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Students To Catch Knowledge Wave

23 July

Twelve secondary students have been given the chance to help shape New Zealand’s future.

The University of Auckland announced today the twelve top students in the Knowledge Wave Secondary Schools Essay competition. Their essays have secured them places at the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland from August 1-3.

The students will travel to Auckland for the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference and participate in discussing issues for New Zealand’s future with national and international speakers.

“These students demonstrated real insight into the issues New Zealand faces in becoming a knowledge society,” says Colin Prentice, University of Auckland Schools Director and Coordinator of the essay competition.

“The judges were really impressed with the liveliness of the students’ thinking, the depth of research, the quality of thinking and the genuine concern they expressed for this county,” he said.

The competition, open to senior secondary students, asked students to write 1,500 words on “What kind of a knowledge society I want for New Zealand.”

“We were delighted with the quality of essays we received, and the range of young New Zealanders who entered the competition,” said Mr Prentice.

The students will participate in the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference alongside 37 leaders in business, government, education, humanities and media. These include Edward de Bono, the inventor of lateral thinking, Professor Michael Porter, an international authority on economic competitiveness with a deep knowledge of New Zealand, Lord Robert Winston, the renowned fertility pioneer and television presenter, and Paul Keating, former Australian Prime Minister.

Co-hosted by the University of Auckland and the Government, the conference aims to develop new strategies for creating economic growth and social cohesion in New Zealand.

A special youth forum will be held during the conference, in which the student delegates will identify options for New Zealand’s future from a youth perspective. The students will present their ideas to the conference during one of the key sessions.

Mr Prentice says it will be important that young people have a voice at the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference.

“One of the key aims of the conference is to be inclusive, to encourage input from all levels of society and all fields of interest. Young people are particularly important in this process, as they will take the plans of today’s leaders and make them tomorrow’s reality,” he says.


Knowledge Wave Essay Competition Winners

Claire Hunter
Te Anau
Contact through Mr Bill Verrall
Fiordland College Principal
Ph. 03-249-7810


Claire is 16 years old and attends Fiordland College in Te Anau, Southland. She grew up on a beef and sheep farm in the Te Anau Basin. She is in sixth form and is studying Maths, English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Japanese language. She has participated in both public speaking and debating. She works at a local Italian restaurant. In addition this winter she has been pruning macrocarpas. She plays hockey, volleyball and athletics. She enjoys the outdoor activities that the Te Anau area offers.


Kimberley Huston
Kapiti Coast
Contact through Mr Richard Campbell
Paraparaumu College
Ph. 4-902-5170


Kimberley is 17 years old and attends Paraparaumu College, Kapiti Coast. She was one of six New Zealanders to attend the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra this year. In her position as Arts Captain at her school, Kimbereley’s role is to foster and promote the arts and represent her school at arts-based events. Her interest in the arts has included participation as producer and director of the Paraparaumu College Smokefree Stage Challenge; taking acting roles in the finals of the Sheliah Winn Festival of Shakespeare for the last two years, and acting in numerous college productions. Playing the embittered Queen Margaret in Richard the Third, Kimbereley was chosen to attend the National Shakespeare Schools’ Production in Nelson later this year. She is a member of her school’s Premier A intercollegiate debating team. Earlier this year she was part of the team from her school that attended the Model United Nations Asia Pacific Disarmament Conference.


Melissa James
Tokoroa
Contact through Mr Roger Sommerville
Tokoroa High School Principal
Ph. 07-886-6109


Melissa is 17 years old and attends Tokoroa High School where she studies English, Economics, History, Geography and Statistics. She is the student representative on the Board of Trustees of her high school. In 1999 she represented New Zealand at the Millennium Young Peoples’ Congress in Hawaii. Her aspirations are to have a career in international relations.


Laura Macassey
Maori Hill, Dunedin
Contact through Miss Elizabeth Wilson
Columba College Principal
Ph. 03-467-5188


Pascal Millaire
Silverdale, Auckland
Contact through Mr John Taylor
King's College Principal
Ph. 09-276-0699


Pascal was originally born in Montréal, Canada but moved with his French Canadian Father and Kiwi Mother to New Zealand when he was three months old. Starting as a weekly boarder at King¹s College, Auckland five years ago, he is now 18 years old, in seventh form and the school¹s Head Prefect. In 2000, Pascal was a New Zealand representative at the 350 student, 50 nation strong Global Young Leaders¹ Conference hosted Washington D.C. and New York City where he was selected as one of the eight students in the ³Student
Executive² to orchestrate the event. His interests include public speaking, drama, debating, music and he is currently the coach of a hockey team.


