Zone committee’s passionate youth member

A passionate debater and advocate for the voices of tomorrow is the second member of the Youth Rōpū to be formally co-opted to a water zone committee.

Oscar Bloom, a 16-year-old St Andrew's College student and Chair of our Youth Rōpū, has attended Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee meetings since September 2019 and is now a youth representative for the zone.

The Youth Rōpū is a group of 16 young people aged 14-24, enthusiastic about the environment and empowering young people across Waitaha/Canterbury.

They ensure the voices of young people are heard by decision-makers and our staff.

Young people creating change

Oscar Bloom on a boat

Oscar enjoying a recent holiday 

The announcement of Oscar’s appointment follows on from Erana Riddell’s inclusion as a youth representative on the Banks Peninsula Water Zone Committee in February.

Having been inducted formally in May, Oscar has had time to get his feet under the desk and reflect on the importance of his role on the Committee.

“I’m lucky to be around that table influencing decision making and being a voice for outcomes that value the future and lives of young people,” he said.

“The streams we swim in, mountains we trek, forests we camp in are all so important to the Kiwi way of life.

“If they deteriorate and if our environmental practices continue the way they are, then generations in the future will experience a radically different environment to the one we have today,” Oscar said.

Passion for regeneration

Oscar’s passion for protecting and enhancing the environment comes from experiencing some of it first-hand and wanting to preserve those experiences for generations to come.

He said one of the best accomplishments of the Rōpū was getting young people involved in the Christchurch West Melton and Banks Peninsula Water Zone Committees.

“Our best accomplishments, in my eyes, include securing youth representation in the new terms of reference for water zone committees around Canterbury. We also put together some insightful feedback for the Annual Plan process,” he said.

“I’m also proud of the active participation the group has in Environment Canterbury’s decision making. That has stemmed from consistent hard work by every member of our team,” Oscar said.

Sights set on the future

Now that goal has been ticked off, Oscar said he’s keen to see real progress when it comes to safeguarding the precious assets of the region.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing freshwater regeneration – not just sustaining the status quo, which is what we’re seeing at the moment.

"I also want to find ways to cut through bureaucracy and ask questions that are free from bias, vote for outcomes that help future generations, and knock down barriers for young people,” he said.

Learn more about the Committee

The Christchurch West Melton Water Zone Committee is a joint committee of Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council and Environment Canterbury.

The Committee’s role is to work with the community to develop actions and tactics to deliver their goals for freshwater as reflected in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (CWMS).

The Committee meets monthly and members of the public are welcome to attend. For further information, see when and where the next meeting is.