Hello, Kia ora, Talofa lava, fakalofa lahi atu, bula vinaka, kia orana,
I am so overwhelmed and humbled by the love shown to me by the diverse and wonderful LGBTIQA+ community of New Zealand and further abroad.
To my Takatāpui and Pasefika friends who have supported and championed me, it is one of the greatest honours of my life.
To the ever amazing Matt Fistonich and Tony Richens from Eikon, your generosity and dedication are what makes this all possible.
To the HIV positive community both here in New Zealand and the rest of the world, I set my sights on this title for you, to show that living with HIV shouldn’t be a barrier to being our authentic selves with dignity.
And lastly to my family and friends and what appears to be the entire population of Rawene in the Hokianga where my wonderful mum lives, I love you dearly.
As I’m sure you know by now I have the incredible honour of representing Aotearoa in the Mr. Gay World competition in Madrid & Maspalomas Spain from the 5th-10th of May.
Winning Mr. Gay New Zealand has exceeded anything I could have possibly envisioned for myself but I have my sights set on bringing the same passion, dedication and strong platform of eradicating HIV stigma.
New Zealand has been known and respected globally for its diversity, progressive spirit and commitment to leading on social justice issues and this is what I most love about our country and what I want to stand for, and share in Spain.
It is a privilege of the highest order to be continuing on with that exact same passion shared by my predecessor, the tremendous community spirited, intelligent and wonderful Bernard Lee.
Being in the running for Mr. Gay New Zealand in a year that had people speaking about body shaming, trans visibility, ableism, intersectionality, LGBTIQ youth homelessness, and racism within and outside of our community just goes to show what we have to offer to the world.
A strong voice, something important to say, integrity and soul.
And that is what I intend to show with every fibre of my being at Mr. Gay World 2017.
With love and gratitude,