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Leading from the front

May 29, 2017
By Rowan Milburn

Luna-May Hart is a Hagley Year 13 student with big dreams.

As I interview Luna-May, her passion for all things environment rubs off on me, a little. So much so I spend the next half an hour googling Maui dolphins and Judith Collins. Maui dolphins, as I now know, are indigenous to New Zealand and there are a total of 63 left. Judith Collins because one of her portfolios is energy and resources and, as Luna-May informed me, she is responsible for the decision to free up 35% of New Zealand waters for drilling and commercial fishing. Anyway…

A bit of history. Luna-May came to Hagley at the beginning of 2016 from Christchurch Girls High School. She spent the first year here flying under the radar, doing the right thing and studying hard. In September, the opportunity to apply to be the student representative on the Board of Trustees came around. Luna-May’s application came in at the eleventh hour. I guess it was meant to be as she won by the narrowest of margins and gained the responsibility of being the student voice for her peers.

In our interview, Luna-May reflected on the role so far and said how much she has learnt about the language of education and how she has appreciated her opinion being valued amongst the other members of the Board. She also reflected that she never really appreciated what goes on behind the scenes in a school. What the role has done for Luna-May is it has established her love of leadership. As a young girl, Luna-May recognised that she was a bit bossy really. This bossiness turned into leadership when given direction through a role or job.

So where has this leadership led her? Well, to the Seychelles actually. A group of islands off Somalia and Kenya. Luna-May’s latest accomplishment is being awarded an internship through the app Goodwall, to the Seychelles for six weeks. She went through an application process after she saw the internship on the opportunities tab of the app. It went well and she was awarded the internship in environmental science. Her role will include a lot of surveying, tagging lemon sharks and monitoring turtles. In January, this will be breeding season so there will be eggs to monitor and move to safe territory. It will be a busy time; Luna-May will return for her first lecture on completion of the internship. She plans to be studying at the University of Canterbury doing environmental science alongside biological science.

I asked Luna-May where she saw herself in 10 years. She said, without missing a beat, that she will be working in conservation awareness in New Zealand, possibly in marine life.

I don’t doubt she will make it. This is a head-strong ambitious young lady with a real passion for the environment. I feel confident that with young people like Luna-May leading the charge in conservation awareness that we might just get somewhere close to looking after this slice of paradise that is Aotearoa.

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