Big future - times two

18:28, Feb 26 2013
high achievers
HIGH ACHIEVERS: The future looks bright for New Zealand’s top economics scholar DJ Govender, right, and his twin brother Daryn.

They look the same and sound identical but when it came to being top in New Zealand only one of these twins could win.

In the end DJ Govender's essays on milk prices, overfishing and the national debt were just too good - he pipped his brother Daryn at the post to win the national Economics Top Scholar award in the 2012 NZQA scholarship exam, with an exam mark of 22/24.

Daryn has had his fair share of success too - last year he was Dux at Rosehill College where the 18-year-olds have studied the same courses right through high school.

There's always "friendly competition" between the two, Daryn says.

"If you both have a goal the other person doesn't want to be the one to not achieve it."

Both love economics and find it fascinating because "it has the most relevance to real life", he says.


The twins were born in South Africa but moved here at 18 months old and were raised by their mother Suzie.

She has provided the platform for their success but she never forces them to study, they say. Instead she supports them and helps them stay open-minded about their options.

Rosehill College principal Graeme Macann remembers the twins crossing the stage to receive prizes at Rosehill Intermediate so it was no surprise that they were "exceptional students", he says.

He is "immensely proud" that the two high achievers came from Rosehill, especially the nation's top economics scholar, and that they have turned out so well-rounded.

"Not only are they hardworking and able academically but they also contributed to the life of the school," he says.

The twins were also heavily involved in Interact, a junior Rotary group which fundraises for charity in the community.

Both won University of Auckland Jubilee award scholarships, gaining $2000 for each year of their studies.

They have started conjoint degrees in engineering and commerce and their job prospects are wide open.

Daryn says there are plenty of Kiwi role models to choose from - former Air New Zealand chief Rob Fyfe and ex-Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell came from engineering backgrounds to name two of his.

DJ's greatest role model is a little unorthodox though - he reserves his greatest praise for rapper Jay-Z.

"He started basically with nothing but he started his own business, his own record label and built his own empire. He's worth half a billion [dollars] now."

DJ says there is a stereotype that "attending a state school you can't do as well as people who come from a private school".

But he believes going to a state school has given him the edge.

"When you start with nothing it gives you a hunger to always want more and to try and do something for yourself. You always want to achieve higher, go further."

And stereotypes about South Auckland don't have to be true, Daryn says.

"It's up to the individual what they want to do at school. Schools can't do everything for you - you have to do your own things."

Papakura Courier