Danielle Lusk – Metiria Turei
School: Buller High School, Westport
Tell us a bit about yourself: Hello there, I’m a keen adventuress, I love the outdoors, it’s pretty mean. It is my intention to become a white water kayaking guide, because who wouldn’t want to work, live and breathe the outdoors! My main interests include: Kayaking, hanging with mates and just ‘chillin’. My parents have taught me to be myself, question everything and stand up for what I believe in. As for my story, well to be honest I’m just your average high school student trying to get through NCEA without a glitch.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: Well, I chose to be a Green Youth MP because everyone else was going for the Labour Youth MP’s so I decided to be a lil’ different and choose the Green Party, not actually thinking I would get through. What I would like to achieve: Keeping New Zealand NZ owned and operated. Education is a main issue for me as in my opinion it is to be free, this should be the case particularly in a low income area, but it’s not. Someone once told me that we should be focusing on the country’s priorities by using what we have learnt in the past to protect and plan our future in an innovative and sustainable manner.
It seems to me that what the Government is doing at the moment is failing, in more than one aspect! I believe in changing the Governments priorities, so instead of throwing away money to the rich, I would put the money into education, helping eliminate child poverty and give it to the people that ACTUALLY need it! I will bring back what I have learnt to my community and my school and hopefully put my knowledge to good use!
“If you’re not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist?”
Isabella Lenihan-Ikin – Russel Norman
School: Western Springs College, Auckland
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am passionate about forming solutions on climate change and ensuring intergenerational justice in Aotearoa. I have grown up in a family where my parents saw the importance of teaching their children (my older brother and I) the value of living a very low carbon lifestyle; one that gave back to Papatuanuku and to society, not just took from them. I have been involved in environmental movements from a young age and I can remember vividly my first protest for GE Free Aotearoa in 2006. Since then, I have become involved in local school based groups and movements to minimise waste in my school, Western Springs College, regional Auckland Council groups and also national networks of young people fighting for climate justice with groups such as Generation Zero.
I joined the Green Party, at my own initiation when I was 12, as I wanted to learn more about New Zealand politics and environmental, social and climatic issues that the Greens were very knowledgeable about. I am really interested in engaging young people in politics, and I feel that many young people are politically illiterate. My friends think that most of my time is spent discussing and forming solutions with other like-minded, engaged young people on climate change when not doing school work, but I also really enjoy playing the saxophone, writing poetry, reading, playing soccer, as well as volunteering at the local trade aid shop.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I really wanted to become a Youth MP as I am passionate about climatic and environmental issues as well as engaging young people in society and politics. Youth in New Zealand and all over the world can play a really key role in shaping the society we want to live in, in the future. We want to see the government respond positively to climate change, by addressing the issue now to reduce the impact this global catastrophe will have on Aotearoa. Because we pride ourselves on being a democracy, I think it is really important that young people (who are unable to vote) understand how we can influence politics as well. I want to politicise students from my school and community, and educate them of political issues such as climate change and consequential effect these issues have on our generation.Conversely, I want to demonstrate, through my time as a Youth MP, what change and impact they can make on that issue.
I am going to run political literacy – civics education – workshops at my school before I attend Youth Parliament. In these workshops, I want young people to understand how important politics is for them and in doing so transform their prejudice of politics being an ‘omnipotent entity that cannot be accessed by the general voting populous, let alone under 18 non-voting citizens’ into something more inviting and exciting; a place where youth feel that regardless of being under 18 their voice is still significant. Not only excited about the lead up to youth parliament and talking with young people about politics, I am also really keen to meet the 120 other youth MP’s and listen to their aspirations for Aotearoa.
Georgina Lomax-Sawyers – Kevin Hague
School: Buller High School, Westport
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’ve grown up in a big family, I am one of six kids. Being part of a large family there is one thing you learn, to be loud. Very loud. So I have always been quite outspoken about my opinions, which is probably why I enjoy debating so much. I absolutely love talking and my friends and family often get rather annoyed with me because of it. Also being part of a big family can lead to you being quite dramatic, well I seem to be at least as I love drama. I have also done ballet since I was about five. I have grown up on the West Coast of the South Island in a little mining town called Westport, apart from five years when I lived in Wellington. I attend the local high school, which can be quite an exciting place so I always come home with very interesting stories!
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I wanted to be a Green Youth MP because I feel a responsibility towards my community, that our thoughts and opinions be heard. I believe that the Green Party is looking toward the future and trying to create a country in which all are treated equally, a country in which we respect each other and the environment.
