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Young Kiwis follow in Sir Peter’s footsteps

MEDIA RELEASE

September 3, 2014

Young Kiwis follow in Sir Peter’s footsteps

Six high-achieving young New Zealanders have been chosen for a range of amazing expeditions this summer, including two that will travel to Antarctica, as part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Blake Ambassador programme.

The Sir Peter Blake Trust, in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust, has awarded two Antarctic Youth Ambassadorships in Management and Engineering, two Science Ambassador awards, in conjunction with NIWA, and, for the first time, two Conservation Ambassadorships with the Department of Conservation.

The awardees include: Antarctic Youth Ambassadors Stefan Covic (Auckland) and Angus Watson (Christchurch); NIWA ambassadors, Blake Hornblow and Zac Penman (both from Nelson); and DOC ambassadors, Dannie Cullen and Samantha Collings (both from Auckland).

Sir Peter Blake Trust CEO, Shelley Campbell, says that the aim of the Blake Ambassador programme is to continue the leadership legacy of Sir Peter Blake, one of New Zealand’s greatest leaders and environmentalists.

Ms Campbell says, “Each of the young leaders that were chosen really shone through the selection process and we hope that their once-in-a-lifetime experiences with DoC, NIWA and Antarctica New Zealand will encourage them take a lead role in caring for their environment and return home ready to educate and inspire those around them to want to make a difference too.”

Since 2008, the Sir Peter Blake Trust - in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust - has provided opportunities for nine young New Zealanders to visit Antarctica, through the Antarctic Youth Ambassador programme. These ambassadors have worked alongside teams of scientists, engineers and conservators on key environmental and heritage restoration projects in Antarctica.

In 2013, the Blake Ambassador programme was extended to include Science Ambassadorships with NIWA and, earlier this year, two young scientists joined NIWA's research vessel, R/V Tangaroa, on a four-week deep-sea expedition off the West Coast of New Zealand.

This year, the Sir Peter Blake Trust was thrilled to be extend the Blake Ambassador programme, to include two Conservation Ambassadorships with the Department of Conservation, which will be an opportunity for two young New Zealanders, with a passion for the environment and conservation, and a particular interest in working with native species.

To follow their journeys, including videos and blogs from the six 2014 Sir Peter Blake Trust Blake Ambassadors, visitwww.sirpeterblaketrust.org/get-involved/blake-ambassador

Notes to editors

Antarctic Youth Ambassador Engineering Award – Angus Watson (Christchurch)

About Angus:

Angus (23) has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) with first class honours from the University of Canterbury and plans to complete post-graduate studies in optimising energy systems, to maximise efficiency and reduce environmental impact. Angus has previously been awarded scholarships from the Energy Education Trust in 2011 and 2013 for his interest in harnessing sustainable energy and the BECA Engineering in Society Scholarship for his leadership, communication skills and potential to contribute to the engineering profession. In his spare time, Angus is a keen tramper, ultramarathon runner and multisport participant, having placed 9th in the 2014 Coast to Coast Longest Day World Multisport event and participated in the Chicamocha, Columbia 166km ultramarathon. He also enjoys paragliding, kitesurfing, kayaking, rockclimbing and mountain biking. Angus lives on Fendalton, Christchurch.

The Award: An opportunity for a mechanical, electrical or civil engineering student with strong computing skills to participate in engineering projects at Scott Base. The programme includes continuing work on BMS and reporting data capture and presentation, Smart Asset content development, Wiki content development, inventory system work and energy efficiency/potential savings work.

Antarctic Youth Ambassador - Management Award – Stefan Covic (Auckland)

About Stefan:

Stefan (25) has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Canterbury and is currently employed by Coca-Cola Amatil (NZ) Ltd, as Innovations Product Manager, where he is responsible for managing some of the 50 new product developments, from conception through to launch, every year. During his time at Coca-Cola, Stefan co-founded a project called ‘Operational Excellence’ which involved running a two-week conference identifying factors that contributed to a workplace culture of continous improvement. In his spare time, Stefan is a keen diver and certified as a PADI Divemaster, fisheman, Crossfit participant and tramper, with a great love and appreciation for the outdoors. Stefan lives in Orakei, Auckland.