Joshua Mouldey
Mount Maunganui
Contact through Mr Barry Bean
Mt Maunganui College Principal
Ph. 07-575-3096


Joshua is 17 years old at Mount Manganui College in Mount Manganui. He is the managing director of his school’s young enterprise company named ‘Naked Wear’, a clothing company selling sportswear. He plays cricket and basketball and works at Timber Finishings after school.


Adrian Ranaweera
Blockhouse Bay, Auckland
Contact through Mr Denys Marra
St Paul's College
Ph. 0-9 376-1287


Adrian is 19 years old and a year 13 bursary student at St Paul’s College who hails originally from Fiji. His interests are biotechnology, philosophy, computer technology, biochemistry, and classical literature. He has competed in the Australian senior Science, English and Mathematics Division competitions. At St Paul’s College he is the senior librarian, a member of the Magazine Committee.


Lydia So
Epsom, Auckland
Contact through Mrs Gail Thomson
Diocesan School for Girls' Principal
Ph. 09-520-0221


Lydia is 17 years old and attends Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland. She is studying Science, Engineering, Classics and Statistics. This year she attended the Gensis Science and Technology Forum. Her other activities at school included learning piano, fencing and acting as a librarian. She is on the Science Council and Dance Committee at Diocesan.


James Stegeman
Tauranga
Contact through Mr Graham Young
Tauranga Boys' College Principal
Ph. 07-578-4029


James is 17 years old and attends Tauranga Boys’ College. He plays hockey for his college and for Tauranga. He also plays golf and netball during the week and fits in surfing and wakeboarding on the weekends. He is on the debating team. He enjoys travel and says that seeing other cultures close up certainly changes your view on how the world works.


Robert Tilby
Epsom, Auckland
Contact through Mr John Taylor
King's College Principal
Ph. 09-276-0699


Kesaia Waigth
Kaiti, Gisborne
Contact through Ms Karen Johansen
Gisborne Girls' High School
Ph. 06-868-8159


Kesaia is 17 years old and attend Gisborne Girls’ High School. She is a seventh form bursary student in English, Calculus, Chemistry, Economics, Accounting, and History. Last year she was a winner of the Retirement Commissioner’s School Competition and visited Parliament. Her main aim in life is to be a politician.


Rosemary Wilkinson
Waimauku, Auckland
Contact through Mr John Grant
Kaipara College Principal
Ph. 09-420-8640


Rosie is 18 years old and attends Kaipara College in Helensville. Her interests are hockey, all styles of music and art, poetry, travel and other cultures. Last year she went to Japan with her Japanese class. She found the experience great and plans to travel extensively in the future. She is sitting her UB English, History, Geography, Biology and Japanese this year and she sat Statistics last year. Next year she intends to go to The University of Auckland and do a conjoint law and arts degree. At the moment she is interested in a career in diplomacy.


Excerpts from Winning Essays


According to Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. Stephen R Covey defines a habit as the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the ‘what to do and why’. Skill is the ‘how to do’ and desire is the motivation – the ‘want to do’. But to make excellence a habit rather than an act, we should have all three of these principles operating. A knowledge society is one where dreams become reality, and excellence becomes a habit. As put most gracefully by Martin Luther King: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”.

Melissa James
Tokoroa High School
Tokoroa

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A knowledge society can only come about from a public that is well educated, innovative and creative; from people who live in an environment that holds economic strategies for growth which raise standards of living and encourage national development. Only when New Zealand has set itself a proper vision that is understood and accepted by all, can the first positive steps be taken. Productivity must be kindled and economic reform brought about with a government drive on strategic economic policies. Only when these conditions are satisfied will New Zealand finally take its proper place as one of the world’s great knowledge societies.

Adrian Ranaweera
St Paul’s College
Auckland

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Funding should be increased to areas of industry that will be important to New Zealand’s knowledge society. Grants and scholarships should be provided for organisations involved in research and development projects, so they are able to be carried out and hopefully provide value to the country. Another possible option is to provide assistance to targeted areas in the form of tax breaks, to encourage firms to devote resources to these areas. Taking that to a further level, company tax rates should be lowered across the board significantly, benefiting the whole business community and encouraging businesses to invest and set up in New Zealand. This would lead to an inflow of investment capital into New Zealand, providing revenue, employment, and more opportunities for enterprising businesses to be established. New Zealand could become a small Mecca for knowledge industries suitable for its highly skilled and entrepreneurial population.

