the Youth Advisor to the Whakatane Ohope Community Board. “It became my mission to support and encourage others either directly or by simply showing them that they are not alone, even in small-town NZ. To aid in this, I worked with my high school support services to found and get officially recognized by the board of trustees, the Whakatane High School Rainbow Group (WHSRG)… Based on the group’s success, it became clear to me that it was capable of more, and as such, I turned its focus to fundraising for Rainbow Youth and local Rainbow EBOP; in the first year, we raised $1,561 through the running of a Pink Shirt Day and bake sales.”
Daniel has been a proud member and volunteer of Rainbow EBOP since 2019 and in that time, he has assisted them in the initial development of a program to help organizations become more rainbow friendly. Daniel attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Wellington, where his team championed a pro-LGBTQI+ amendment.
During high school, Daniel was awarded NCEA L1 with Excellence and NCEA L2 with Merit; during his final year, he was awarded NCEA L3 with Merit and First in Geography, High Achievement in Business Studies and Diligence in Sociology. Daniel was also awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Cup and the Digital Technologies Cup.
“My career goal is to work in the intersection of design and business because I believe that the current business model to consumer interaction is broken and is prone to being shaken up. It doesn’t take into consideration the human element. The simple fact is that design is no longer a choice but rather a necessity, and that principle needs to be shown through every part of the company… I see myself ultimately running my own company selling services to assist other businesses as they adapt. I will continue to work with charities to further the opportunities of rainbow youth, especially from rural areas and marginalized demographics.”
Daniel clearly has the drive and leadership qualities that will ensure he goes on to represent our Rainbow community well wherever he lands.