The Award: An opportunity for a university student or recent graduate in the fields of commerce and/or supply chain to be part of a project looking at inventory management. This Award will see the Ambassador based in Christchurch for part of the project, as well as some work in Antarctica. The winning candidate will have some knowledge of inventory management and excellent computer skills, and may also have some business, accounting or stock control experience.

NIWA Science Ambassadors - two Awards - Blake Hornblow and Zachary Penman (both from the Nelson area, studying in Otago)

About Blake:

Blake (18) is a former Nelson College prefect and Nelson College Youth Council member who is currently studying marine science and an engineering bachelor of science degree at the University of Otago. He is also a member of the New Zealand Canoe Slalom team. Growing up in Nelson, with its proximity to National Parks, led Blake to develop a love for the environment and its wildlife. Sir Peter Blake was one of his heroes and his legacy of great leadership, passion for adventure and commitment to the environment are what he strives to live up to. Being selected as a Blake Ambassador, will allow Blake to combine his two great interests of the environment and science. Blake is a keen photographer and is looking forward to documenting his expedition and sharing it with others.

About Zac:

Zac (18) Zac is the former head boy of Murchison Area School and is in first year of an Applied Science degree at Otago University, majoring in aquaculture and fishers and minoring in ecology. He aims to be a marine scientist at the conclusion of his studies. Zac has had a love of the ocean since the age of five and decide he wanted to be a “super diver” when he grew up. From a young age, he has loved the beach and ocean, exploring rock pools, scuba diving for seafood as well as for underwater photography and filming. He is thrilled to be selected as a Blake Ambassador as he wants to be able to help protect and educate others on the importance of looking after our oceans.

About the expedition:

The two Blake Ambassadors will be going on a deep-sea fisheries voyage with NIWA to the Southern Ocean/Sub-Antarctic, fromNovember 25 – December 23, on an expedition led by NIWA Scientist Neal Bagley. This will be a scientific trawl survey of mid-water depth species such as hoki and ling.

DOC Conservation Ambassadors - two Awards - Dannie Cullen and Samantha Collings (both from Auckland)

About Dannie:

Dannie (22) is a qualified PADI Dive Instructor and holds a Diploma in Marine Studies and a Bachelor of Science degree. In December this year, Dannie will also graduate from the South Seas Film and Television School, specialising in on-screen presenting and post-production, and is looking forward to video blogging about her upcoming expedition. Her spare time has always been dedicated to environmental roles, with previous summers and time spent working as a summer ranger for Auckland Council, teaching open water and discover scuba diving programmes, volunteering at the Long Bay Regional Park, and managing the website and social media for the New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Dannie is also a keen kayaker, tramper and mountain climber, and also enjoys competing in triathlons. Following her Blake Ambassador role, she hopes to complete a Masters degree in science and natural history filmmaking at the University of Otago.

About Samantha:

Samantha (20) is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree. She has a passion for photography and a love of New Zealand. During her school years she was an Auckland golf representative and whilst at university was awarded the roles of Biology Tuakana tutor and Statistics Tuakana tutor, which involves visiting lecture theatres and speaking to students and leading weekly tutorials and presentations. From a young age, Samantha has been passionate about the environment, particularly the marine and coastal environment, and how she might contribute to caring for it and driving awareness of environmental issues.

The Award: An opportunity to experience a range of work on one of NZ's most threatened species, working on-site at a Southern location (or locations) over the summer months. Ambassadors will be part of handling, marking and monitoring, data collection, field skills, predator control, rehabilitation and habitat restoration, and will have the opportunity to work with scientists, DOC staff and rangers, community groups, vets and rehabilitation centres. This opportunity was open to young New Zealanders with a passion for the environment and conservation, and a particular interest in working with native species


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