Matthew, 17 years old, Brain Tumour
In 2016 Matthew was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. After three major brain surgeries, one which was eight hours long and left him with 24 staples in his head, Matthew was cleared of a cancerous mass.
Two years on, Matthew finally embarked on his wish, to map and photograph the night's skies from the highest observatory in the world - an opportunity he had only ever dreamed about from his hospital bed.
The significance of Matthew’s experience was amplified by meeting one of Hawaii’s most respected elders, Nianoa Thompson (seen here with Matthew in this photo), who has revived wayfinding in a truly authentic manner - by navigation of the stars. This integration of knowledge and heritage allowed Matthew, who is Niuean, to gain perspective over his own existence and explore his personal passion for navigation of the stars.
All of this in preparation for his excursion to Mauna Kea Summit, where Matthew was guided through the process on how to capture stunning images of the constellations, he has spent so much time observing.
After an illness that confined him to a small quarantined room in Starship hospital, Matthew was able to stand atop the highest observation centre in the world and say “I am a survivor”.