By ROBYN BRISTOW
Two young North Canterbury adventurers, Yonni Kepes and Miriam Clark, say they are privileged to be part of a team which set sail on the HMNZS Canterbury to the Kermadec Islands this week.
They said the journey to the islands, 1000km northeast of mainland New Zealand, was an incredible opportunity to deepen their knowledge of environmental science and the effects of climate change on the planet.
Yonni, from Waipara, a year 13 student at St Andrew’s College, and Miriam, who completed her final year at Hurunui College last year, are two of 20 student voyagers and 23 crew members, who left for the Kermadecs on Sunday, one of the most remote and biodiverse spots managed by the Department of Conservation.
“We are the future generation of adventurers, environmentalists and leaders so it’s up to us to learn more about the complex global environmental issues we are facing now or will do in the future,” Miriam and Yonni said as they departed on their two week voyage.
“We are very excited. It’s such an honour to be part of such an exciting expedition and the chance to learn from some of the best scientists in New Zealand.
“It’s a massive privilege and a true honour to follow in the footsteps of Sir Peter Blake.
“His legacy in New Zealand is massive and we feel a massive obligation in being a part of this,” the pair said.
They described the trip as a voyage of a lifetime to one of the last pristine places on Earth.
Yonni and Miriam said the expedition would broaden their knowledge on conservation and environmental issues and help them understand these complex issues.
Their knowledge would help “positively influence” those back on the mainland to take action on what young eco-citizens could do to preserve the natural environment for future generations.
Both attended the Young EnviroLeaders Forum in 2016, and were then able to apply for the expedition, where on which are fiercely contested.