Ben is a Year 13 student at Otago Boys’ High School. In 2019, Ben attended the week-long BLAKE Inspire programme. He was also invited to meet Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, who was visiting New Zealand in 2019, to raise awareness about climate change. He has earned his Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, which focuses on personal development and public service. He was nominated for a New Zealand Youth Award in 2019 and in 2020 he was named as the Blake Youth Leader Award – Rangatahi.
Ben has led his school sustainability group for the past 3 years which have been focused on installing a sustainable energy source for the school’s lodge in Mt Aspiring National Park. He has led the Dunedin Town Belt Kaitiaki (a student lead group made up of 17 schools) for the past 2 years. This group focuses on transforming a historical Dunedin landmark. The project has seen the Town Belt – a 202-hectare strip of bush that runs through the middle of Dunedin city – become an outdoor classroom with the purpose of teaching young people to understand and value the environment. He organised a two-day hui involving 28 young people with support of local marae which he used as a chance to “call his group to action” – delegating tasks and planning activities for the year.
Ben has also appeared in several public speaking engagements, including guest spots during Dunedin’s Conservation week and at a Climate Strike rally. Ben is an all-rounder who has won multiple academic and sporting awards and is widely considered to be a promising future leader.