Matthew Kai Flower

"My most poignant memories of doing the Duke of Edinburgh programme were doing the adventurous journeys; of our trials and triumphs as we tramped through our beautiful national parks - the struggles of climbing towering bluffs, conquering the cold, navigating the backcountry, the camaraderie of evening card games, and reaching the next hut at the end of a long day."

Matthew attended and completed his Gold Award with Kristin School. Through the Award he has had the opportunity to forge many new friendships, and has "develop an authentic sense of humour that can only come from the type of character building that goes on in the great outdoors". The whole Award programme has been rewarding to him. In Matthews words, doing Gold has "encouraging me to learn new things, meet some incredible people, and feel an immense feeling of satisfaction from contributing to society. Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award has meant a lot to me, and I'm very glad that I got involved." This is what he got involved when doing his award:

  • Service: Citizenship Education Project
  • Adventurous Journey: in the Lake Waikaremoana area
  • Skill: Chinese Lessons
  • Physical Recreation: Badminton and Orienteering
  • Residential: Millennium Youth Camp in Finland

You can read a little more about Matthew's experience with his Service project and Residential trip below:

Citizenship Education Project:

The Citizenship Education Project was run by myself and two other IB (International Baccalaureate) students at Kristin School as part of our service activities. I had a large part in organising and promoting the activities, and aiding my team-mates in making decisions and running the events. Our goal was to encourage young people like ourselves to be more engaged and knowledgeable about political issues and the political system in New Zealand. We ran a range of initiatives within Kristin and the community, including workshops for senior students on how the political process operates, interactive sessions with Kristin Junior School classes, a mock election debate, and our flagship event - Politics Challenge. Politics Challenge - see photo - gave teams of students the opportunity to come up with their own political party and campaign platform. The idea was for them to decide what their candidate believed in and wanted to advocate for. Throughout the day, teams presented their candidates in a variety of challenges, such as creating a manifesto and participating in a moderated debate.

Millennium Youth Camp, Finland:

The Millennium Youth Camp, held in Helsinki, Finland, brought together 60 young people from around the world. I was selected as one of six members of the urban planning group - one of two students chosen to attend from New Zealand. One of the camp's main goals was to encourage discussion and research into how science and technology could contribute to sustainability across our societies. My urban planning team took on the project of designing a revitalisation plan for one of Helsinki's university campuses, to enhance its sustainability, utility, and spatial character. Another special part of the camp was being exposed to so many cultures and perspectives from around the world; my room-mate was Turkish, my team-members from Brazil, the U.S, the Ukraine, and the Czech Republic, and I made new friends from 24 other countries. It was a truly special and rewarding experience.

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