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Project K Selected For Antarctica NZ Pilot

Media release
Friday 13 August

Four graduate students from Project K will travel to Antarctica this season under a Youth on Ice pilot as part of Antarctica New Zealand’s education programme. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Helen Clark, at a Project K function today in Auckland.

Antarctica New Zealand CEO Lou Sanson said Project K had been selected in order to reach a different demographic this year and because they have a proven track record in youth development initiatives.

“Project K inspires young New Zealanders to reach their full potential so we wanted to offer their graduates an exceptional educational opportunity. It’s also a chance for young people from different backgrounds to experience the magic of Antarctica.”

Project K co-founder Jo-anne Wilkinson, who will accompany the graduates to Antarctica, said it was a fantastic opportunity.

“This trip confirms for our students that anything is possible. It also builds on what the students have learnt through Project K; goal setting, teamwork, perseverance and self-reliance,” Jo-anne Wilkinson said.

Antarctica New Zealand’s education programme aims to increase awareness of New Zealand’s scientific role in Antarctica and encourage quality analysis, debate and scholarship related to Antarctic and Southern Ocean issues. “Youth on Ice gives young people an opportunity to visit Antarctica and foster a lifelong passion for Antarctica and its environmental and conservation values,” said Lou Sanson.

Project K are currently selecting four graduates, and once the selection is complete, both Project K and Antarctica New Zealand will work with that group on a number of team building exercises and further refinement of the education project.

The research project focuses on the International Geophysical Year (1957/1958) and students will also participate in a physical sled challenge which will give the students a taste of what the Heroic Era explorers had to face while traveling on the ice.

The Project K students are scheduled to be in Antarctica from 11-18 January 2005 inclusive.


Antarctica New Zealand is a Crown Entity, which was established on 1 July 1996 to develop, manage and execute New Zealand’s activities in respect of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Its purpose is to advance knowledge, appreciation and conservation of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for the benefit of New Zealand and the world community through:

- Leadership
- Partnership and
- Involvement

in high quality Antarctic and Southern Ocean related activities.

In addition to supporting over 200 scientists in Antarctica each season, Antarctica New Zealand plays a key role in raising public awareness of New Zealand's activities in the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea region via an active arts, education and media programme. This role is agreed with the Government through Antarctica New Zealand’s Statement of Intent and Purchase Agreement.

Antarctica New Zealand’s Education Programme

Antarctica New Zealand is involved in a number of education partnerships, which support and encourage quality analysis, debate and scholarship related to Antarctic and Southern Ocean issues.

The aims of Antarctica New Zealand’s education programmes are to:

- Contribute to New Zealand’s national identity.

- Increase awareness of the significance of Antarctica New Zealand’s role in Antarctica.

- Encourage appreciation in schools of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica.

- Increase public commitment to conservation of intrinsic and wilderness values of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

- Increase understanding of New Zealand’s Antarctic science initiatives.

- Encourage the provision of high quality education relating to New Zealand’s Antarctic interests and activities.

Youth On Ice

The Youth on Ice programme is designed to foster a lifelong passion in young people for Antarctica and it's environmental and conservation values. The Youth on Ice programme provides opportunities for young people to travel to Antarctica and:

- Increase their understanding of the values of Antarctica and its global importance.

- Inspire them to communicate these values to their school and to the wider community.

- Use their Antarctic experience to encourage and inspire them to go on to use Antarctica in their future study and /or employment.

Project K

The Board and CEO of Antarctica New Zealand, Lou Sanson, recognised a need to open up opportunities to young people from a range of different backgrounds to appreciate and experience Antarctica.

This season Antarctica New Zealand has selected Project K as a pilot. Project K fulfils the above aim as it inspires young New Zealander’s, from diverse geographical, cultural and economic backgrounds, to reach their full potential. Its programmes help build self-esteem and give life direction by encouraging positive change and self-empowerment.

Antarctica New Zealand has offered this opportunity to four top graduates from Project K. Project K are currently in the process of selecting participating students for the visit, which will occur in January 2005.

The Project K graduates will work on a research project related to the International Geophysical Year of 1957 – 1959 as well as participating in environmental and physical activities over a ten-day period.

The success of the pilot will be assessed on completion of the visit to Antarctica.

History of Youth on Ice Programmes

Antarctica New Zealand has supported youth programmes since the 1970’s in a variety of guises.

The earliest initiative (1970 – 1990) provided opportunities for youth belonging to formal youth organisations (Girl Guides, Rangers, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Brigades) to work alongside scientists in Antarctica. The Linking Educational and Antarctic Research in New Zealand (LEARNZ) programme (1995–1997) focused on virtual communication between teachers in Antarctica and children in classrooms in New Zealand schools. The Secondary Schools Education Initiative in Antarctica Programme (1999–2003) provided opportunities for students to visit Antarctica and complete a curriculum based educational project with a wider community benefit.


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