I want to achieve as much good green change as I can in my community and let the voice of our youth be heard at a national level. When I look around I see a number of green issues in my community, like mining and coastal erosion, and of course climate change, but also social issues like poverty. The Green Party is the way for our community and young people to be behind this. By being a Green Youth MP I hope to be able to contribute to this change.
Rachel Mclean-Dewes – Catherine Delahunty
School: Gisborne Girls High School, Gisborne
Tell us a bit about yourself: Kia Ora. My name is Rachel, I’m 17 years old and I live on the East Coast of New Zealand in Gisborne. I am a Year 13 student and prefect at Gisborne Girls High School. I have two sisters, one older and one younger than myself. My family has always been very important to me. I have an amazing group of people in my life which is why my friends are very important to me as well. I have an endless love for music. I sing in our choir at school and I’m a part of a local band where I sing also. I’ve played the saxophone for six years and have recently started playing guitar. I am really passionate about youth and particularly the youth in my community.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I wanted to be a Green Youth MP because it sounded like a great opportunity to get involved in something that would push me to voice my opinion more freely. I’ve always had a great passion for social justice and support the majority of the Green Party’s policies.
Another reason I wanted to be a Green Youth MP was because of my fascination with politics. I intend to study a Bachelor Of Arts next year but I am still undecided on what to major in but I feel that politics is and will always be an option for me. I am hoping that this experience will further develop my leadership skills and give me a new outlook on issues that concern us as young people of New Zealand. I am also hoping that Youth Parliament will give me new ideas and ways of thinking that I can take back to my home town and overall benefit my local community. This in itself I believe to be an achievement.
Abbas Nazari – Kennedy Graham
Organisation: University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Tell us a bit about yourself: I am an Afghan-born Kiwi living in New Zealand. I was born in Afghanistan and fled the regime of the Taliban with my family in 2001. I have been living in New Zealand ever since and have assimilated into the New Zealand identity and culture. I love being different. My background and my age relative to most Uni students means I can pursue a different course than most teens. My days consist of studying at Uni, working as a real estate agent in the weekends and afternoons and going for runs or hitting the gym in the evenings. Currently, I am studying towards a double degree in Law and Political Science at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. Last year, following a Classical Studies tour of Greece and Italy with my Burnside High School class, I went back to Afghanistan and documented my journey back to my homeland for the first time in over a decade. This culminated in me doing a TED talk and sharing the story of my people.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: Coming from Afghanistan, it is only natural to have a keen interest in global affairs and political relations. I saw Kennedy Graham as a mentor that i could learn from, due to his vast experience in international relations. I chose to become a Youth MP because I see it as an opportunity to develop my leadership and and networking skills. It is a forum for the youth of this nation to be truly engaged in the current affairs of this nation and get up and close to seeing how the gears of our democracy function. At this age, I doubt any one of the Youth MP’s have clear and defined political alignments and agendas, so I can speak with assurance that I became a Youth MP for the experience of it all and not due to political affiliation. This platform will allow me to develop a clearer understanding of our political structure and therefore make more informed decisions in the future. I also look forward to meeting like-minded students that are just as interested in politics.
Bridget White – Eugenie Sage
School: Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Christchurch
Tell us a bit about yourself: Hello! My name is Bridget and I’m about to tell you a little bit about myself! I’ve lived in Christchurch for all my life, and absolutely love it! Six months ago I decided to go vegan, and it’s been one of the hardest but also one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve worked for two and a half years in a conservation group called Conservation Action Network. We don’t spend our time picking up litter around the school (although it is an extremely important issue). We’re interested in national and global issues around conservation, sustainability and the environment. I’m particularly interested in the oceans and how we treat them. I’ve been on a mission to raise awareness that shark finning still occurs in New Zealand waters, and how the public needs to stand up to stop it! For the last few months I’ve also been heavily interested in the Hector’s dolphins and how their population is still declining despite the marine mammal sanctuary. Last year, I spoke in the youth panel at the Forest and Bird conference, which was a brilliant opportunity! I strongly support Sea Shepherd, and am an on-shore volunteer for their brilliant organisation! I’ve also just started volunteering for SAFE, which is an amazing experience because I not only get to dress up in animal costumes, but also protect and save the animals that mean so much to me! I love tramping, especially around Arthur’s Pass, with all the cheeky kea! I’m also interested in photography, and love taking pictures of just about anything!
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: There are heaps of reasons that I want to be a Green Youth MP. I’ve always been interested in the politics around the environment, and how they affect the changes that happen. I’ve always wanted to be able to make a difference, and I believe that getting my voice through Youth Parliament would be a great start! I have many opinions around how our government treats our environment, in particular our oceans, and want to have a voice. I also want my voice to be heard around the new legislation – the amendments to the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill under international law, or, as many people know, the Anadarko Amendment. It’s taking away our rights as a country to stand up for what we believe in.
