Inspiring and exciting minds - Story written by Alex Lowrie
The first time I met Joshua I was blown away at the enthusiasm and commitment he shows toward his passions. It’s almost incomprehensible how much he has achieved in his 20 short years. When I spoke to him he couldn’t recall having had a day off in at least two months. Balancing a Bachelors degree in Communication Studies and a great number of extra curricula’s, exploding with personality and kindness he shows genuine passion for his extensive number of pursuits.
Joshua comes from Samoan descent, his grandparents immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1950’s, and he says that his large family are behind him in all of his aspirations.
He has known from an early age that he wanted to be in the Television/Film Making industry. At just thirteen he auditioned for commissioned New Zealand film “Matariki” and made it to the final callback. Although it was ultimately decided he was not right for the part, the director saw something special in this talented young man and put him forward for another short film. It was then that Joshua set his sights on a career in the industry and was what ultimately led him to his television major at AUT “I did Communications because I wanted to make a grad film.”
At 17 Joshua and a few of his peers started up the theatre company Struggle Street, “at first we only wanted to do one show in Auckland, but it sold out, so we took it to Rotorua, then eventually onto Brisbane.” Three years later, the company continues as a success, although as of late Joshua has had to step aside in order to pursue his many other endeavours.
Born and raised in Auckland’s Southern suburbs, attending an inner city high school came as a bit of a shock to the system “I felt really displaced”. During his time at high school, Joshua audition for a role on a TV show but was taken aback when asked by the director to, while delivering his line, “brown it out.” He thought, “When is there going to be a time when my people are not represented like that?” In a moment of anger-fuelled passion, Joshua wrote a spoken word piece, which he titled “Brown Brother.” First sharing it with his parents who urged him to perform it at school, then eventually it reached over 200,000 people online. After catching the attention of Campbell Live and receiving a letter from parliament commending him for his work, Joshua received the honour of being asked to speak at the TEDx seminar in Christchurch, humbled by the experience, Joshua confessed, “I didn’t even know what it was but turns out it’s this huge international thing”.
For the last month, Joshua has been travelling the country with Duffy Books, an organisation that gives free books to children in low decile schools. The company uses role models such as Joshua, to promote the importance of an education, and aim to inspire young children to pursue their dreams. Having been working with Duffy for about a year, Joshua says it has been a hugely rewarding experience being able to visit schools in remote areas and meeting children who are so enthusiastic about having visitors from the big city, “for me it was a real eye opener to see the culture in these places.”
Today, Joshua spends his time at AUT as not only a student, but also an ambassador, helping to organise university events such as orientation and prefect camps. He is also a peer mentor for first and second year students, and as of recently an official AUT blogger. Joshua is contemplating either travelling at the completion of his Degree later this year, or continuing on to do a postgraduate. His lifetime goal: to have a film shown at an international festival. At such a young age Joshua shows a great deal of maturity and selflessness, and with his already astronomical level of success there is no doubt that he will succeed, as well as continue to inspire and excite minds with his insightful work, all around the world.
Checkout Joshua's TED talk video - Inspirational!