Hamish Lilley (17) is getting ready for his expedition to
the Auckland Islands. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A Dunedin teenager is searching for his sea legs after
being selected to join a team of environmental scientists on a
Young Blake Expedition to the subantarctic to start planning
for a new ''world-leading'' climate-change research station.
Otago Boys' High School year 12 pupil Hamish Lilley is one of
12 secondary school pupils from around New Zealand who will
journey to the Auckland Islands in February, to a region
identified as critical for studying the effects of climate
Although he is delighted about the expedition, he is a little
worried about the eight days he will spend in notoriously
rough seas aboard HMNZS Wellington.
''I've been out on fishing boats and spent some time looking
at the inside of a bucket,'' he said.
''I've never spent an extended period of time on a ship and
I'm sure it will be an eventful first day and night.''
Despite his concerns about seasickness, he was looking
forward to seeing the Auckland Islands and their inhabitants
for the first time.
The group was expected to spend up to five days on the
Hamish said he was inspired to study the environment by Sir
Edmund Hillary and his 86-year-old grandfather, with whom he
shared a love of the outdoors.
Sir Peter Blake Trust programme director Hannah Prior said
the pupils were selected for their natural leadership ability
and for having led environmental projects and initiatives.
''Their role on the expedition will be to help draft a
feasibility study for the establishment of a research
station, which will allow local and international agencies to
work collaboratively on integrated climate and marine science
programmes in the subantarctic.
''In 2015, a second group of young leaders - this time joined
by New Zealand's Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae - will
return to help build the station,'' she said.
The establishment of the research station will provide new
access for researchers implementing the Deep South National
Science Challenge, one of 10 National Science Challenges
being launched by the Government over the next two years.
The station will also help direct and support conservation of
the World Heritage site.
New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute director and Blake
leader Prof Gary Wilson will join the 22-strong expedition
crew, which will include representatives from Niwa and the
Department of Conservation.
The expedition is expected to depart from Auckland on
February 10 and return to Bluff by February 23, 2014.