As Sir Peter Blake once said: "The hardest part of any big
project is to begin."
In April, I was chosen to represent Kaikorai Valley College
at the Sir Peter Blake Youth Environmental Forum in Auckland,
and one of the highlights was not just getting to experience
the forum, but the lesson on how to start big things.
I believe that it will help me, and others, to achieve our
The forum is run every year and aims to bring young people
from around New Zealand to discuss environmental issues and
One of the highlights of attending the forum was seeing a
whole different side to New Zealand.
Although I had been snorkelling and diving in Dunedin, the
abundance of life I got to witness first hand at the marine
reserves, such as around the pristine Poor Knights Islands,
was truly awe-inspiring.
Then to learn that a reserve was set up by students our own
age, and seeing exactly how they set about doing it, gave me
a lot of motivation to change something that I had never
really thought we were missing down here in Otago.
So learning about proactive ways to make huge and vital
changes to my own community, meeting forum leaders who have
turned their wishes into reality with hard work and
perseverance, and also seeing the fruition of this dedication
not just by scientific statistics but by seeing the whole
thing with my own eyes - that was the best part of the whole
I came home absolutely bursting with enthusiasm.
I realised that I could make a difference and start a change.
Now I have steps to follow and some wonderful new friends.
I do believe there is no stopping us in creating a local
Bringing 50 of New Zealand's young environmental leaders
together was fun and also showed how flexible and adaptable
leaders have to be.
We were all used to being the leader back in our own
communities, but most of us soon realised that when you have
a group of people together, all of us had to be as good a
follower as a leader.
This made me realise that leadership is not about who has the
loudest voice. It is about the people that weigh up the team
and see what needs to be done to better help and support the
By Injy Johnstone, Year 12, Kaikorai Valley College