Canterbury youth honoured for sustainability drive

It’s always refreshing to see young’uns getting into the sustainability swing of things and the recently held 2011 Youth Leadership for Sustainability Awards showcased the Canterbury youth that do it best. A joint initiative between Environment Canterbury and Ngai Tahu, the awards were presented to students by Environment Canterbury chair of commissioners Dame Margaret Bazley and Ngai Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon. 

And the winners are: 

Individual Category: Year 12 or 13


The criteria for the individual category included being a self starter, having initiated activities, being a team player, having keen personal interest and engaging in extra curricular work. 

Matthew Young (pictured) from Lincoln High School took out first place in the category, followed by Keziah Smith of Aranui High in second, and Jenny Burns of Cashmere High in third.

Young is the leader of Lincoln High School Enviro Council and has worked on water quality monitoring, in particular of their local Liffey Stream. He has also been actively developing a school wide anti-littering campaign and regularly publishes enviro statistics in the school notices. Outside of school he also works on social projects supporting people with Autism and Down’s Syndrome. 


Smith isdeputy head girl at Aranui High and worked on a project called ‘Burst the Bubble’, which she initiated after attending Youth Vision 2050 in May. Her focus at Youth Vision 2050 was on social equality and justice in our communities. Smith aims to burst the bubble of prejudice in a renewed Christchurch. 


Third place getter Jenny Burnslooked at household power consumption at her home and created a plan to reduce energy loss. She is committed to spreading the word about how we may reduce our energy waste. 

Group Category: secondary school students 

Important qualities to possess in this category is drive, having leadership and team spirit, and working in partnership with other organisations in the community.

First place: Nina Valley Restoration Group, Hurunui College 

Nina Valley Restoration Group (pictured) is made up of 25 active students from Hurunui College who worked to release five juvenile kiwis into the valley. The team looked after them by monitoring progress and changing their transmitters. Hurunui College students have been working with DOC over a period of years and have established two new trap lines that can be checked for predators every three weeks. So far this season they have trapped 150 predators, including stoats, rats and hedgehogs. 

Second place: PI Changemakers, Aranui High 

PI Changemakers were formed in 2011 to attend the Pacifica Climate Change conference in Fiji. They are helping to connect Pasifika youth to environmental issues that closely affect them, like rising sea levels in the Pacific. The students attended the UNICEF Youth Congress 15-17 July in Auckland, where they met Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and in September, participated in the global day of action on climate change.

Third place: EFS 301 Class, Cashmere High 

EFS 301 Class created a sustainability strategy for Cashmere High, initiated Christchurch’s role in international ‘I am challenge’ and produced a shade audit and plan for their school. A number of the students are also involved in the locally inspired Habitat Project.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).