Joshua Mouldy
Mt Maunganui College
Mt Maunganui

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In order for vision to become reality we must put in place economic strategies. Firstly we must achieve prosperity to raise the living standards of New Zealanders and improve the quality of life. To do this we must work towards improving the productive and innovative capacity of the economy to increase its operational effectiveness. This means using knowledge led innovation to create higher value commodities and services, and improve the efficiency with which traditional products are produced. This will allow us to compete in the global market. To remain competitive New Zealand must apply higher and higher levels of technology to continue to add value to the commodities we produce. It is critical that the quality of human resources is continually upgraded to meet rising skill requirements, and to stay competitive within the global economy. This means firms will need to purchase and invest in hard and also soft assets like training, research and development and technology – knowledge based assets.

Kesaia Waigth
Gisborne Girls’ High School
Gisborne

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


New Zealanders are already known for their energy, capacity to learn, their leadership qualities and their ability to innovate, all of which can be strengthened by healthy local competition. Government and business could collaborate on an awards scheme, which could be held every year with prizes for innovation in different areas of technological practice. These prizes could be targeted as capital injections or research grants to support any new projects that would strengthen New Zealand’s position in the global market. This not only has obvious productivity advantages, but also instils a desire to be the best among the technological entrepreneurs.

James Stegeman
Tauranga Boys’ College
Tauranga

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It is from new ideas and innovations that new products and services develop. This leads to more jobs and economic growth. A culture of innovation and creativity needs to be nurtured. New Zealand already has a colourful history of ingenuity and a can-do philosophy. We need to build on this to provide an environment that allows creativity and innovation to blossom. We need a system that supports creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and new businesses by providing them with the resources they need and making sure they are aware that these resources are available. The government needs to keep up with technological advances to ensure that outdated legislation does not inhibit new innovations. Government policies that encourage research and development need to be implemented to support a developing knowledge society.

Rosemary Wilkinson
Kaipara College
Helensville

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


It is commonly held that lack of population is a major handicap in the move into future modernisation of society. However, population has not hindered countries such as Ireland and Finland, and it shall not inhibit us if we strive to become an “intelligent island.” Becoming a knowledge society is a realistic dream, but in order to succeed we must move forward as one nation, corporations and government alike. I would like to see a society that seeks to inspire individuals, while retaining the capabilities to support their ideas. Ultimately I would like to see a knowledge society in New Zealand that attracts the international community. I would like to see New Zealand with international authority, a nation in which I would be happy to create a future.

Robert Tilbey
King’s College
Auckland

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Knowledge, creativity and innovation are the most valuable natural resources in the 21st Century. What is in our heads is increasingly more important than what is in the countryside. New Zealand’s potential is only limited by the knowledge, creativity and innovation of its people. As a small country we will always be on an “edge” but whether that is the leading edge or trailing edge will be dictated by the decisions and direction New Zealand is taking now. In a global information age, with the current and increasing freedom of knowledge and capital flows, New Zealand is in an enviable position to catch the “knowledge wave”, to find ourselves a niche in the global market and forge a new knowledge society.

Pascal Millaire
King’s College
Auckland

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Above all, a knowledge society is about valuing knowledge, using opportunities and creating new ones. It is about fostering ideas, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship – exploiting our potential in all spheres of existence. Creating a knowledge society in New Zealand requires a change in perspective. It requires the upheaval of a narrow mentality that struggles to fix problems with the status quo as they arise but does not focus on improving the entire situation. There is no quick fix remedy. To achieve this vision there must be a strong government focus, but without the private sector, communities and most importantly, individuals assuming their responsibility, there is no solution.

Kimberley Huston
Paraparaumu College
Paraparaumu

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The kind of knowledge society that New Zealand should favour is one that also benefits the global society – one that aims to reduce the disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ and shows a moral obligation to people as well as to the environment. It should promote science and technology, and innovation, whilst encouraging and supporting the arts, and artists, to flourish. Finally, there should be a greater emphasis placed on educating and training future ‘knowledge society’ workers.

Lydia So
Diocesan School for Girls
Auckland

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I believe a knowledge economy has diverse implications. A knowledge economy is about improving the education the youngest generations receive. It is about renewing the education of the older generations. It is about embracing industries of our own design and using these as sources for funding to put into research. It is about encouraging people to strive for excellence in their chosen field and having incentives to do so. It is also about not forgetting who we are, and that we’ve all got the ability to be innovative. Ultimately it is about improving the quality of life by giving and accepting knowledge.

Claire Hunter
Fiordland College
Te Anau

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Technology is driven by knowledge, especially scientific knowledge. Knowledge builds up, discovery followed by discovery, at an accelerating rate as, often, earlier unsuspected links between different areas of knowledge are exploited, each breakthrough making more progress and creating more opportunities. If New Zealand is left behind we will struggle ever to catch up again. The Government must encourage innovation. This can be achieved through allocating more funding to Crown research institutes, university research units, and by supporting private company research and development.

Laura Macassey
Columba College
Dunedin

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