Auckland student's speech on race unity heard around the world - 'Feels like a jigsaw piece in the wrong puzzle'

An Auckland student's speech on the struggles of trying to stay connected to her former home, Zimbabwe, while trying to fit in in New Zealand, has been heard around the world.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Takunda Muzondiwa talks about the struggle of trying to stay connected to her former home, Zimbabwe, while trying to create a home in New Zealand. Source: Breakfast

Takunda Muzondiwa was a finalist at the Race Unity Speech Awards last month and, despite not winning, her speech has gained more than a million views online and she's been invited to speak at parliament today.

The Year 13, and head girl at Mt Albert Grammar told TVNZ1's Breakfast today she moved to New Zealand when she was seven - her parents looking for a better life.

But the transition wasn't that easy. In her speech says says she "feels like a jigsaw piece in the wrong puzzle".

"For me it was really about the ideas around how I felt the need to assume the values and behaviours of New Zealand culture in order to feel as though I belonged here," Takunda told Breakfast.

"Though I'm a proud Kiwi, I'm also a Zimbabwean and especially as a young person it can be difficult to navigate through your journey of self discovery because I feel like culture is one of those things which really grounds you and your identity."

The confusion stemmed from not knowing how to belong in New Zealand, while at the same time not knowing how to belong in Zimbabwe anymore, Takunda said.

She says she felt "a pull and push" between who she was. "I felt that in order to belong here in New Zealand I had to let go of parts of my Zimbabwean identity.

"I really am grateful for the education, the things that New Zealand has been able to provide for me, and I also know that those qualities are things that I can take back to Zimbabwe - help to rebuild my country and hopefully take us out of that corruption that it's been in for so long."

Takunda's long-term goal is to be the president of Zimbabwe.

Since gaining more than a million views, and seeing comments from other people going through similar feelings, Takunda says it has brought her comfort.