A Rotorua student is calling for stories from the families of soldiers who fought in World War I.

John Paul College Year 13 student Danielle Cooper, 17, has been selected to go to France next month as a part of the Shared Histories Young Ambassadors Programme.

She won a place after writing an essay in French about World War I, what it meant for New Zealanders today and why she wanted to go.

"Before I go I thought it would be nice to talk to other people who have had experiences of the war.


"Even though it was 100 years ago it's still relevant today."

Danielle said if any family wanted her to take something small across on their behalf she could.

"I think it's important because it's kind of like a symbol of remembrance. It's something physical to something that seems so long ago."

She could also take photographs if families would like her to, she said.

She is currently working on a project as part of the programme, surrounding the region's involvement in World War I and the Maori Pioneer Battalion.

The project involved her starting a blog and making a personal inquiry.

Danielle will be visiting the Somme, Caterpillar Valley, Thiepval and other significant battlefields and places along the Western Front.

She said with the trip approaching fast she was "really excited" but also nervous, as she had not done a trip like this before.

Danielle said she would like to say a big thank you to the Rotorua RSA for its support and the John Paul College French department.

If people would like to share their stories, or have a poppy laid, they can contact Danielle via e-mail at daniellecooper.nz@gmail.com or phone (022) 011 4199.

She also has a blog site which will keep people updated surrounding her project and trip, at www.daniellecooper.nz.