Hawke's Bay students are among young environmentalists from across New Zealand and the Pacific taking part in a forum in Nelson.

Central Hawke's Bay College student Isiah Tiuka is one of those involved in the annual Youth EnviroLeaders Forum (Yelf) which kicked off on Friday.

Last week, Isiah said he was looking forward to the forum and hoped to get lessons and tips from experts there.

He said he had been involved in community environmental events such as tree-planting and helped with school clean-up efforts. He had also spoken on environmental topics.


Isiah said he was particularly interested in water quality.

The Year 12 student studied chemistry, English, maths, music, Maori and history - and was still deciding what he would study at university.

Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive Shelly Campbell said the trust selected 54 students from Year 11 to 13 from every region for the forum.

They would be joined by four young environmental leaders from Palau, the Mariana Islands, New Caledonia and Australia.

It was the first time international students had joined Yelf, and the aim was to increase the network of young environmental leaders across the Pacific.

"These young people with a passion for the environment will need to lead change in the environment and collaboration will be part of the solution.

"We're sure we'll learn as much from them as they will from us," said Ms Campbell.

The students would spend the week developing their leadership skills as well as learning about environmental issues and opportunities in the Nelson area.

Ms Campbell said this year's forum would focus on pest eradication, biodiversity and ocean health.

The students would be exposed to career paths in their fields of interest and would be shown real-world applications of subjects they learn in the classroom, said Ms Campbell.

Students would also have the opportunity to develop leadership skills through a range of field trips and workshops.

Speakers included Minister for the Environment Nick Smith, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese, Ministry for the Environment chief executive Vicki Robertson, Sam Johnson of the Student Volunteer Army and leading local subject experts.

As well, the students would visit the Abel Tasman National Park and experts from the Department of Conservation and Project Janszoon would speak about pest eradication and biodiversity, said Ms Campbell.