Adventure in numbers
Monday started with an optional morning run and walk. With a third of the YELF team opting to join in, it made for a busy exercise session for the organising chaperones. We followed a planned route which saw us take in some of Nelsons finest including the Christ Church Cathedral on Trafalgar Street.
After a well-deserved breakfast and a quick waiata practise we made our way to the buses which were to take us to the Whakatu Marae where the YELF team would experience a powhiri and a hangi for lunch; served by the Iwi of the Marae. We were welcomed on to the Marae and listened to the Marae spokesmen Ropata Taylor speak on behalf of his people. This was returned with a speech by our own delegate Isaiah, who spoke very well. Experiencing a hongi (personal Maori welcome) was new for a lot of delegates. Especially those who have come from the Pacific Islands and Australia for this year’s Forum.
A quick cup of tea and snack followed before Vicky Robertson the CEO of the Ministry of Environment and local Councillor Mike Ward made speeches. Vicky spoke of the need for young future leaders to take up ideas and go ahead, as anything is possible. She incorporated the need for all industries to come together and work collectively to build a better environment in New Zealand.
As a local Councillor; Mike’s speech was very interesting. He told us of the changes he’s seen in the Tasman district over his lifetime. He looked at the need for young people to step up and build an initiative and also for young people to lead the way in Environmental Leadership in New Zealand. The speeches were then concluded with a hangi, served by the local Iwi.
On Monday afternoon, we visited the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. Rick Field spoke to the YELF team about the sanctuary and what they were doing to restore the native birds and bush to the small area in Nelson. The team were then treated to a walk through the bush and up to the restored stream. Seeing Rick and his teams work in action was amazing, and was really relatable to a number of the delegates.
On Tuesday, we all travelled to Kaiteriteri and then on into the Abel Tasman National Park by water taxi. We were to learn about Project Janszoon and the work they are doing in Anchorage Bay and on Adele Island. While in the park we learnt about plants in the sand dunes, trapping processes and a number of shellfish on Adele Island. Learning from the Project Janszoon team was an amazing experience and was good to gain some knowledge to take back to our communities in terms of restoration.
The day was finished off with Devon and a business friend who came and spoke to us about the NEXT organisation and what steps they were taking for pest eradication. The talk was insightful and gave us some new ideas to make a difference and continue in Sir Peters footsteps.
Both days have been insightful and have provided the team with good contacts and new ideas to take back to their schools and communities. Thank you to the speakers, teachers and local Iwi for providing an amazing first two, official days of YELF2016!