One of the reasons I wanted to be a Youth MP was simply because of intergenerational theft – having things like the Maui’s dolphins and the right to protest at sea taken away from the younger generations, who don’t have a voice yet. I want to get a better idea of how parliament runs, so I know how to make a difference in the coming years. I also want to let the country and the world know how our current Government treats our environment.
Raven Maeder – Gareth Hughes
School: Nelson College for Girls, Nelson
Tell us a bit about yourself: Born in Switzerland and raised in Aotearoa, I have been lucky to grow up in beautiful Nelson, NZ’s potential solar capital. Because I am surrounded by precious wild places such as the Able Tasman National Park, my favourite thing to do is be outdoors. I love hiking, camping, sailing…and the fact that I have grown up in the outdoors has made me passionate about protecting it. I am the co-founder and an active member of ‘Nelson youth climate action group’, volunteer for many groups such as Gen Zero, Greenpeace, 350.org, and also the Green Party. I am hugely interested in politics and take action as much as I can about things I believe in, such as preventing deep sea oil drilling in Aotearoa, investing in renewables, protecting our native animals, stopping asset sales, and taking action on climate change.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: Becoming a Green Youth MP was the prime chance for me to directly have my voice heard as well as having the opportunity to give other youth the chance to have their voices heard too. I want to be able to experience and learn how change is brought about in a democratic way, through political avenues in contrast to activism and learn more about how our government works. My vision for New Zealand is totally along the same lines as the Green Party policies so having a chance to represent them and make their policies more accessible to young people is an exciting challenge for me.
By being a Green Youth MP I hope to inspire other youth to speak up about their vision for NZ and voice their concerns so that I can help them to have them heard. I would also love to encourage young people to become more politically aware and active as we will be the leaders of the future and the decisions being made by our leaders now, directly affect us and the coming generations. I very much look forward to becoming more active within my community and talking to as many people as possible about their vision for NZ and sharing mine. I also hope to directly voice my opinions and visions to our leaders at parliament.
Caitlin Smart – David Clendon
School: St Dominic’s College, Auckland
Tell us a bit about yourself: Hiya! I’m Caitlin, and I’m a proud Westie in my last year of high school. I’m a science nerd at heart, and I plan on studying either science or engineering next year. However, I am also very keen on public speaking and human rights issues. I have been involved with UNYouth since 2011, and am also the founder and leader of our school’s Amnesty International crew. When I’m not lobbying or experimenting, you can find me playing soccer, performing spoken word or just generally chilling with my friends and family.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I’ve always admired the Green Party; I believe that the Greens have a fresh approach to politics and are committed to hearing out the voices and opinions of the youth of New Zealand. As a Youth MP, I want to be able to meet like-minded young leaders and make friends with other Youth MPs from all over the country. Hopefully, I will be able to take my experiences from Parliament and use them to get others in West Auckland interested and involved in politics, governance and making a difference when it comes to the ‘big issues’.
Corey Fuimaono – Jan Logie
School: Aotea College, Porirua
Tell us a bit about yourself: Simply put, I’m a Leader with an awkward sense of humour. On one hand, I’m the Deputy Head Boy at Aotea College, but I’m quite the tech-savvy teenager as well; having a comprehensive understanding of Technology and Media – and how they both affect and have a form of contribution to society. I am also quite interested in people in general; how I can help through the use of my talents & how I can relate to others whom are different in ways not just limited to thought. I hope to work on all of these interests of mine when I study related subjects – gaining Bachelors – at SIT next year.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I come from a family of hardworking people who work towards contributing their knowledge and skills to the community. So in terms of political ideology, our family has always believed in liberal views – so my decision to be a Green Youth MP came naturally. Besides, politics was always a side-thing I had spare time for, arguing viewpoints ever since I was young. When I was filling my application out, I pointed out that as part of the Green Party’s manifesto, I personally believed in their views and goals – especially when it came to Marriage Equality and caring for our environment. That every couple should be seen as equal under the law and that every New Zealander has the responsibility to look after and be able to freely access the rough and rugged landscape, as caretakers of the land, that earns our most important reputation worldwide – “Clean & Green” and not just Middle Earth.
As a Youth MP, I will be able to highlight such issues and create discussion, debate around them – the issues that are currently affecting this country and its people to date. For that, I’d like to be with the Green Party to press these issues forward to create change, for the better.
