Leading the way in building a Canterbury Inter-School Enviro Network

Our Youth Rōpū members are leading the way in building an inter-school enviro network for high school students in Christchurch.

So far, Youth Rōpū members Amanda Kennedy and Shelby Allan have hosted three hui/meetings, all held at our office on Tuam Street.

Shelby and Amanda, who are both year 12 students at Papanui High School, have been members of the Youth Rōpū since the start of last year. They were excited to create a way for environmentally minded rangatahi/young people to reconnect in person after a disruptive few years of online meetings and cancelled events.

Shelby explained that the idea for the network came from teenagers who contacted us.

"Other high school students told us they wanted a space to come together and talk about what we can do to improve sustainability at our schools," she said.

"We just thought, with the connections we have through the Youth Rōpū, that we can make it happen."

The network, aimed at increasing collaboration between young leaders in sustainability, has so far been joined by students from 15 schools, with many more who are keen to attend in future.

Amanda shared the main challenge of working across schools.

"There is no lack of passionate young people ready to work hard on environmental initiatives, and we all love to get together and meet people who are like us," she said.

"The hardest part is just finding times that work for people to attend. With school, work, drama, sports, youth councils, and everything else that we get involved with, we are all so busy!"

Goals for the future

Members of the network are exploring opportunities to work together on projects and events.

"All of our schools have different rules, schedules and levels of support for our enviro-groups, so it isn’t easy to organise something altogether," said Shelby.

"At the moment, we are thinking about events that we can run concurrently in our own schools and how we can work together to raise the profile of what we are doing, and encourage more young people to get involved."

The Youth Rōpū are also eager to spread the network through the region and are in the process of planning an event in Timaru for later in the year.

"Long term, we would love to have others from the network running these hui all over Canterbury/Waitaha. We are working on building up our network so that we can make this happen in a sustainable way," said Amanda.

If you are a high school student who would like to join the Inter School Enviro Network, please email us or follow the Youth Rōpū on Instagram to hear about upcoming events.