Young Papali’i makes New Zealand Prime Minister “hopeful”
New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has paid tribute to a young Samoan Kiwi who has been recognised for his generosity in helping out a homeless man in South Auckland last year.
Prime Minister Ardern attended the Kiwibank 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards as the guest of Uili Papali’i.
She posted a photo of them on her Facebook account saying: “At the New Zealander of the year awards and feeling very lucky to be sitting with Uili Papalii.
“You might remember Uili - he was the young man who struck up a friendship with a homeless man after giving him his lunch on the way to school for several weeks. This young man makes me feel so hopeful.”
Papalii was 11-years-old when he helped out a homeless Auckland man, donating his pocket money and school lunches when he saw him in distress outside a butcher's shop.
"I was just walking to school one day and I saw him sleeping in the front of the butcher shop so I went in the shop and bought him a pie then gave him my change,” he told 1 NEWS. "It kept going for two weeks.”
The good deed led to him being nominated for the Local Hero Award and while not making the finalists, the kind-hearted young boy did receive a certificate of achievement and also a night at the PM's table.
He says his actions have "inspired" his friends and family.
When asked what he thought of the Prime Minister's attire for the evening, Uili simply replied "pretty".