Presented by Murray Faivalu
Guest Speaker at the Gift to the World Porirua Leadership Awards Ceremony
Thursday 15 September 2016 at the Elim Church,
11 Heriot Drive, Porirua from 10.30am-12.00 pm
Ka tangi Te titi, Ka tangi Te kaka, Ka tangi hoki ko ahau, Tihei Mauri Ora! E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e rau rangatira mā Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Kia ora and good morning to you all.
It is a great privilege and honour, to be in awe of you all this morning, in the presence of His Worship the Mayor Nick Leggett, Distinguished Guests, Principals, the community and most importantly our young primary school students who have received an award recognising their achievements in leadership today.
As you have heard earlier when being introduced, my name is Murray Faivalu, and I’d like firstly to thank the Rotary Clubs for having me speak here today.
I am a Year 11 student, who attends Porirua College and hold different leadership roles myself within the college and within our community. I hold the office of the Student Board of Trustees Representative in our school and am also the current Chairperson to the Student Council, and let me tell you that these leadership roles aren’t easy! Each comes with its own challenges and difficulties. However, it isn’t the problem that matters, it’s how we approach it and respond to it that is key.
In the beginning of this year 2016, I spent 1 whole week around the Tasman Bay in the South Island on a voyage with the Spirit of Adventure New Zealand. This voyage included 25 other young leaders from across the nation who took part on a Leadership Training that was such an awesome experience. Being able to steer the ship, learning how to work together as a team, tending to the different ropes that held the ship together, sleeping in small cabins, climbing up the masts and jumping off the ship into the great big sea every morning even when it was cold, was awesome, apart from the seasickness I had to endure for the first two days. I learnt a lot about being a leader and what I needed to do to be an effective one. And I want to share that knowledge with you today.
The very definition of leadership is “the ability to get others to follow” Now the others are the many young people like you and me who are out there today, who are in search of real leadership. Looking for leaders that don’t just talk but walk with actions, we are looking for leaders with great values, integrity, purpose and commitment.
In order to get these values we as leaders must have different tools to obtain, sustain and follow through. Today’s leaders are struggling to get people to follow them. Many of the youth leadership groups I’ve worked with are filled with students who have a position of leadership but most students are not following them. Do you know that nearly all of these leaders I have met are involved in a club and are rarely, if ever, sent to the Principal’s office for being naughty. These students are great leaders, but it is important that we as leaders understand that we can’t rely on a position of leadership to get others to follow us, or make a difference. We need to be transformed into real leaders! The question you're probably asking in your heads right now is, how can I be a real leader?
Well I think a real leader must master four different areas - Relationships, Empowerment, Attitude and Leadership. When it comes to leadership, everything starts with the relationship between you as a leader and your followers. Empowerment is the key to how people see you and how you see others. If you are not empowered, the question is how can you empower others who should be following you? Everything starts and stops with leadership.
I don’t know, but I might be talking to the next Helen Clark, Hillary Clinton, the next Nelson Mandela, Gandhi. Whoever it may be, I want you to walk out of here today feeling empowered and know that you can make this world a better place. To do this you must stand for something.
When I think of the saying “stand for something” the first things that comes to mind are values. The way to develop these values is through developing good habits. Character is second. If you don’t have character, than what do you have? Once you develop strong values as a leader you become an effective leader.
Effective leaders know how to build good relationships with people and through those relationships people will believe and trust you.
To follow is a choice, but to lead is a gift. Being a leader isn’t as easy as it seems It’s a demanding role that requires a lot of time and effort, plus determination.
John Quincy Adams was the 6th President and Commander in Chief of the United States of America. He once said that “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.
All of you sitting in front of me here have proved to the whole world that you can be a role model that others can look to, and you have also proved that you can put the needs of your peers before your own. You’ve inspired others and have motivated them to learn more, do more and be more and I truly believe that you are a leader!
Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not able to do it! You can, because if you believe in your values more than they believe in theirs, you can conquer anything.
Continue to show your friends, your family and your teachers that you are an extraordinary leader. Every single one of you can make a big difference to someone's life, whether it is one close friend, a total stranger or a large community. Remember your importance and how valued you are to those around you.
Keep on being a great leader, and congratulations once again to today’s awards recipients.