NZ Youth ambassadors among 13 nations on special voyage

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

A group of New Zealand youth ambassadors has been selected to board a charter ship that will take them around the world, the aim of the trip is to build future leaders.  Thirteen nations will be represented on the seven-week voyage.

It's a trip of a lifetime for these young people.

Te Oranga Witehira (Ngāpuhi) says, "Myself and 11 other delegates from all around Aotearoa who have been specifically chosen, we're off to Japan, Tokyo to start a six-week voyage with 12 other nations.  We are meeting the other 12 nations when we arrive there today."

The voyage was organised by the Japanese government and its main goal is for those taking part to discuss common issues affecting youth.

Ruth Smith (Te Aitanga a Māhaki) says, "We will bring awareness and discuss issues we all face as young people around the world.  There will be delegations from all over. New Zealand is involved this year, Australia and many more."

This year's New Zealand delegation is culturally diverse.  It includes Indian, Chinese and Pakistani members along with three Māori.

"We've got a very diverse group representing New Zealander as such, so we are taking our Māoritanga, we're taking a whole lot of skills and attributes throughout our whole delegation.  We're also known as the mediators and the middle delegation to link all the other delegations as well," explains Witehira.

Once they arrive in Japan, the group will then travel on the ship to Singapore, India and Sri Lanka, before returning home.