I’m one of two co-conveners for NZYD 2011. Educated at Auckland Girls’ Grammar, I’m now in my second year of Law and Arts at Auckland Uni, majoring in History and Politics. I’ve lived in South Auckland all my life, and have loved growing up surrounded by so many cultures. Since I was young, I’ve danced Kolo with the Dalmatian Cultural Society; a chance to express my own Croatian roots. I love tramping, travelling, cooking, reading, writing and watching films. I’m definitely an Aucklander at heart.
I believe that climate change is the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced; not only as humanity, but as an entire planet. While so much action is being taken at a grassroots level, I feel that a huge part in mobilising people around the issue is up to our world’s governments – which is why I’m putting my time into keeping track of the negotiations with NZYD’s Policy Team.
In future, I’d love to contribute my skills to working as a diplomat, and see my work with NZYD as great training. Until then, find me curled up in a corner, watching political satire, with a cup of fair trade tea in hand – or poring over policy documents.
Elana Hawke | Facebook
I am a global person – born in Indonesia, lived most of my life in New Zealand and travelled widely in Europe, the Middle East, Central America, USA and Canada. I have completed a BSc in Environmental Science at Canterbury University and have recently spent two semesters on study exchange at University California Santa Barbara. I am currently studying ‘Energy and the Ocean Environment’ with Sea Education Association in Wood Hole Massachusetts, part of which is carrying out ocean-based research on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. I am passionate about environmental issues and intend to pursue post graduate studies in the field with my goal being to work internationally in the field of environmental science and management for the United Nations Environment Program or similar agency.
I enjoy being active and have been involved in rowing, cycling, rugby and netball. I am passionate about scuba diving which gives me an opportunity to have a closer look at ocean environments. I have participated in the Spirit of Adventure Trust Youth Development Programme and represented New Zealand at the 2009 EcoMinds Youth Forum, “Sustainable Energy Systems: Challenges and Opportunities”. In 2010 I was a representative to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award course during which I raised money towards ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity. In 2010 I attended Shanghai Global Forum “New Energy,·New City,·New Life” on behalf of the University of Canterbury and was proud to be chosen as a group leader and one of three closing speakers. At Santa Barbara I trained for the Environmental Education for the Next Generation programme teaching environmental lessons to 1st and 2nd grade students. I believe that education is the key to ensuring that we look after the Earth so that future generations can enjoy it and be provided for!
Mothla Majeed | Facebook
I’m a fifth year law/BA (French/International Relations) student living in Wellington and hailing from the Waikato. This year I’m pursuing honours in International Relations, focusing on critical theory and de- / post-colonialism, which I’m really excited to be doing as it is my undeniable passion!
As much as I adore living in the capital, escaping to somewhere more peaceful is always a pleasure; the Waikato, Nelson Lakes, Golden Bay and Abel Tasman are my favourite spots in New Zealand. While in Wellington, however, I take every day as an opportunity to do my very best, and pack each one with a variety of activities. If I am not in class, I can be found either tutoring a paper on New Zealand’s governmental system, or working as a research assistant to a law professor whose specialty is the law of small island states. To unwind after a busy day in Wellington, I love reading, walking, cooking, drinking countless cups of tea and coffee, and going out to watch local theatre and music.
I’m a strong believer in civil society and social justice, especially with regard to the global south and gender, so climate change activism is dear to my heart; I believe collective action is the best option we have to save our beautiful planet, not just for us, but for every species we share it with. I can’t wait to head to Durban this year and put myself to the test!
Simon Peter Tagiilima Matāfai | Facebook
Youth activist, Music Director, Community leader, History, Music and Law student at the University of Auckland. My goal is to be elected as Prime Minister of Samoa. Avondale College alumni as the first elected Student representative to the Board of Pacific Island descent and also Deputy Head-Boy.
I have represented youth in both domestic & international conferences and advocacy initiatives from the United Nations MDG Summit in New York, USA to Church, Music and Political conferences. Music Director of choirs to owning a School of Piano; Simon believes music is a powerful tool to address many social issues for young people. Committed community youth activist; Simon has lead initiatives and projects including: feeding the homeless, litter clean ups, free services to the unfortunate; community events such as the Westfield Style Pasifika Fashion Awards, Miss Samoa NZ Pageant, Pasifika Festival, Polyfest as a tutor of a 9 year winning Samoan Group; even Charitable efforts for CANTEEN and TEAR FUND. Simon has been involved with Ministry of Youth Development projects such as PROVOKE Network and was also a member of the Auckland City Youth Council.
Simon’s main interest in climate change is a focus in the Pacific area. He is concerned that the people of the Pacific need to be more proactive with climate change issues. The reality is that some islands are gradually disappearing with rising sea levels. Simon wishes to educate Pasifika people with this real issue that is threatening the future of the beautiful Pacific geography.
I’m one of the two co-conveners for NZYD 2011. Last year I was lucky enough to attend COP 16 in Cancun which I found to be a both enlightening and harrowing experience. Coming from Cancun I wanted to enable others to experience the same enlightenment and harrowment. The journey from Cancun back to New Zealand through many exotic locales taught me much about the real root causes of climate change and the real impacts on people. I am excited to apply these lessons in Durban as the delegation serves its role as civil society within the negotiations. I am specifically interested in climate justice, forestry and indigenous rights issues coming into these negotiations.
