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Christchurch students to represent NZ in France

Christchurch students to represent NZ in France

Explaining Canterbury initiatives to improve environmental issues in front of a potential audience of about 1000 international delegates in France may not be nearly as scary as talking in front of 1500 of your peers, two Christchurch students say.

Papanui High School students Michael Gudgeon (17) and Annalise Fletcher (17) leave in early October for two weeks in France and England. They are representing New Zealand at a World Forum on Social and Environmental Responsibility in Lille, France (

The senior students are scheduled to give a presentation on Canterbury measures to improve water and air quality, along with general information about New Zealand. As part of the World Forum, high school students have been invited from several countries to share information about local initiatives.

Accompanied by science teacher Brian Frost and his wife Sandra, the students will follow up the conference with a visit Paris and London to look at water reticulation and quality; and public transport.

Annalise has talked in front of the 1500 school students at Papanui High School before and admitted she hadn’t given much thought to standing up in front of an international conference.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity,” she says.

Papanui High School principal Denis Pyatt says the students will be excellent ambassadors for Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand.

“The two students are top academics who will both be going to university next year and will make a worthwhile contribution to society in their lives. The forum will provide a unique opportunity for Christchurch and Canterbury to be showcased on the international stage,” he says.

Mr Frost saw the trip as a fantastic learning experience for the students; “especially in an international theatre like this one. It will be great for their leadership skills, they’re going to be exposed to a very diverse range of opinions and will be able to link what they hear back to what we’re doing here in New Zealand”.

The school has been looking for extra funds to help finance the trip and Canterbury Development Corporation has stepped in behind them.

In offering support for the trip, Canterbury Development Corporation Chief Executive Bill Luff says environmental and social sustainability are essential elements of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy (CREDS).

“We have to ensure long term sustainability underpins all our decision-making across the region. These students are presenting to an international audience a synopsis of the work Canterbury is doing in environmental and sustainability areas, and they’ll come back with some thoughts from their peers. It’s vital that our next generation of leaders understands our goals within a global context,” Mr Luff says.

Further funds are still needed and the school would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in sponsoring the trip.


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