Tristan Pang | Biggar Family Kupe Leadership Scholar


My ultimate goal in life is to help break the child poverty cycle through education. Crime, mental illness, and malnourishment are largely the result of poverty. Poverty, particularly child poverty, is an area that I have seen as my calling from a young age.

At twelve, I experienced something that made a huge impact. I went to speak at a Decile 1 school on their Careers Day. Initially, I couldn’t understand why primary students needed to explore careers so early. Then I learned that many of the kids didn’t have a concept of working. Their family members, from generation to generation, were not in stable employment. Then I realised for many of my peers, poverty had become normalised for them. Since then I have taken the opportunity to give motivational talks at schools and to connect with the students to encourage and support them. What has interested me is how welcoming and engaging they are and how much they want to succeed in life.

I then went on to voluntarily help young people succeed in school by building an online learning hub, broadcasting via my radio programme, tutoring and running workshops. In my term as the University of Auckland Maths Club president, I have introduced outreach events to get the message across to the society that education can change lives.

I was inspired by a movie “The Man Who Knew Infinity” which was based on the life of the 20th century maths prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan in India. The product of a poor family himself. This story made me realise that if he had not persevered in the way he did, his talent might have been lost to the world. As the current National Advisor and Representative of the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children, I wish to be able to support the talent in New Zealand.
Although I may not be able to change the world, I want to at least put a dent in it.

Sponsor: Biggar Family

Mentor: Andrew Patterson, Broadcaster and Business Writer