Whangarei student off to Kermadec Islands with Sir Peter Blake Trust

Teaghan Kirby has always been passionate about the environment.

As a child seeing litter on the road would upset her, and her first memory is sitting in a trolley enjoying the pouring rain while everyone scrambled for cover.

Now the 17-year-old is excited to be one of 20 young people voyaging to the Kermadec Islands, a conservation area and marine reserve about 1000km northeast of New Zealand.

"I think I just about cried when I got the phone call. I was jumping up and down with my nana and grandad.

"I'm really passionate about the environment. Growing up on a farm I was always outdoors and the area that I live in often had litter on the side of the road and that made me really sad."

Miss Kirby, who is a Year 13 Whangarei Girls' High School student, will be setting off on board the HMNZS Canterbury on Monday with the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Royal New Zealand Navy as part of the trust's Young Blake Expeditions.

The Kermadec Islands are the visible surface of a chain of about 80 volcanoes, stretching between Tonga and New Zealand. The current marine reserve was created in 1990 and covers 745,000ha.

Miss Kirby had not heard of the Kermadec Islands until she applied to go on the voyage and started searching the internet for information.

"I thought 'oh my word' I would be so lucky to be able to go here.

"For me it's quite an exciting region because it's quite volcanic geologically and I'm really interested in volcanoes and earthquakes."

Miss Kirby would like to study geophysics or geochemistry after she finishes school.

While on board youth will learn from scientists, marine ecologists and ornithologists (someone who studies birds).

"It's surreal. I don't even know how I got here. I feel very lucky to be able to pick their brains and of all the knowledge I will gain from them."

Miss Kirby will arrive back to New Zealand on March 9. She said it takes about five days to travel to the islands.

By: Mikaela Collins

Mikaela Collins ls a reporter for the Northern Advocate

[email protected] northernadvocat