Two talented Rotorua students have been selected from hundreds of applicants to attend the Sir Peter Blake Trust Youth EnviroLeaders Forum (YELF).

Anipatene Biddle, 17, from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Koutu and Kairangi Cox, 17, from Rotorua Lakes High School have been chosen to select their region at the week-long forum.

The programme will run from April 14 to 20 in Taranaki.

The 55 Year 11 to 13 students from every region in New Zealand will look at environmental issues facing New Zealand, with a focus on climate change.


Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive James Gibson said the programme was in its 15th year and introduced talented young New Zealanders to a pipeline of unique environmental programmes.

"YELF is the first time we meet these passionate, young people who have been selected for their commitment to environmental action and ability to drive positive change.

"The aim is for them to leave YELF fired up with new knowledge, networks and leadership skills and ready to start making a difference within their communities.

"From here, they have opportunities to go on to take part in our other environmental programmes which can shape their future environmental leadership pathways."

YELF is run in partnership with the Ministry for the Environment.

Ministry chief executive Vicky Robertson said the forum provided young Kiwis with an amazing opportunity to explore New Zealand's environmental situation, challenge the status quo and suggest new ways to address issues.

"New Zealand is at a pivotal time in its history – with critical decisions being made on the best way to manage our natural resources and tackle issues like climate change.

"So, it's vital that our young people, represented by these YELF delegates, have the chance to get involved and make their voice heard. YELF does that."


The students will spend the week developing their leadership skills as well as learning about environmental issues and innovation in Taranaki.

They'll also be exposed to career paths in their field of interest and will be shown real world applications of subjects they learn in the classroom.

Over the week the students will be involved in range of activities, including:

The students will develop leadership skills through a range of field trips, workshops and exercises throughout the week. Speakers include: Sir Peter Blake Trust alumni, Ministry for the Environment staff, local and national politicians, subject experts, business and community leaders.

Climate Change:
The students will learn about climate change and how the consequences of climate change will affect the environment, urban planning and livability. They will also take part in a climate change workshop facilitated by MFE with a focus on policies.

Environmental issues:
The students will address a range of topical environmental issues facing New Zealand. During the forum students will visit, engage and learn about urban planning and ocean acidification. They will also work with local organisations on environmental projects in the community.

The students will be hosted by local organisations and businesses who will showcase innovation in Taranaki. This includes a visit to award-winning farm Parininihi Ki Waitotara to learn about innovation in agriculture and alternate energy at Methanex.