Okirano Tilaia, Cashmere High School’s Head Boy, has given a speech beyond his years at a Christchurch vigil held in remembrance of those who lost their lives in last week's shootings.
The vigil was host to thousands of people who gathered in the evening sun shortly after 5pm today.
Mr Tilaia called on New Zealanders to redefine who we are as a community, city and nation.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can. Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can," he said.
"We are ultimately one. Together we will stand tall."
He cited the late Martin Luther King, Jr. as a leader who inspired many in the pursuit to unite in love and not hatred.
"When you see hatred, you say love, when you see anger, you say peace," he told the crowd.
"For we do not let these horrific events define who we are, who we are as a community, who we are as a city, who we are as a nation."
Watch Okirano Tilaia's full speech above.