Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 9 October 2009 Contents LOCAL NEWS
Page 4 | 9 October, 2009
Fiordland College staved off tough
competition from 21 other secondary
school teams from throughut Southland
and Otago to take out the top spot in the
Get2Go challenge recently.
The SPARC-sponsored event was held in
Dunedin and involved a combination of
mountain biking, orienteering, kayaking and
various problem solving and strategising
skills. Restricted to teams from year 9 and
10 students, the event is run nationwide as
a series of regional finals with the winner of
each going on to contest the New Zealand
final. This will be held on Great Barrier
Island in the second week of December.
The Fiordland College team now face the
daunting task of training for the final as
well as fundraising the $800 each of them
will need for travel, accommodation, food,
entries and so on.
The first event was the mountain biking
which the local team cleaned up in the
snow, sleet and muddy conditions. They
then posted an extremely good result in
the orienteering leaving them very positive
about the final event, the kayaking. Here
the Fiordland team again showed their
outstanding all-round outdoor skills by
finishing equal top of this event and adding
it to an insurmountable score.
On Great Barrier Island they will face a week
of outdoor challenges that is now becoming
a feature among secondary schools.
Team coach Shaun Cantwell was not only
full of praise for his team but also the local
community for their input.
"This sort of result is not produced with a
few training sessions held just before the
event -- it really is a product of what this
team has been exposed to or learnt over
years and years.
"The efforts of the local Scouts, the
extensive Fiordland College outdoor
education programme, local sports clubs,
staff who trot team members around
various sports and families who expose
their children to these outdoor activities are
just some of learning experiences which
combine to produce this sort of success,"
"We do have a distinct advantage with
the natural wonder at our back door and
the type of local skills invested in to these
young people. Now we have to deal with our
only disadvantage -- the cost of travel to
The team competing was: Daniel Harper,
Grace Welsh, Ben Barrow, Reuben
McPherson, Jess Bird, Nick Cantwell, Logan
Black and Philip Crouchley with Marg Genge
Mention must also be made of Jude
Cantwell and Sue McKenzie who managed
last year's team -- the nucleus of this year's
-- and gave them valuable insight into this
straight to finals A former Fiordland College student says
she has her family to thank for a lifelong
interest in science that recently saw her
named runner-up in the New Zealand Young
Scientist of the Year award.
Dr Amy Whitehead said exploring the
Fiordland National Park with her family was
the catalyst to extend her knowledge of the
scientific world. And it was her work with the
Department of Conversation researching
the habitat, predators and breeding
patterns of the whio (blue duck) that led to
her Young Scientist of the Year runner-up
Amy said her family had a huge impact on
her becoming a scientist.
"We used to go running around the
(Fiordland) National Park and Dad (John)
would ask really strange questions," she
"He spent a lot of time trying to encourage
us to find out the answers to those
After finishing her studies at Fiordland
College, Amy gained a Bachelor of Science
degree at Otago University. She then
travelled to the University of Georgia in the
United States to study for her Masters then
returned to Te Anau where she spent two
summers and a winter working for DOC.
It was this research while working for DOC
that earned her the award and also her
an impact on
the birds and learning about their preferred
Amy's prize was $10,000 and an additional
travel prize to attend a conference of her
choosing in either New Zealand or Australia.
However there is a more important task to
undertake -- finding a job, one where she
will continue to use her scientific knowldege
to improve conservation.
She hopes to return to her hometown of Te
Anau eventually, but at the moment Amy
wants to explore further afield.
Her advice for those in Fiordland wanting to
help the conservation effort is to continue
the great work that is already happening
with trapping and killing of predators.
"That's probably the most practical thing
people can do."
No ducking on honours
By Karen Pasco
Fiordland College's victorious Get2Go team (from back left) deputy principal Shaun Cantwell, Philip
Crouchley, Daniel Harpur, Logan Black, Reuben McPherson, (front from left) Grace Welsh, Jess Bird,
Nick Cantwell and Ben Barrow.
Amy Whitehead at work in the Fiordland National Park.
PHOTO: Angus McIntosh
Dr Amy Whitehead
PHOTO: Simon Baker
The whio, or blue duck.
PHOTO: Amy Whitehead
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