Hawke's Bay students will join their counterparts from around the country in striking for urgent action on climate change on Friday.

More than 100 students are expected at Napier's Clive Square Gardens from 12pm.

School Strike For Climate NZ organisers say hundreds of students from across the country will join other young people around the world in striking from school to send a strong message to older generations that inaction on climate change will no longer be tolerated.

Hawke's Bay co-organiser and Taradale High School student Charlie Mudgway believes it is a chance for the student body to make their voices heard - and striking sent a "really powerful message".

Hawke's Bay students; Greer McCarthy (left), Charlie Mudgway and Sarah Fraser plan to strike against climate change on Friday. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hawke's Bay students; Greer McCarthy (left), Charlie Mudgway and Sarah Fraser plan to strike against climate change on Friday. Photo / Paul Taylor

"Young people are very aware of what our future will be if climate change is not addressed.

"The generation that is currently making the decisions are not making good enough decisions and as young people who have to live in the consequences of the decisions that are being made today and in the past, we should have a voice," Mudgway said.

When Sacred Heart student and fellow organiser Sarah Fraser first heard of the international student-led movement, she knew taking action in New Zealand was something she wanted to do.

"I am really passionate about climate change and the impact it has on our environment and I feel it is the biggest issue facing young people in the future."

She hopes it will bring "awareness to my fellow young people about what the issue really is and how serious it is for our future".

Hawke's Bay Secondary Principals' Association chairman and Taradale High School principal Stephen Hensman said he supported "teenagers wanting to advocate for change in how we approach the environment".

"My generation is part of the problem, and it is great that teenagers want to be part of the solution.

"I think what we have seen over the last few years is a bit of a lack of awareness amongst teenagers and a lack of action, except in small pockets, so the notion of lots of secondary aged students supporting climate responsibility is great."


However, he said the challenge for them is that it landed on a school day.

"If they had set it for students' own time, then I think it would have had more impact because adults would be able to see that students are willing to give up their own time rather than take some time off school to support the cause."

The school's stance is that they have no objection to people attending with parent permission and parents taking responsibility for their welfare during the rally. But students bunking off school would be dealt with accordingly, he said.

Māori Climate Commissioner Donna Awatere-Huata said she had no qualms about encouraging schoolchildren to strike for action on climate change.

"The world is melting, the Arctic, the Antarctic, our own glaciers are melting, the oceans can't take much more of the greenhouse gases.

"These young people they're saying: 'This is our future'. We're talking an existential issue. We may not exist if we carry on like this."

She says the world is essentially in meltdown, and the impact of a few hours off school pales in comparison to the likely impact of climate change on the lives of today's children.

The demonstrations are part of a broader grassroots movement started by Swedish student Greta Thunberg when she started skipping class to sit outside government buildings in September, accusing her country of not following the Paris Climate Agreement.

Now known as Schools 4 Climate Action, tens of thousands of children across Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia have been inspired to hold their own demonstrations.

Awatere-Huata says she will be marching with them, and calling for an end to government inertia.