Pas­sion­ate Fran­cophile ready to rep­re­sent NZ

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Aria New­field caught the ‘‘French bug’’ as a young­ster.

Now the 22-year-old is head­ing to Paris to rep­re­sent New Zealand at the Bastille Day mil­i­tary pa­rade on July 14.

New­field is in her fifth year of a con­joint law and arts de­gree at Auck­land Univer­sity. The Grafton res­i­dent is ma­jor­ing in French and his­tory.

She be­came in­ter­ested in all things French at pri­mary school aged 8, and went on to study the lan­guage at St Cuth­berts Col­lege.

‘‘I guess I just got the bug. I love the French lan­guage and find the his­tory and cul­ture so in­ter­est­ing.’’

Arts, Cul­ture and Heri- tage min­is­ter Christo­pher Fin­layson an­nounced the four French-speak­ing New Zealan­ders selected on June 3.

It fol­lowed an in­vi­ta­tion from French pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande to send two men and two women aged 18 to 24 to take part in the pa­rade.

France is us­ing this year’s na­tional day to mark the up­com­ing cen­te­nary of World War I. The four Ki­wis will join youth from around 70 other coun­tries that were in­volved in the war.

‘‘There were more than 200 ap­pli­ca­tions for this unique op­por­tu­nity,’’ Fin­layson says.

‘‘I con­grat­u­late the four young New Zealan­ders cho­sen by the judges and am proud that they are join­ing me to rep­re­sent New Zealand and their gen­er­a­tion over­seas at the Bastille Day mil­i­tary pa­rade.’’

Auck­lan­der Mi­lan Djurich, Is­abel Kerr of Welling­ton and Alexan­der Sum­mer­lee of Christchurch will also at­tend.

New­field has been to France once be­fore. She stayed with a fam­ily in Nueil-les-Au­biers in ru­ral France dur­ing a stu­dent ex­change.

She is hop­ing to meet her ‘‘host sis­ter’’ and get some down time to ex­plore Paris.

‘‘I can’t be­lieve it. I feel very lucky.’’

Paris call­ing: Aria New­field is look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand on France’s na­tional day.

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