Ready for an epic adventure

Former head boy and head girl of Howick College Ethan McCormick and Inka Pleiss will be a part of a small team on the Blake Expedition to the remote Kermadec Islands. Times photo Wayne Martin

She is terrified of sharks but can’t wait to swim with them.

Former Howick College scholars Inka Pleiss and Ethan McCormick can’t wait to take off on a Blake Expedition to the Kermadec Islands aboard HMNZS Canterbury.

Blake Expeditions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young New Zealanders to be part of an adventurous ocean voyage with the Royal New Zealand Navy. Delegates travel to remote and environmentally-significant areas such as the Kermadec and Sub-Antarctic Islands to explore the most remote and bio-diverse spots on the planet

Excited about swimming with sharks and discovering fish and birdlife they’ve never seen before, the Blake Expeditions provides an opportunity to learn from world-class scientists and environmentalists while undertaking research.

Former head girl of Howick College, Inka, is excited to embark on a voyage of discovery.

“Imagine sailing on a navy ship! I am so thrilled that I will be celebrating my 21st birthday on the expedition.

“Also, it will be interesting to see the impact we will have when we visit the Kermadec Islands despite people not living there. I can’t seem to talk about anything else these days,” says the sustainability- champion who has been advocating boomerang bags in supermarkets and reusable containers at food-courts to tackle plastic pollution.

In 2019, Inka managed to collect around 5700 signatures to `End plastic wraps for exam papers’ Petition to NZQA. Thousands of exam papers wrapped in biodegradable plastic wrap end up in landfill.

Ethan, a conservation assistant with Pest Free Howick, has been working on engaging with schools and community groups and laying rat traps at Mangemangeroa Reserve in Somerville – an area of ecological significance.

Talking about the adventure Ethan says, “It is an opportunity of a lifetime! It will be interesting to discover the history and find out what New Zealand would have been like 1000 years ago. I’m hoping we come across a new species of marine life.”

Both Inka and Ethan attended the Blake Inspire programme designed for young leaders with a passion for the environment and they give full credit to Neera Sundrum, Dean of Ingham House at Howick College, for encouraging them every step of the way.

Ethan says that from March 1-12 they will be learning, discovering and experiencing the wonders of an almost untouched ecosystem.

“I’ve created a Givealittle page that will go towards funding the trip and helping Blake NZ to continue their incredible mahi, inspiring people of all ages to love the environment and get empowered to protect it. For the   fundraising, I am running the distance from NZ to the Kermadecs which is approximately 730km.”

The Sir Peter Blake Trust is a non-profit organisation that honours Sir Peter Blake, the celebrated yachtsman (who led New Zealand to victory in America’s Cup) and his work by inspiring environmental education and leadership.

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/run-to-the-kermadecs-blake-expedition-2021