An India-born teen's prescription to combat racism has earned her the title in the national Race Unity Speech Competition in New Zealand.
Kimberly D'Mello, a Class 12 student at Tauranga's Aquinas College, in the North Island, won the competition at Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier, Auckland on Saturday night, the online Stuff reported on Sunday.
D'Mello, who was born in India but raised in New Zealand, made it through regional finals, heats and then the final eight at the speech competition to win NZ$1,000 for her school and NZ$1,000 for herself.
"Do not wait for someone else. Do it yourself. Do not get someone else to fix the problem. Do it yourself and don't rely on the Aussies," she told the crowd during her seven-minute speech.
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, who was one of the judges, said D'Mello had "captured the fundamental essence of human rights".
"We are all responsible for the kind of country and community we live in," she said.
D'Mello, speaking from her home in Tauranga on Sunday, admitted to some nerves on the night but said it was good to perform in front of such a large audience.
The student said she had not experienced racism herself but she had seen a lot of it.
The theme of the night, however, was about bringing people together, so that is what she focussed on, she said.