I’m a born and raised Wellingtonian and currently completing a Masters of Environmental Studies at Victoria University. On the rare occasion when I’m not working on Climate Change issues I enjoy all types of food and spending time indoors with books and outdoors with nature.
Here’s a video of me addressing a plenary session at COP16 on behalf of the world’s youth:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnJf9-tqhXg
Alyssa Ryan | Facebook
I am from Blenheim in Marlborough. I have just finished high school and I will be going to Victoria University to study a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Development Studies next year.
I love the outdoors and going tramping and exploring New Zealand’s biodiversity. I enjoy spending time on the beaches and swimming in the sea. I have a passion for travelling and learning new cultures. I have been involved in the Environmental Council at high school. I participated in the Sir Peter Blake Youth Environment Leadership Forum and attended the New Zealand Model United Nations. I have attended Regeneration’s Summer Jam and have learned many skills, which I have bought back to my school community.
I am also a dedicated vegan and love cooking new types of food.
I am a litigation lawyer at a large law firm. I am passionate about ecology, animal rights, and social justice. I graduated from the University of Auckland in 2009 with degrees in law and arts. I wrote my honours dissertation in law on New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme, under Professor Klaus Bosselmann, as well as an honours paper on the RNZSPCA’s role in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 1999. My arts majors were politics and philosophy. From 2009-2010 I was a judges’ clerk at the Auckland High Court and a law tutor. While at University, I worked as a research assistant to Peter Sankoff, attended the ‘Animal Law in Australia: A New Dialogue’ symposium in Brisbane, and was a senior editor of the Auckland University Law Review. I am an outstanding oral advocate, and at university competed in mock trials nationally and in Australia.
I am a keen cyclist, both for transportation and sport. I recently completed the 100km Flyer, a cycle race from Rotorua to Taupo. Before picking up cycling, I was a runner, completing the Aucklane marathon in 2009. I love hiking and completed the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker four times, most recently in 22 hours and 26 minutes, and over the years raised a total of over $10,000 for Oxfam. I have been vegan since 2004.
In addition to ecological issues, I am committed to social justice and youth empowerment. I was involved in the UN Youth from 2003 until early 2011. In 2010, I received the Wysocki- Bates Award for outstanding contribution to youth involvement in the UN. I am also a trustee of the P3 Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to mobilising young New Zealanders against poverty, founded by 2010 Young New Zealander of the Year, Divya Dhar.
I’m in my final year of University studying Law and Science, majoring in Environmental Studies, and beginning to hatch some plans for next year and beyond. I was raised in Auckland but after almost five years at Victoria University am beginning to see Wellington as home. I’m happiest when found strolling the boardwalk on a Sunday, scuba diving for scallops, on a beach on a summer’s evening or sitting around the kitchen table with a pot of tea and good friends.
I’m lucky enough to have seen some amazing places around the world, such as spending a working holiday at Lake Tahoe, California and truly appreciating the beauty of an untouched environment. As well as staying active in the community, my passion is in international environmental law and throughout my career I hope somehow to contribute to, what I see as, the positive opportunity for humankind that is raised by the impending climate crisis. I want to see New Zealand reinstate itself as a world leader in environmental protection, and shape a sustainable country that future generations can enjoy as much as us. I’m excited to be part of the NZYD heading to Durban this year and really looking forward to the opportunity to provide a voice for the New Zealand youth on the world stage. Our generation has the ability to change the direction the global community is heading in, and I am excited to see where we end up!
I’m a 23 year old guy from Auckland. I’ve lived my whole life here, but have been lucky enough to spend some of my summer holidays doing cool stuff like mountain biking in Bolivia, tango-ing in Argentina, petting tigers in Thailand and volunteering at an orphanage high in the Andes in Peru
When I’m at home there’s a few main things which I’m really passionate about, and a quick glance at my Facebook wall will make it obvious what they are – Politics, Cricket and Climate Change. If it came down to either playing for the Black Caps or being Prime Minister I’m really not too sure which one I’d choose!
This year I’m doing Honours in Political Studies at Auckland University, and divide my free time between a few other pursuits like indoor cricket, futsal and getting amongst it in our national parks with the uni tramping club in the holidays.
I’m passionate about climate change because it’s quite simply the most pressing moral issue humanity faces. It encompasses the fields of science, developed-developing world relations, economics, politics, human rights and social and inter-generational justice. Few other issues in human history have been so comprehensive and urgent.
The impacts of climate change are already visible in the Pacific, where communities in low-lying countries face danger from rising sea levels and changing weather patterns which threaten to jeopardise their livelihoods and could even force them to abandon their homelands. Sadly, the nations like these who have contributed the least towards climate change are those who are likely to face the brunt of its economic and human consequences.
I’m originally from the beautiful Hawke’s Bay. The past five years I have been living in Wellington and studying at Victoria University of Wellington. Last year I completed my Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Studies, at the University of California San Diego. Studying in California gave me an incredibly different perspective on many environmental issues. This year I am finishing my Law Degree back here at VUW.
My spare time is split between sports, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and being a volunteer firefighter. Last year I was lucky enough to travel from Alaska and Canada right down to Costa Rica. The contrast of so many different environments and their related problems was truly insightful.
I intend to use my legal and scientific background to form a career in the environmental arena, however in the meantime I consider NZYD a wonderful experience. It brings a unique group of people together to represent, the often unheard, youth of our nation. I consider it a privilege and look forward to the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.