Chosen few get trip of lifetime
Craig Smith has wisdom and humility beyond his 16 years.
Little over a year after losing his father in the February 22 earthquake, the St Thomas of Canterbury College year 13 pupil has been selected for a leadership course to some of the world's most remote islands.
Craig has been chosen from 230 pupils to travel to the Kermadec Islands, about 800 kilometres north of New Zealand, on the inaugural Young Blake Expedition.
The expedition was announced in December on the 10th anniversary of yachtsman Sir Peter Blake's death.
Craig, along with 30 pupils from around the country, will spend 11 days in August tagging sharks, sampling dolphin DNA and monitoring plankton.
He credits his hard-working attitude to his father, Christopher Smith, "a hard man".
"I just think you have to move on. You never forget them but have to move forward with living life, not living for the past," he said.
"I didn't expect to be chosen to go. The selection process was hard work. We had to submit a CV, essays and application letters. We really had to work for it."
Visits to the subtropical arc of islands are restricted to scientists and conservationists.
Craig must undergo two days of quarantine before setting sail on August 8 aboard HMNZS Canterbury.
Sir Peter Blake Trust chief executive Shelley Campbell said it had been an "incredibly tough job" choosing the final 30.
"Sir Peter would be proud to see the superb calibre of the chosen students. He would no doubt recognise a little bit of himself in their can-do attitude and passion for the environment around them," she said.