In essence this is the speech I delivered, I say in essence as I do change things as I speak, add or emit stuff randomly.
In reality we are all change makers, everything we do has an impact on the environment is some way, positive or negative. As te awanui, the great river, flows over the land, it touches all of us and our lives. In return we touch it, use it, change it, where it flows, what it can be used for, how it’s managed. We become the river, and that river, that environment becomes a reflection on us, our environmental policies and environmental counscience.
This is all stuff I became aware of after being part of the MAD programmes. I now proud myself on my ability to speak but ire ally struggled with words before January 2013, my first MAD Marine camp. I often used to joke that In year 9 I was mute. I didn’t really have passion for anything, I was conscience of the environment but I didn’t consider myself an environmentalist. I lead the environmental group at Rodney College but that that may or may not have been because iw as the only member for 2 and a half years.
At MAD I discovered my passion for the environment, partuclary marine conservation, water quality, marine mammals, ship strikes, and I discovered I was learning things my biology teacher struggled to explain, basically anything sciency and it became my new thing, sedimentation, nitrification, bio accumulation, we did an English unit about man’s relationship with nature and I’m pretty sure my teacher considered kicking me out on more than one occasion.
I found that I had something to talk about. And I haven’t really stopped. I set up a blog, ignore that jellyfish costume, 5 days after returning from MAS which now has over 100,000 page views from countries all around the world. And I was lucky enough to return to MAD Marine as a student leader in 2014 and leader of leaders in 2015. The MAD programme grew my confidence exponentially, the proof is I’m up here in front of you today about to embark on tertiary study where my eventual goal in life is to simply change the world.
Cue Matiu/Somes island, a 2 square km, pest free wildlife haven with up to 13 ferries a day. A biosecurity nightmare but then you remember how wonderful it is you even have to conduct biosecurity checks. That this place exists so close to the city yet we always felt so isolated. 8km from wellington, so close but so far away, and its similar with all the islands up here in the Hauraki Gulf as well. I saw all kinds of people, all kinds of outfits for a day exploring an island, all kinds of opinions and thoughts and ideas about the place, about conservation and about our future.
So to end I ask you this, if little known jewels of paradise like Matiu/Somes are reflecting positive impacts on the environment, then what is to stop us exploring new ways or expanding this reflection? The conversations are some of the most inspiring I've ever been part of, all we need is conversation, all we need is to talk to each other, inspire and educate. It will sometimes be hard, there will be criticisism and metaphorical brick walls, but we always find a way. And that’s not impossible, nothing is impossible. Doctor Who is full of inspiration gems. The Doctor once said – Bumblebees, aerodynamically impossible for them to fly but they do, I'm rather fond of bumblebees.
So my question to you is, What is to stop us doing the impossible?