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From Apia to the Kermadec Islands

From Apia to the Kermadec Islands

Young Samoan, 17 year old Jorim-Paul Philips, took part in the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands last month, the very first time a Pacific islander has been invited to take part.

The Young Blake Expeditions is part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, it takes young New Zealanders to participate in scientific, environmental and heritage restoration projects throughout New Zealand, the Southern Ocean, the Sub-Antarctic islands, and Antarctica.

Jorim-Paul Philips was invited to participate in their Kermadec Voyage along with 17 other young New Zealanders. The Kermadec Islands Nature Reserve and Marine Reserve is a 620,000 square-kilometre ocean sanctuary encompassing the five Kermadec islands which lie halfway between the Bay of Plenty and the Kingdom of Tonga.

“It was an honour and a privilege for me to be able to firstly, be invited, and secondly be supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to be part of this expedition,” said Jorim-Paul, now a science student at the National University of Samoa.

In 2016, Jorim-Paul formed The Envirobassadors in Samoa, coordinating multiple clean-ups and environment projects in Samoa, he was one of two Samoans representing the nation at the Youth Environment Leadership Forum in 2017, an initiative by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

“As a budding environmentalist, this has been like a dream come true. It was through this opportunity that I took part in things I have never done before, it has driven and stirred my desire to work in this field to help protect our environment.”

From 26 February to 9 March, this year, Jorim-Paul voyaged as part of the expedition on HMNZS Canterbury and took part in a range of activities including the collection of different organisms such as seaweed and plankton, videoing underwater as part of recording what they see, and cataloguing species in the waters of the Kermadec islands, during the science expedition with other students.

“The experience also saw us have a feel of what it may be like in the New Zealand Navy! As we were on board the HMNZS Canterbury we also undertook chores when we weren’t taking part in research that day, it was a real lesson for me,” Said Jorim-Paul.

The Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands allowed for the selected participants to work with leading scientists, subject experts, educators, communicators and leaders from all walks of life to contribute to scientific research and outreach projects, and to be part of the continuing legacy of Sir Peter Blake.

“One thing I have personally learnt from doing this is just how much we have affected our environment, and how when you take the time to really care for something, it grows and flourishes into the way our environment should be,” said Jorim-Paul.

“This is something I would like to do more, and also work with others so that we can all take better care of our environment, appreciate and value our environment.”

There were 18 student voyagers and 23 crew members as part of the expedition to the Kermadec Islands on board HMNZS Canterbury, for which student voyagers participated in a daily blog sharing their experiences.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) supported the participation of Mr Jorim-Paul Philips as part of the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands, one of only 18 students selected to join the voyage.

For more information on the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands please visit: https://sirpeterblaketrust.org/kermadec-voyage-2018

ENDS….

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