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30 Young Blake explorers set off on historic journey

8 August 2012

30 Young Blake explorers set off on historic journey

The first Young Blake Expedition – to New Zealand’s remote Kermadec Islands –weighed anchor this morning, with 30 outstanding teenage explorers aboard HMNZS Canterbury ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

The 30, from all over New Zealand, were selected in May to go on the Young Blake Expedition, with the aim of increasing the understanding of the marine reserves and the planet’s oceans.

HMNZS Canterbury left Devonport Naval Base at 11:30am, before heading for the open sea on the voyage north, which is expected to take two days. The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, and the Deputy Chief of Navy, Commodore Wayne Burroughs, farewelled the expedition on its 12-day journey.

Students will contribute to New Zealand’s scientific knowledge by helping with shark tagging, dolphin DNA sampling, and foliage collection. They will get to observe the Kermadecs’ unique flora and fauna, and learn about one of New Zealand’s little-visited northern outposts.

They are joined by 26 crew members – an outstanding group of leaders in environment, government, business and science. On board the expedition are also teams from the Department of Conservation and the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The Young Blake Expedition was announced last December by the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, on the 10th year anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death to continue his legacy of inspiring the next generation of leaders, adventurers and environmentalists.

Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive Shelley Campbell says the Expedition fulfills Sir Peter’s vision for our most dynamic teenagers to be challenged, and inspired to embrace their potential.

“Each one of the 30 deserves their place, and brings unique skills and personality to the team which will undertake this amazing adventure,” says Shelley Campbell.

“This life-changing experience aims to inspire young environmental leaders encouraged to make a difference in each of their communities.”

The students – 18 girls and 12 boys – come from as far north as Whangarei, and as far south as Limehills in Southland.

Nicholas Humphries, 16, of Fiordland College in Southland says: "I just can’t believe that very soon I will be going to one of the most pristine environments in the world. It is just an amazing opportunity that I'm so grateful that I have been selected for. I just can’t wait till I jump into the water for the first time and see all the sea life!"

He is one of two participants in Kids Restore New Zealand projects, in association with the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, who were selected. Air New Zealand Environment Trust flew all 30 student voyagers to Auckland for the start of the Expedition.

The Young Blake Expedition is being led by The Sir Peter Blake Trust in association with the Ministry for the Environment, the Royal New Zealand Navy, Department of Conservation, Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Pew Environment Group, Experiencing Marine Reserves, LEARNZ, and the Air New Zealand Environment Trust.


Notes to editors about the students (by location, north to south):

• Jack Hamilton, 16, Whangarei Boys’ High School
• Ruahei Demant, 17, Mahurangi College
• Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, 15, Western Springs College
• Susanna Lees Watts, 16, Auckland Girls’ Grammar
• Gomathi Rajasekaran, 17, Manurewa High School
• Melania Napa’a, 16, Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate
• Olivia Jay, 17, Waikato Diocesan
• Patricia Harrison, 17, Hillcrest High School
Bay of Plenty
• Elijah Koopu, 16, Rotorua Boys’ High
• Freya O’Sullivan, 16, Tauranga Girls’ College
Hawke’s Bay
• Rose Mickleson, 17, Woodford House
Poverty Bay
• Logan Candy, 16, Gisborne Boys’ High School
• Jamie Darbyshire, 17, Hawera High School
• Melissa Churchouse, 16, Wanganui Girls’ College
• Eilis Donnelly, 16, Palmerston North Girls’ High School
• Rhiannon Scott, 17, Taihape Area School
• Tre Ratahi, 17, Upper Hutt College
• Asia Brownlie, 15, Wellington Girls’ College
• Lily Pryor-Rodgers, 18, Kapiti College
• Felix Bornholdt, 16, St Patrick’s College
• Daniel Goldthorpe, 18, Marlborough Boys’ College
West Coast
• John Whitcombe, 17, John Paul II High School
• Alexander Gregory, 16, Christ’s College
• Lucy Tothill, 16, St Margaret’s College
• Craig Smith, 16, St Thomas of Canterbury College
• Anna Clark, 16, Hurunui College
• Hamish Darling, 15, John McGlashan College
• Rebecca Vella-King, 17, Logan Park High School
• Nicholas Humphries, 15, Fiordland College
• Sophie Smith, 17, Southland Girls’ High School

Notes to editors about the crew:

Crew/Experts selected by the Sir Peter Blake Trust
• Don Robertson - Chief Operating Officer
• Chris Mace - Expedition Team Leader
• Andrew Berry – Marine Operations Director
• Hannah Prior - Programme & Logistics Director
• Mark Weldon – Expedition Team Leader
• Sam Johnson – Expedition Team Leader
• Sheelagh James – Expedition Doctor
• Michael Moyes – Expedition Team Leader
• Paul Scott – Teacher/Educator & Expedition Team Leader
• Libby Liggins – Snorkeling Leader & former Antarctic Youth Ambassador

Experiencing Marine Reserves
• Samara Nicholas – Snorkeling Director & Blake Leader
• Steve Hathaway – Underwater Cameraman

Experts selected by Pew Environment Group
• Helen Bostock – Marine Geologist
• Stephen Ullrich – Marine Collector & Architect
• Rochelle Constantine – Marine Mammal Specialist
• Clinton Duffy – Shark Expert
• Bruce Foster – photographer & film maker
• Isaac Sutherland – Ngati Kuri representative
• Rebecca Priestley - columnist for The Listener

LEARNZ – virtual field trips
• Peter Sommerville – Virtual Field Trip leader & correspondent
• Andrew Penny - Virtual Field Trip leader& correspondent

• Peter Cronshaw - TVNZ
• Charles Toogood - TVNZ
• David Pierce -TVNZ
• Virginia Larson - editor of North & South

About The Young Blake Expedition
The 30 students on the Young Blake Expedition will be accompanied by a crew of subject experts, scientists, artists, educators, communicators and leaders. The Kermadec Islands and rocks are 800-1,000km north-east of New Zealand. The 13 volcanic islands are a nature reserve managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Four DOC staff and up to five volunteers are based on Raoul, the largest island. The 745,000ha of ocean surrounding the Kermadecs are protected as New Zealand’s largest marine reserve.

The expedition crew will have the opportunity to snorkel and gain an understanding of the rich marine life of the Kermadecs. They will experience life on Raoul Island and gain an insight into the work of the DOC personnel, the Kermadecs' history, and the group’s wildlife and plants – many unique to the islands.

The first Young Blake Expedition was announced last December on the 10th anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death to continue his legacy of inspiring the next generation of leaders, adventurers and environmentalists.

The expedition blog can be followed here: www.youngblakeexpeditions.org

© Scoop Media

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