Patrick Gerard – Steffan Browning
School: Nelson College for Boys, Nelson
Tell us a bit about yourself: I grew up in a small and isolated area of the Pelorus Sound in the Marlborough Sounds on my parent’s lifestyle farm where my family and I have learned to respect the surrounding natural environments. From a young age, I have always been interested in native plants and their role in the broader biodiversity of New Zealand, particularly the Marlborough Sounds. I have also had to learn a large amount about the sea and its natural inhabitants as well as the relationships people have developed with local waterways as time has gone by. I have a firm belief that humans are always at the bottom; we can only take advantage of and exploit the environment for so long before we are thrown into our places again.
This stance I have taken against some of the recent aquaculture developments within the Marlborough Sounds, including the New Zealand King Salmon proposal where eight of the nine proposed farms were to be cited entirely within Coastal Marine Zone One areas where aquaculture development is prohibited. I was lucky enough to speak to the board of inquiry about my opinions in the hearing and although I was not happy with the outcome, it was a great opportunity to gain experience in an area I am very interested in. When I am home, I love to do something tactile for a change like gardening, bush walks, carpentry and being out and about on the sea. I enjoy boarding at Nelson College and in the future I plan to study marine biology, ecology or biochemistry at university.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I decided I would like to apply to become a Green Youth MP because of the incredible opportunity it gives me to share my thoughts and hopefully gather other valuable points from like-minded teenagers who are likely to hold important leadership positions at certain points in the future. I would like to be able to show my disappointment with particular amendments in the RMA and help to suggest what I believe to be improvements, which would disallow corporate businesses to take advantage of delicate and pristine environments I believe should be managed in such a way that ensures their existence for future generations. Sustainability is a key focus for me and although 100% self-sustainability as a nation seems virtually impossible to many of us at the moment, it should be seen as an ultimate, long term goal that can be achieved with a bit of elbow grease and dedication.
Kaya Miriau – Denise Roche
School: Papakura High School, Auckland
Tell us a bit about yourself: Since I was 8 years old, a career in politics has always been an option. Mrs Halpin (Robin Halpin), my teacher at Miller Avenue School in Paeroa, planted the seed for my dreams of becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand. This was when Helen Clark became Prime Minister for her second term so I wrote a letter to congratulate her on the success. The fact that Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, had replied to my letter was unbelievably inspiring. I have attended one primary school and three different secondary schools. I spent 2 years at Paeroa College, 1 year at Massey High School and am now in my 2nd and final year at Papakura High School as a prefect. Music has become an important factor in my life – always there to get me through good times and bad. I have a passion for chemistry, which has encouraged me to go to university to pursue a career in science. Although my career choices have broadened over time and more options have become available, I believe that a politician is still in the line up for my future careers.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: 2013 is the first year I have heard about Youth Parliament so seeing as it is my last year at secondary school and I’ve always wanted to be involved with Parliament, I applied to become a Youth MP. I feel that this is the opportunity I need so I can get a perspective on what life as a politician can be like and help voice the public’s opinions. Talking and being a voice for others is something I’ve always done. I realize this can become highly annoying but I think I do it because everyone deserves to be heard and some people just can’t seem to get their views across. I’m hoping that being a Youth MP will help me progress with my people and political skills and maybe it will open my mind to new opinions. I wish to gain as much as I can out of this experience and hope that people do hear what we have to say.
Anchal Singh – Holly Walker
School: Wainuiomata High School, Wellington
Tell us a bit about yourself: I was born in Fiji and moved to Wellington with my family at the age of 1. I live with my parents, my older sister, a university student, and my younger sister, a high school student like myself. My family have gone through a lot of hardship since we came to Wellington, but we are aware that we are still better off than so many people in our own society, which I only became aware of in the past few years as I got to know how the real world works. This has made me an intelligent, calm but confident, happy, caring and thankful person. It also makes me a dreamer, because I dream that someday, everything for everyone will be okay, and I hope that I can be even a little part of that change. I enjoy cooking, painting, travelling, reading and spending time on the computer like most teenagers do these days. I LOVE spending my spare time with my family and friends, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have even thought about taking up this opportunity, I am very thankful for the unconditional support and love they provide me with. They make me try my best and work hard, they are the reason for all of my successes and for the ones to come.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I first heard about being a Youth MP from my friend. He told me we should take the opportunity because it would be good for our leadership skills (and it would look good on our CV and for University). At first I didn’t really want to, I mean I didn’t want to go anywhere near politics, but he still dragged me along and signed me up. Then that night I thought about how I could be a voice for the students around me, because there are people that have so many good ideas but don’t think that even our own local leaders will listen because of our ‘position’ in society. I want to make people aware that the government isn’t just different parties arguing, it’s about the people trying to make our society a better place for everyone including the youth. Even if we don’t get to vote, I want them to be aware that they can be heard. I chose to represent the Green Party because they treat their policies with equality, one isn’t more important than the other. I also want people to be aware that the Green Party isn’t just about the environment, though I do feel that not enough attention is paid towards the environment, but that the Green Party thinks about the country as a whole and show what exactly they have to offer NZ society.
