30 Young Blake explorers return from Kermadecs

Published: Sun 19 Aug 2012 07:20 PM
19 August 2012
30 Young Blake explorers return from Kermadecs
Thirty teenage explorers on the first Young Blake Expedition to New Zealand’s remote Kermadec Islands returned to Auckland shores this morning aboard the Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury.
The 30, from all over New Zealand, were selected in May to take part in the 12-day journey to continue Sir Peter Blake’s legacy of inspiring the next generation of leaders, adventurers and environmentalists.
Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive Shelley Campbell says the expedition fulfils Sir Peter’s vision for our country’s promising young leaders to be challenged and inspired to embrace their potential.
“The Expedition has provided a chance for our most dynamic teenagers to experience a globally significant environment first-hand and contribute to scientific knowledge, all while developing confidence and leadership capability,” says Shelley Campbell.
HMNZS Canterbury left Devonport Naval Base on Wednesday 8 August, farewelled by The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, and the Deputy Chief of Navy, Commodore Wayne Burroughs.
During the past 12 days, the 30 students contributed to New Zealand’s scientific knowledge by helping with shark tagging, dolphin DNA sampling and foliage collection. They observed the Kermadecs’ unique flora and fauna, and learnt about one of New Zealand’s little-visited northern outposts.
While away, student voyager Felix Bornholdt described through the Expedition blog the uniqueness of the Kermadecs: “The sense of space and isolation is a huge presence here, it is both humbling and somewhat surreal to be in a place like this and you often find that you need to remind yourself that you're moored off an island, 1000 kilometres away from civilization and sitting on top of a 10-kilometre deep trench.”
The students were joined by 26 crew members – an outstanding group of leaders in environment, government, business and science. On board the expedition were also teams from the Department of Conservation and the Royal New Zealand Navy.
Marine Geologist Helen Bostock brought home samples of pumice from the 463 kilometre by 55 kilometre raft of pumice pieces the ship came across two days into the journey. The samples will be given to Niwa to examine. The pumice is believed to be from New Zealand's third erupting volcano – the undersea mount Monowai.
The Young Blake Expedition, announced last December on the 10th year anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death, was 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 were 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 had the opportunity to snorkel and gain an understanding of the rich marine life of the Kermadecs. They experienced life on Raoul Island and gained 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.
View the Expedition blog which contained daily updates from the journey:

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