Gala Dinner Speeches 2019: Falcon Karangaroa, Z Energy

Since I have been at uni, I have regularly heard, that in the corporate world, people would criticise my culture, my ethnicity, my beliefs. But believe it or not, these were never the things I was scared being criticised of the most.

Since the age of 4, I've had a speech impediment, and since then, everyday has been a test against my mental strength. When TupuToa called me and said I had been accepted into the programme, I was very uncertain. I constantly asked myself, what kind of corporate company would want to hire a person who cannot speak properly? Soon enough, it was time to have my interview with Z Energy, and it was the most nervous I had been in a long time. It was my first interview with a corporate organisation, something I had ironically feared since beginning university. Unsure and uneasy, Sione had to repeatedly tell me to stay confident, stay positive, and be who you are. A short time after the interview, I was fortunate to be given an internship with Z Energy!

From day 1 at Z, I felt like I was accepted for who I was. A stuttering, 6'2 Maori, whose opinion was equal to everyone's around him. Having a stutter, can feel helpless, as not many can truly understand the vocal challenges and anxiety that face you everyday. But thanks to TupuToa, I was able to find an organisation that accepted those challenges, and embraced every part of who I am.

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