Journey of a lifetime to sub-Antarctic
Twelve of the country’s top young leaders departed on a major climate research expedition to the subAntarctic, alongside a group of leading New Zealand marine scientists, environment and business leaders.
Having left from Auckland at 10am on Monday, the group, which includes Mania Oxenham, 17, from Matamata, will travel onboard the HMNZS Wellington for the 13- day Young Blake Expedition to the Auckland Islands.
Representatives from the NZ Navy, DOC, NZARI, NIWA, University of Otago and the Sir Peter Blake Trust will also be taking part in the expedition, with Sir Peter Blake’s daughter, Sarah- Jane, joining the Auckland to Bluff leg of the voyage.
The expedition’s mission is an important one for all New Zealanders. This group will draft the feasibility plan for a world- leading sub-Antarctic research station, which it is hoped will be built on the Auckland Islands in early 2015. The proposed station will allow New Zealand scientists and worldwide agencies to work together towards understanding the effect of ocean and climate change as the world warms and what the impact will be on New Zealand’s environment, biodiversity and economy.
‘‘The world’s leading climate scientists are now surer than ever that the earth is warming and we now need to determine how vulnerable Antarctica’s ice sheets, shelves and sea ice are, and given our close proximity to the Southern Ocean, what that will mean for New Zealand in the future,’’ said leader of the Deep South National Science Project and New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute director, Professor Gary Wilson.
‘‘ The Deep South National Science Challenge, one of the first of 10 National Science Challenge proposals invited by the government, also recognises that New Zealand is uniquely placed to lead the world in understanding the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in driving global climate and environmental change,’’ adds Mr Wilson.
The Sir Peter Blake Trust has selected 12 student leaders, aged 16 to 18, to take part in the expedition and have tasked them with inspiring and mobilising other New Zealanders, through their Auckland Islands experience, to know and care about what is happening to the marine environment. It is the second Young Blake Expedition to set sail, following 2012’ s successful voyage to the Kermadecs, and is key to the legacy of Sir Peter Blake who, after many years at sea as a professional yachtsman, dedicated his life to drawing attention to the critical changes affecting the world’s oceans, marine life and sea birds.
Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive, Shelley Campbell, said, ‘‘ Young Blake Expeditions aim to tool these young Kiwis with the knowledge and skills to become the future leaders of New Zealand as well as to continue the great work of Sir Peter Blake, particularly in the Deep South, an area which Sir Peter observed early on to be crucial to understanding the effect of man’s impact on our marine environment.’’
Expedition leadership director and Team NZ business manager, Ross Blackman, said, ‘‘Peter was passionate about inspiring young Kiwis to set audacious goals and dare to dream. I know he would be extremely proud of these young leaders and the expedition in his name that they are about to embark upon. ’’
See Mania Oxenham’s bio and follow the Young Blake Expedition blog and video updates at: sirpeterblaketrust.org.
All aboard: Mania Oxenham in the steering room onboard the HMNZS Wellington.