Inspiring the future of Aotearoa through BLAKE Inspire
January 9, 2023

Together with the Ministry for the Environment, in 2022 we supported over 120 young people through our BLAKE Inspire programmes!

In April and October, we brought our delegates to the Waikato region where they experienced opportunities to learn more about freshwater health, the marine environment, biodiversity and climate change. Our year 11-13 leaders went to Dennley Farms to learn about sustainable agricultural practices, Sanctuary Mountain to see the impact of biodiversity strategies, participated in a policy simulation with the Ministry for the Environment, as well as visited Raglan to go kayaking along the limestone coast. The students worked with a NIWA freshwater scientist and leant about all the microscopic animals in the ocean. At the end of the week our delegates presented an action plan on how they will take their learnings back to their communities to create change. As part of our April programme, we visited the Waitomo Caves to explore ecotourism during a cave tour and black water rafting, as well as participating in a leadership workshop with the Student Volunteer Army and working with SJ Blake, our artist-in-residence, on an interactive plankton art experience. Our October programme ran similarly to the April programme, with the introduction of Rotorua Ziplines to provide an immersive ecotourism experience, coupled with an afternoon of planting native trees with Mātauranga Māori weaved throughout.

In August, we ran our first BLAKE Inspire during the school term. This programme was based in Shakespeare Regional Park of North Auckland. Our delegates went through leadership rotations with the Royal New Zealand Navy, kayaked along the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, explored the marine life across the intertidal region, worked with a BLAKE Ambassador in a freshwater science activity, collaborated with local organisation (City To Farm) to understand the importance of compost systems, before visiting local Wainui Primary School to help their students build their first compost trench. We continued to work with the Ministry for the
Environment on an engaging policy simulation that tested the participants in the complexities of policy negotiations. We also visited Tāwharanui Regional Park and BLAKE partners, Sawmill, who provided the delegates with a presentation on sustainable business. Our week concluded with the presentation of action plans where we saw a significant focus on supporting the development of systems to reduce food waste in schools.

We are excited to continue expanding BLAKE Inspire in 2023. If you are a year 11-13 student, or know of one, encourage them to apply through our website. Applications are now open and will close in mid-February.