Young photographer's pic of Sumner beach clean up recognised

Rangi Ruru Girls’ School student Claudia O’Shannessey’s photo highlighting sustainability. Photo:...
Rangi Ruru Girls’ School student Claudia O’Shannessey’s photo highlighting sustainability. Photo: Claudia O’Shannessey ​
Claudia O’Shannessey’s passion for protecting the environment has resulted in the year 13 student taking out one of the top spots at an international competition.

The Rangi Ruru Girls’ School student’s photo, Sustainable Surfer Seeks Waste at Sumner, came second out of nearly 200 entries at the annual young reporters for the environment global competition.

The competition gives young people a platform to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography and video journalism.

Said Claudia: "When I first found out I was pretty ecstatic.

"It felt like a huge privilege to represent New Zealand and to get such an outstanding result world wide to me is one of my greatest achievements.”

"I entered because I wanted a way to make a difference whilst pursuing my passion and using my strengths.”

Claudia was one of three New Zealand students who won awards in the litter less campaign category, with entries related to the topic of litter and waste.

Her photo, which was placed in the photography 15-18 years category, features her younger sister, Sienna, collecting waste on Sumner beach.

Claudia O'Shannessey.
Claudia O'Shannessey.
The “huge” sunrise represented the start of a new day and symbolised the start of something new, or change.

“You can clearly see her silhouette where she is eagerly dragging the trash bin in order to make a change. Small acts matter," she said.

“She’s a surfer from Sumner who is protecting what she cares about and ultimately fixing something she didn’t cause.”

Sustainability was something the student held close to her heart as it determined the future of her generation and beyond.

“I am proud of my Maori heritage and I wanted this photo to capture the powerful essence of our land and water as taonga (treasures), and our spiritual connection to our land, Papatuanuku,” she said.

“It worries me when thinking about the consequences of climate change and our changing earth, however, I believe it’s not too late to make a difference.”

When Claudia leaves school she plans to continue harnessing her creative energy into projects where she can make a change.

“My goals for the near future are to study law whilst expanding my photography and creative skills,” she said.

“I hope to gain a degree where I can use my education and talents to bring attention and raise awareness to issues that affect our youth and the future of our world.”






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