A New Zealand student’s emotional speech during his graduation ceremony has gone viral on social media.

Joshua Iosefo, a student from the Auckland University of Technology, told the 2015 Design and Creative Technologies graduation ceremony how his degree meant more to him than “a piece of paper.”

“I first started walking at the age of two,” the Bachelor of Communication Studies graduate started his speech with a poem as he spoke about different kind of “walks” at different stages of his life. “When I was 20 years old, I found some people to walk with; brothers and sisters from different walks of life and my class, and today is our last walk,” Iosefo continues his emotional and dramatic speech.

"Whoever you are, wherever you've walked from, and wherever you're walking to, even if it's not walking, if it's hobbling or rolling or wheeling, I'm talking to you too."

The 21-year-old young man of Samoan-Niuean descent was born and brought up in South Auckland. He gets emotional as his voice chokes while talking about the challenges people he and many others like him have faced to get this far.

"When we walk across this stage, we’re saying we made it; some of us shut down statistics that say we would have never have taken the first step," Iosefo almost breaks down.

“This stage is not a stage but the starting line of a lifelong race; the only finish line is changing someone else’s life.”

People on Facebook seem quite impressed with the speech. “Gives me goosebumps every time. Nailed it!” says Kirsty Pickett. “Loved your address Joshua... Don't know you but was so inspired by your passionate & heartfelt address!” F Tracy Reupena Tafili says.

“Your delivery was so powerful and your words spoke profoundly of my journey,” Maureen Kumeroa says. “Thank you for reminding us all that we are or can be successful.”

This is, however, not the first time Iosefo came into limelight for his inspiring speech. When he was 17, his speech titled as “Brown Brother” about the stereotypes involved with Pacific Islanders became viral.

Laree Taula from the Ministry of Education said Iosefo’s 2012 speech “had the ability to still an auditorium of restless adolescents.” The speech got a standing ovation, and only those, who were too stunned to hear something inspiring and exciting, remained seated at the end of the speech.

Video: YouTube/Auckland University of Technology

Video: YouTube/Rashad Stanley

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