At just age 14, Te Awarangi “Awa” Puna began the hormone component of her transition to female.
Awa, now 18, is now sharing her story as part of the Documentary Edge Film Festival in Wellington next week.
Awa told Carly Flynn on Weekend Life that she had known she was a female since basically her first conscious thought.
Upon entering puberty, Awa grew wary of her changing body.
“When I was about 13 it was like an alien was kind of taking over my body,” she said. “This foreign thing my body wanted nothing to do with.”
She soon explained her feelings to her parents, who were overwhelmingly supportive.
“It definitely takes courage, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without such supportive people around me,” Awa said.
The Wellington-based filmmaker has since publicised her journey of becoming her authentic self, with her successful YouTube video “I am Transgender” getting over 12,000 hits.
Her story will be featured at Doc Edge 2018, Born This Way: Awa’s Story screens as part of shorts programme ‘You Go Girl’ with Kicking All Odds, at the Roxy Cinema on 16 May.
Listen to the full interview with Awa above.