Abel Tasman student gains valuable experience from youth observer role


Motueka High School student and Project Janszoon Board Observer Lucy Summerfield has been on quite a journey since applying to be an Abel Tasman Youth Ambassador at the end of her year 10.

Lucy, 17, has spent a fair bit of time in the park with family and friends but said that grabbing the opportunity to take a more hands‑on role with park restoration was well worthwhile.

Lucy was born in Christchurch, in an urban environment, but credits an early experience of school‑based conservation  in Nelson as igniting her interest in science and data.

Later on, the Project Janszoon Youth Ambassador programme at Motueka High School became an outlet for that interest and Lucy said that being able to contribute in a practical way has been very important to her.

“It’s made me think about what the issues are, and how we can contribute to solving them. I am much more aware of the consequences of my actions.”

Lucy was then offered the opportunity to be a youth representative on Project Janszoon’s Board, through a scheme organised by Big Brothers Big Sisters to give young people governance experience. Lucy says that through her time on the board, which will finish at the end of 2022, she has been amazed at how much is done at the governance level.

“It’s very practical and grounded, lots of data and science, which I love and then decision making, try‑ ing to find the best outcomes.”

Lucy also says that Project Janszoon’s connections—with schools, iwi, DOC and other organisations—have made her aware of just how important a partnership approach can be to achieving goals.

“The whole experience has given me clarity on how programmes like this are run, how they make decisions and how governance processes work to make things happen on the ground. “The issues are always changing, and now I have the confidence to sit at the table with the directors and question things from my perspective, and to have my voice heard. It’s been an empowering experience.”

Lucy is heading off to do a degree in Commercial Music at Massey University, and we wish her the best of luck with her studies.


This story features in Project Janszoon’s 2021-22 Annual Report. You can read the full report here

Girl in blue t-shirt standing by water with grasses behind.
Project Janszoon Board Youth Observer Lucy Summerfield. Image: Caroline Crick

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