He’s also a goofy, gangling 16 year-old Māori boy who loves to hang out with his mates; watching his best friend Riwai – already a dad at 17 – practise his old school popping-and-locking dance moves, eating meat pies in his friend Daniel’s car.
“But his real interest is human rights,” his mother Maakarita says: “He’s been talking that way since he was 10.”
One of Ngaa’s favourite quotes: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Ngaa’s name is based on an old tribal (Tuhoe) saying: “He uira ki te rangi he tauira ki te whenua….Like lightning in the sky, here is an example on earth.”
But it is Ngaa’s grandmother who gently notes: “He’s a Matakite, a wiseman. But really he’s just a boy.”