The purpose of the New Zealand Antarctic Youth Council is to open and strengthen communication channels, providing opportunities for New Zealand youth to engage with the diverse issues affecting Antarctica. The Council’s initial focus will be to facilitate the flow of knowledge to New Zealand youth, in support of its future goals around empowering today’s youth to have an impact on public policy decisions. These goals reflect the Council’s efforts to make the continent more accessible as a part of New Zealand’s national narrative and cultural heritage. Antarctica is a unique environment, so a unique approach to outreach – one that encompasses education, policy work and partnering with scientific organisations – is essential.

The Council hopes to achieve greater youth engagement around Antarctic and Southern oceans issues that affect New Zealand. This will involve facilitating a local youth conversation that explores creative and durable solutions to these issues, and collaborating internationally with groups that have similar concerns. It is hoped that this sharing of skills and resources internationally will help to inspire the creation of other environmental youth councils in places where such representation is lacking.

The NZAYC began as an initiative of the McGuinness Institute’s Project One Ocean. The McGuinness Institute continues to provide administrative, financial and advisory support for the Council. As the Council continues to grow, it will seek funding and support from other organisations as the need arises, and will work to establish partnerships with domestic and international agencies to promote its activities.


How you can be involved

  • The Organising Committee is continuously seeking to grow the community of young people committed to the sustainable long-term future of the Antarctic and to the protection of our shared Antarctic heritage. By becoming a member of the NZAYC, you will receive updates on the Committee’s work and invitations to the Council’s annual events. If you are interested in connecting with the Council or in joining as a member, please contact Chair Ngahuia Leighton at antarcticyouthnz@mcguinnessinstitute.org.
  • We are also looking for organisations that share our vision and that are interested in assisting or supporting the NZAYC. Such involvement could include the provision of financial support, venues, scientific expertise, guest speakers, or legal and marketing advice. Please contact Wendy McGuinness at antarcticyouthnz@mcguinnessinstitute.org to discuss this further.