George Moon – Julie Anne Genter
Organisation: University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Tell us a bit about yourself: Kia Ora. As a Youth MP I’m here to represent your views, but if you want to learn more about me, here’s a brief summary! I go to University of Canterbury, where I’m studying a BSc in computer science with a side of political science. Outside of uni, I enjoy many activities, but my favourites are tramping, skiing, the great outdoors, technology, playing instruments (ukuleles and pianos!) and conservation. I was born in Wellington, but moved to Christchurch a few months later where I have lived ever since. In the community I have helped out with Forest and Bird plantings, done voluntary rubbish clean ups, protested at the ‘Restore Our Democracy’ rally, participated in youth forums and other activities both at uni/school and in the wider community.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: Why Green? Well, the simple reason is that the party is the only one that has policies with intelligent solutions to issues that matter. I believe the Greens stand for a fair and equal society, with an economy that works with the environment, as opposed to abusing it for short term economic gain.
I decided to apply to be a Youth MP because I thought I would do a good job of representing the opinions of the people here, which is even more important after the denial of democracy in post EQ Christchurch. From this experience I aim to learn more about the parliamentary process and how this country runs, so I can make a positive difference to NZ both now and in the future. By the end of my tenure as a Youth MP I would hope that I could say that I fairly represented the hopes, thoughts and opinions of the people in my community and that my efforts, along with the 120 other Youth MPs, would be constructive and beneficial to the future of our country.
Dean Buckley – Mojo Mathers
School: Kelston Boy’s High School, Auckland
Tell us a bit about yourself: My name is Dean Buckley and I am a student. I was born profoundly (completely) deaf, I was raised by my parents and I am the only deaf person in my family. I live in Auckland with my parents, I am so thankful for having supportive parents that parent a child with special needs. I also have 4 siblings; 3 brothers and one sister. My family and I use sign language in simultaneous communication, instead of using New Zealand Sign Language, because it is my preference.
From the day I was born I have always had to fight hard, as I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital. My early milestones didn’t come naturally. I had to learn how to hold my head up at the age of 6 months old, sit at a year old, walk at 17 months old. I have had a lot of surgeries; the next surgery is on the 30th of April, just a day before my tenure as a Youth MP begins. So, it makes me realise how lucky I am to live in New Zealand. Anyway, I am a senior student (year 13) and currently studying at Kelston Boys’ High School. I am a current Deaf Provision student leader, Pastoral Prefect (KBHS), Senior Student Council Representative and Student Representative to the Combined Board of Trust for Kelston Deaf Education Centre (KDEC). I am doing level 2 and 3 NCEA this year; English, maths, physics, geography, graphics and arts. I also won 1st prize at the KDEC speech competitions last year.
Before I started my first physics class in high school, I was told that I will never be able to pass physics and I kept fighting, saying that I WILL NOT fail physics, so I successfully proved that they were wrong. I never say “I CAN’T” or “It is impossible to..…”, because these words are not in my dictionary. My everyday interests are reading, studying, watching news (including some politics, of course), spending time on the computer and chatting with friends. Outdoor sports: swimming, hiking, camping and golfing. But I don’t play sports very often. I am looking forward to accomplishing my dreams, goals and achievements, I want to be an architect (urban designer and planner) and landscape architect, I just want to do something I enjoy, not for money. Architecture is my passion and my inspiration is Noel Lane, architect. I would love to help people with special needs in the future, no matter who, because I want to show the world what kind of person I am and I don’t judge people as well. I also fully support the various types of sexual orientations, because I am gay and I am so grateful that marriage amendment bill has passed on the 17th of April 2013.
Why do you want to be a Youth MP and what do you want to get out of the experience?: I want to be a Green Youth MP this year because I want to show the world what deaf people are capable of, but it is not all about deaf people, it is about attitude. I want to have a chance to participate in the Youth Parliament this year because I would love to learn something new and gain experience in politics and study how politics works in the parliament. I also want to promote deaf awareness for our community, improve the accessibility for the people with disabilities, better education and rights for deaf and including other disabled students…etc. Thank you for your time in reading about me, I am looking forward to entering the Youth Parliament in July and meeting the Youth MPs. See you all there!