Students take up Sir Peter's work

By Amy McGillivray

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Tauranga student Ben Richards is headed on a 13-day voyage to the Auckland Islands with some of the country's top scientists and leaders. Photo/Supplied
Tauranga student Ben Richards is headed on a 13-day voyage to the Auckland Islands with some of the country's top scientists and leaders. Photo/Supplied

ATAURANGA student has been selected as one of 12 young leaders who will travel to the Auckland Islands to draft a feasibility plan for a world-leading Sub-Antarctic research station.

Tauranga Boys' College student Ben Richards, 17, will be on board the HMNZS Wellington for the 13-day Young Blake Expedition to the Auckland Islands, which departs today.

Representatives from the NZ Navy, DoC, NZARI, NIWA, University of Otago and the Sir Peter Blake Trust will also be taking part in the expedition, with Sir Peter's daughter, Sarah-Jane Blake, joining the Auckland to Bluff leg of the voyage.

The group will draft a feasibility plan for a world-leading Sub-Antarctic research station, which, it is hoped, will be built on the Auckland Islands in early 2015.

The proposed station will allow New Zealand scientists and worldwide agencies to work together toward understanding the effect of ocean and climate change and what the impact will be on New Zealand's environment, biodiversity and economy.

The Sir Peter Blake Trust has selected 12 student leaders, aged 16-18, to take part in the expedition and have tasked them with inspiring and mobilising other New Zealanders to know and care about the marine environment.

It is the second Young Blake Expedition to set sail, following 2012's successful voyage to the Kermadecs, and is key to the legacy of Sir Peter, who dedicated his life to drawing attention to the changes affecting the world's oceans, marine life and sea birds.

Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive, Shelley Campbell, said, "Young Blake Expedition aims to tool these young Kiwis with the knowledge and skills to become the future leaders of New Zealand, as well as to continue the great work of Sir Peter Blake, particularly in the Deep South, an area which Sir Peter observed early on to be crucial to understanding the effect of man's impact on our marine environment."

Deep South National Science Project and New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute director Professor Gary Wilson said the Deep South National Science Challenge recognised New Zealand was placed uniquely to lead the world in understanding the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in driving global climate and environmental change.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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