Jorim-Paul Philips. PC - Brendan O'Hagan.

5 April, 2018. Samoa – Young Samoan, Mr Jorim-Paul Philips, is the first ever Pacific islander invited to take part in the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands last month.

“It was an honour and a privilege for me to be able to firstly, be invited, and secondly be supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to be part of this expedition,” said Jorim-Paul, now a science student at the National University of Samoa.

The Young Blake Expeditions is part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust, it takes young New Zealanders to participate in scientific, environmental and heritage restoration projects throughout New Zealand, the Southern Ocean, the Sub-Antarctic islands, and Antarctica.

In 2016, Jorim-Paul formed The Envirobassadors in Samoa, coordinating multiple clean-ups and environment projects in Samoa, he was one of two Samoans representing the nation at the Youth Environment Leadership Forum in 2017, an initiative by the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

“As a budding environmentalist, this has been like a dream come true. It was through this opportunity that I took part in things I have never done before, it has driven and stirred my desire to work in this field to help protect our environment.”

From 26th February to 9th March this year, Jorim-Paul voyaged as part of the expedition on HMNZS Canterbury. He took part in a range of activities, including the collection of different organisms such as seaweed and plankton, videoing underwater as part of recording what they see, and cataloging species in the waters of the Kermadec islands, during the science expedition with other students.

“The experience also saw us have a feel of what it may be like in the New Zealand Navy! As we were on board the HMNZS Canterbury we also undertook chores when we weren’t taking part in research that day, it was a real lesson for me!” said Jorim-Paul.

The Kermadec Islands Nature Reserve and Marine Reserve is a 620,000 square-kilometre ocean sanctuary encompassing the five Kermadec islands which lie halfway between the Bay of Plenty and the Kingdom of Tonga.

“One thing I have personally learnt from doing this is just how much we have affected our environment, and how when you take the time to really care for something, it grows and flourishes into the way our environment should be,” said Jorim-Paul.

“This is something I would like to do more, and also work with others so that we can all take better care of our environment, appreciate and value our environment.”

The Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands allowed for the selected participants to work with leading scientists, subject experts, educators, communicators and leaders from all walks of life to contribute to scientific research and outreach projects, and to be part of the continuing legacy of Sir Peter Blake.

There were 18 student voyagers and 23 crew members as part of the expedition to the Kermadec Islands on board HMNZS Canterbury, for which student voyagers participated in a daily blog sharing their experiences.

For more information on the Young Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands visit: https://sirpeterblaketrust.org/kermadec-voyage-2018

Source: SPREP

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