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Talented school students to seek solutions on climate change

Forty talented school students will seek solutions on climate change at this year’s Powering Potential event

Forty talented school students will be tasked to find answers and recommendations to some of New Zealand’s future problems around climate change, having been selected to attend Powering Potential in Wellington from 12 – 15 December.

Organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand and supported by Freemasons New Zealand, Powering Potential will bring many of New Zealand’s most promising science students together to work out how to solve challenging issues facing the country. They will be supported and guided by scientists and mentors.

The students will work in teams of four over three days on a question that has been submitted by a science organisation and will research, investigate and collaborate to provide recommendations.

“The students will need to think outside the square and use their creative capabilities to find solutions. At the end of the three days each team will present its findings at a special presentation,” says Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Dr Cleland says the topic of climate change in New Zealand has been a focus of the Royal Society of New Zealand during 2016, following the release of two major reports on the implications of and mitigation options for climate change in New Zealand earlier in the year, and the students would no doubt come up with some novel ideas.

To be selected for Powering Potential, each student was required to submit an in-depth application and video, which focused on their own science strengths or outlined how they have contributed to an area of science in their school or community. The students were selected because they are serious about going on to study science at a tertiary level and also have a passion and thirst for the world of science. Dr Cleland says “the calibre of the students who applied was excellent and some tough decisions had to be made by the selection panel to get the number down to 40”.

Grandmaster of Freemasons New Zealand, John Litton said: “Freemasons New Zealand is absolutely delighted to be involved in Powering Potential in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand. Education is a cornerstone of freemasonry. Our organisation is all about self- improvement and having the courage to make changes for the benefit of all”.

All costs for the students, including social activities, are covered by the Royal Society of New Zealand and Freemasons New Zealand.

The students selected to attend Powering Potential are:


Aimee Leaming, Year 13 and Cameron Lambers, Year 13, Kerikeri High School


Anamitra Nair, Year 12, Albany Senior High School

Jessica Cox, Year 12 and Eilish Quin, Year 12, Baradene College

Susie Kwon, Year 13, Epsom Girls’ Grammar School

Timothy Dreadon, Year 12, Manurewa High School

Nicholas Kondal, Year 13, Massey High School

Rashmeen Sandhu, Year 12, Ormiston Senior College

Bin Tong Ma, Year 13, Papatoetoe High School

Rhea Vara, Year 13 and Melissa Wang, Year 13, St Cuthbert’s College

Jessie Kanapi, Year 12, St Dominic’s Catholic College

Harvey Merton, Year 12, Takapuna Grammar School

Anushka Kharbanda, Year 12 and Junyoon Park, Year 13, Westlake Girls’ High School


Madison Clarke, Year 12, Forest View Hill School, Tokoroa

Amber Rowan-Sanders, Year 13 and Rhys Duncan, Year 13, St Peter’s School, Cambridge


Eamon Walsh, Year 12 and Kesia Kurian, Year 13 John Paul College, Rotorua


Hana Drysdale, Year 12 and Brianna Otto, Year 12, Napier Girls’ High School

David Rawnsley, Year 13, Napier Boys’ High School


Tessa Hiscox, Year 12, Freyberg High School, Palmerston North

Stephanie Kelly, Year 12, Palmerston North Girls’ High School


Neakiry Kivi, Year 12, Samuel Marsden Collegiate

Andrew Tang, Year 12, Scot’s College

Rose Mackenzie, Year 12, Wellington High School


Matthew French, Year 12, Nelson College


Georgia van Vuuren, Year 13, Avonside Girls’ High School

Nathan James, Year 13, Burnside High School

Hannah Hudson Year 12 and Lorna Pairman, Year 12, Cashmere High School

Aayushi Verma, Year 12, Christchurch Girls’ High School


Annabelle Ritchie, Year 13, Columba College, Dunedin

Antonia Kohler, Year 13, Dunstan High School, Alexandra


Fiona Anderson, Year 13 and Joshua Taylor, Year 13, James Hargest College,

Sophie Cook, Year 13, Southland Girls’ College


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