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''But when you don't even apply for it, it really is a huge surprise.''
The 17-year-old Logan Park High School pupil received a letter from the Royal Society of New Zealand this week, telling him he had been selected along with four other science pupils from around the country, to attend the World Science Conference in Jerusalem, in August.
It came as a shock for Mathew because he had not applied for it. Rather, he had applied for the International Youth Science Forum to be held in London later this year.
Royal Society of New Zealand project manager Debbie Woodhall said the society was only notified of the Israel conference opportunity last week, and five pupils had to be selected at very short notice.
''We were very lucky to have a number of senior secondary students who had applied for other international opportunities and who were very close to being selected in the previous round.''
Mathew was not worried in the least about not going to London.
The Jerusalem trip would be the opportunity of a lifetime, he said.
''The World Science Conference is better.
''Jerusalem is a lot more exotic than London, and I get to listen to 20 Nobel Laureates.
''They are at the cutting edge of science - the top of the top.''
All accommodation for the two week trip is paid for, and 80% of flight costs are paid by the society and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.
Mathew said he was planning a career in science, and the trip would be a good opportunity to see what life as a scientist would be like.
He had received excellence endorsements for five of the six subjects he studied in NCEA level 2 last year, and he also received an NZQA Scholarship in statistics.
Scholarship exams are usually sat by to NCEA level 3 pupils.
He plans to study physics and biochemistry at the University of Otago next year.