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''Time is the most valuable asset because you can't buy it. So I try to use it wisely.''
Ben Hayward loves the performing arts, so using his time ''wisely'' means spending every spare moment he has on stage.
The 17-year-old Bayfield High School actor and musician says he received an early introduction to the stage.
His parents used to put on pantomimes at the town hall every year.
As a preschooler, he said he was drawn to the drama on stage and wanted to be a part of it.
''I'd learnt all the moves and I wanted to put myself out there.
''So from a young age, I sort of put my foot down and said, 'I'm going on stage'.''
And the rest is history.
He says he has been fortunate to have the support of his parents.
He participated in many shows during his primary school years, but it was not until he was in high school that he really discovered his passion for the stage.
''I've done more and more and more as I've found that I really loved it.''
During his time at Bayfield High School, Ben has performed in all of the school's annual productions and played a lead role in 2018.
He has also performed in Musical Theatre Dunedin's last three shows, played a lead role in Musical Theatre Oamaru's 2018 production of Mamma Mia!, performed in the 2016 and 2018 Taieri Musical Society productions and will take on a lead role in Blood Brothers in October.
Alongside drama and theatre, Ben has become an accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist.
In 2017 and 2018, his duo was a national finalist in the Who Loves Who recording competition, and was a national finalist in the Lion Foundation Song Writing Competition and the National Secondary School Songwriting Competition this year.
He has also been a regular competitor in the Otago regional Smokefreerockquest competition.
Next year he wants to study music at the University of Otago, and pursue every performance opportunity that comes his way.
''I'd love to do performing arts, act in shows or movies, or play in a band. Anything like that would be ideal.''
Achievements: Head boy (2019); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with merit; choir blues (2017-19); contemporary music blues (2017-19); drama blues (2017-19); Who Loves Who recording competition national finalist (2017, 2018); Lion Foundation Song Writing Competition national finalist (2019); National Secondary School Songwriting Competition finalist (2019); Otago Smokefreerockquest (2016, 2018, 2019); school productions (2015-19), lead role (2018); Taieri Musical Society productions (2016, 2018, 2019), lead role (2019); Musical Theatre Dunedin (2017, 2018, 2019); Musical Theatre Oamaru lead role (2018); school kapa haka leader (2017-19).
Role model: Singer-songwriter John Mayer.
Hopes for the future: To study music at the University of Otago.
This time three years ago, Eva Hofmans remembers sitting on her couch, watching New Zealand rower Mahe Drysdale win a gold medal at the Olympics, and thinking: ''I could do that''.
''It was a lightbulb moment. I could see myself doing it.''
Soon after in 2016, full of enthusiasm, she took her first few strokes, but it wasn't as easy as she thought it would be.
''I got off to a shaky start.''
Following a change of coach and a change of mindset, she competed at the 2017 R2K singles regatta and won a silver medal.
''I started to believe I could row. I can actually do this.''
And she hasn't looked back.
Since then, Eva has accumulated a long list of regional and national rowing successes, and recently became a junior world rowing champion.
In the past year alone, she was named a member of the New Zealand junior rowing team, was a gold medallist at the World Junior Rowing Championships in the women's quad in Tokyo, a gold medallist in the New Zealand Rowing Championships women's senior and club singles, a silver medallist in the Maadi Secondary Schools Rowing Championships girls under-18 singles, a gold medallist in the South Island Club Championships women's singles and a silver medallist in the women's senior singles.
She said she never dreamed of having such success when she started rowing.
''Three years ago, I didn't play a sport.''
One of the things she has learnt about rowing is that being physically fit is only half of the battle.
''It's really a mental sport.
''I've done everything I can physically to win the race. The only thing that would stop me on race day is negative thoughts or over-thinking the race and doubting my ability to do well.
''I'm learning that confidence breeds success.''
It is a lesson that is spilling over into other facets of her life.
Next year, Eva hopes to gain a rowing scholarship to study psychology and French at an Ivy League university in the United States.
She also aims to compete at an Olympic Games.
Achievements: Sports prefect (2019); NZ junior rowing team (2019); 1st World Junior Rowing Championships women’s quad in Tokyo (2019); 1st NZ Rowing Championships women’s senior and club singles (2019); 2nd Maadi Secondary Schools Rowing Championships girls U18 singles (2019); 3rd South Island Secondary Schools U18 singles (2019); 1st South Island Club Championships women’s singles, 2nd women’s senior singles (2019); 4th Maadi U17 singles (2018); 3rd South Island Secondary Schools U17 singles; South Island U18 rowing team (2018); Otago Club rower of the year (2019); Otago female school rower of the year (2018, 2019); NCEA level 1 with excellence, level 2 with merit; sport blue (2018).
Role models: My mum and NZ rowers Zoe McBride and Mahe Drysdale.
Hopes for the future: To study psychology and French at an Ivy League