A Napier teenager is to join the crew of HMNZS Canterbury and 19 other students on an 11-day voyage of environmental discovery in the Pacific.
Oskar Lynch, a Year 12 pupil of Napier Boys High School, will be in the Sir Peter Blake Trust's Young Blake Expedition on February 26-March 9, heading to the Kermadec Islands, about halfway between New Zealand and Tonga.
The 18 high school students and two university-aged Blake ambassadors will learn from scientists, mariner ecologists, ornithologists and Blake leaders, including former Blake crewmate Professor Mark Orams, who will be expedition leader.
Sir Peter Blake Trust environment programme director Hannah Prior says that by increasing the students' understanding of New Zealand's "unique and special places like the Kermadecs", they return as "passionate and life-long advocates and ambassadors for them".
"They'll see turtles, seabirds, dolphins, corals and an incredible array of marine life," she says. "By understanding what our oceans can look like, our young people will come home ready to look after our ocean closer to home and inspire others in their networks to do the same."
She said Sir Peter, the former Round the World yacht race winning skipper who was shot by pirates while monitoring environmental change on the Amazon in December 2001, knew that "experiencing the natural environment was the most important step in moving people towards caring and protecting it".
Oskar Lynch, a 17-year-old Westshore Surf Lifesaving Club member whose father has recently transferred as a teacher from Hastings Boys High School to Napier Boys High School, has been selected from about 50 have taken part in the Sir Peter Blake Trust's Young EnviroLeaders Forum over the last three years.
He said he had become interested in the area particularly because of the Government and the Department of Conservation's creation of a marine reserve and an ocean sanctuary, one of the few places of its size with such restrictions.
He is in his last year at Napier BHS and is considering environmental science studies at university next year.