In August 2015 I received a phone call from United Nations Youth New Zealand saying I had been selected to represent New Zealand at the Harvard Model United Nations in Boston.
From the 14 New Zealand university students selected, I was the only one from Canterbury, which gave me the opportunity to represent UC at the conference alongside 3000 students from all over the world.
I represented Norway in the Disarmament and International Security committee at the conference, discussing issues in the Middle East.
In addition to the Model United Nations conference at Harvard, we embarked on an educational study tour. We visited San Francisco, Washington DC and New York, which gave us the opportunity to meet diplomats, political advisors and non-governmental organisations, and to learn about international relations and diplomacy.
We met with Helen Clark at the United Nations Headquarters in New York; visited New Zealand Embassies in each city; had meetings at the World Bank, US Senate, US House of Representatives and Global Fund for Women; and visited significant historical landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial in D.C and 9/11 Museum in New York. We also spent an afternoon exploring Castro in San Francisco, which is where the LGBT movement began in the US.
The trip really opened my eyes to the opportunities available within international relations and diplomacy. It inspired me to follow my goals and be the change I want to see in the world.
Well, I would like to personally attribute last week as ‘Apple Week’ for myself. I had the unique opportunity of traveling to San Francisco to attend Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (aka WWDC). Tickets to WWDC in the past have sold out in a matter of seconds and now are given out in a lottery. I was lucky enough to receive a ticket through my company. The experience for me was not only enlightening, but extremely unique and riveting.
I lined up at 2am for the Monday morning keynote. Thanks to that, I was able to have seats right up the front beside the media. Afterwards, I even got to say hi to Johnathan Ive (Apple’s chief designer) and also shake hands with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook – in addition to taking a selfie!
I spent the week attending multiple sessions with the very experts that make the apps we use on our Apple devices. I was able to show them the apps that I make, get feedback, fix problems and learn how to do some of the great new things that are coming soon. I even got to meet some of the team who look after the App Store and ask questions about what makes an app great.
It was really inspiring to hear from an executive at Marvel, who told us about the difference that we can make with the things we create. In addition to spending some time making some great friends from around the world, I even, well, flirted with danger.
I think this experience has been really inspiring for me as a University of Canterbury atudent. For a young entrepreneur and author, it has been an experience that was really worthwhile. Thanks to team at for the opportunity to share my amazing week.
In March earlier this year I was given the opportunity to go on Aoraki Bound, courtesy of the ARTS295 scholarship and a partnership between The University of Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. This meant a few weeks working as an intern at the Ngāi Tahu ‘glass palace’ and a few more weeks trying to get myself ready to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors.
And follow I did, from the revolving doors at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to the golden-sand beaches of Anakiwa. I climbed through the uppermost branches of a kahikatea forest, rowed my first waka and struggled with the logistics of digging a toilet trench on a bracken cloaked mountainside.
The internship was about showing me a place where Māori culture and tikanga could be normalised and enjoyed in an everyday work environment. Aoraki Bound taught a similar lesson at a school of much harder knocks, stressing the importance that Māori values like whanaungatanga could play in overcoming the constant challenges the course presented.
For twenty days I was a fish so far out of water I may as well have been allergic to the ocean but I managed every one of those footsteps with thirteen amazing people beside me, all equally as sleep deprived, sick of scroggin and culturally absorbed as I was. I couldn’t recommend the experience enough.