Zianna McLeod from Ōtaki College has been selected for the United Nations Youth New Zealand's Global Development Tour for 2019.

The tour is a month-long study tour, taking 22 high school students from around New Zealand to the cities at the forefront of sustainable development around the world.

"My first reaction on getting in was shock and disbelief," Zianna said.

"I was filled with excitement but there was a great deal of disbelief — a lot of it.


"I was over the moon to say the least.

"I struggled to believe that I'd been chosen for this amazing opportunity as I'm just a student from a very small community compared to bigger places."

Tour director Mitchell Fraser said, "This is a significant achievement.

"Places on the delegation are competitive and Zianna's selection as part of the delegation, particularly as a Year 12 student, reflects the quality of both her written application and interview."

The tour's purpose is to showcase the need for a multi-dimensional, global effort to achieve the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by meeting with a range of individuals and organisations working to achieve the SDGs.

The tour will visit cities chosen for their relation or significance to one or more of the SDG's — New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome and Hong Kong.

"I'm definitely excited to meet the other delegates as they're obviously amazing people with great passions for the sustainability of a better future for humans, animals and the Earth.

"I also hope to inspire other members of the community especially young students to fulfil their passions no matter how random or impossible they seem and even if they've been told not to, or that they can't, to still have some hope and put themselves out there as they matter."

A very passionate person, Zianna is active within her school, leading and participating in many groups such as debate clubs, student support groups, Girl Up and advocating for gender equality through gender neutral uniforms and unisex toilets.

She is also very active within the wider community volunteering with the Ōtaki summer holiday reading programme, New Zealand Breast Cancer, the Heart Foundation and World Vision.

"I have a strong interest in that of supporting others.

"I care greatly on the quality and quantity of what opportunities people have, and am passionate about education, health and human rights.

"These are definitely not just my interests but are my passions."

Ōtaki College principal Andy Fraser said, "The college is incredibly proud to have Zianna selected to represent the youth of New Zealand for this tour.

"Zianna is an outstanding pupil and young women who has a passion for human rights.

"While the college is doing all it can to support Zianna raising $8000 in a very short time this is not easy so we would encourage people and businesses in Kāpiti to take every opportunity to support her in fundraising."

The tour is self-funded with Zianna needing to raise $8000 to go on the trip.

If people would like to support Zianna and contribute they can contact Mr Fraser or his secretary, Vivienne White at Ōtaki College on 06 364 8204.