Tararua's Hannah Field plans to spread the voice of young New Zealanders to an international audience when she travels to the Netherlands to take part in a youth United Nations.
The 16-year-old Tararua College schoolgirl is one of 22 Kiwi students selected to attend The Hague International Model United Nations in January next year.
She is looking forward to seeing Europe, as the trip also includes travelling to Geneva, Paris, Berlin and Brussels.
“It will be amazing,” she says.
Hannah was selected after taking part in the New Zealand Model UN summit in Wellington during the July school holidays.
At the summit, students discussed world issues, including race and gender inequality, child soldiers, the death penalty and Syria.
“It was a fantastic experience,” she said. “There were all these passionate, strong speakers there. Everyone was really friendly.”
Hannah was part of a delegation representing Algeria.
“Algeria is the biggest country in Africa. They're really progressing with gender equality - like getting women to be more equal.”
All the New Zealand delegates will receive training before being unleashed on the international conference.
Despite being faced with the daunting task of discussing world issues with young people from places far bigger than Pahiatua or Woodville, Hannah says she is not nervous.
“I'm really competitive. I want to get my voice heard,” she says.
But she's not getting too excited as there is still a lot of fundraising to do before she can go.
“We need to raise $7500,” she says. “So that's a lot.”
Hannah has been applying for grants, but most are not confirmed until the end of the year.
“We're trying local businesses, councils, everywhere looking for sponsorship.”
She says she is not opposed to wearing a sponsored T-shirt on the trip or around town.
Hannah says she was surprised to be selected as she had no previous experience with the Model UN.
“But then I thought that not everyone is really into learning about people.”
Hannah is also involved as a leader in Students Against Drink Driving, her school forum, and stage challenge. She works part-time as a receptionist at a law firm.
“So, yeah, I'm really pushed for time."
There are also NCEA level 2 exams to look forward to, which Hannah admits to being nervous about.
“I have six exams this year, so that's really intense.”
Hannah is unsure about what she wants to do in the future, but is considering law.
“It's hard to decide . . . I'm really into human-rights stuff. I want to be overseas trying to make a difference.”
So does Hannah think she can change the world?
“We all can. You have to look at why you're changing things, then how, then what.”
- © Fairfax NZ News
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