Te Arawa student to set foot in Antarctica

By Jessica Tyson
Lana Kiddie-Vai. Source: Te Ao Māori News 

In less than a day Māori student Lana Kiddie-Vai, of Te Arawa, will be on her way to the Antarctic Peninsula.

The 16-year-old was chosen along with fellow Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate student Mele Fetu'u and four others for a 10-day trip, organised by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

To be chosen for the trip, the students had to apply with a letter to the trust saying why they thought they were the best candidates to go.

"I just wrote about my love for science and also because it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing that nobody around me does or ever thought about doing," says Lana.

"I'll be the first person in my family to do something like this so it's a pretty good opportunity."

Lana Kiddie-Vai. Source: Te Ao Māori News 

A total of 340 applications were made to go on the trip and trust member Gerschen van Niekerk says the letters written by Lana and Mele were “outstanding because they just really wanted to challenge themselves and get a different perspective on life.”

Lana says she wanted to take part in the adventure to inspire her whānau and to do something out of their comfort zone.

"Especially because I have little sisters and little siblings as well so I want to help them to learn to do something that they're not used to." 

During the trip, the students will have a chance to kayak around icebergs with Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson and explore the environment, following in the footsteps of the legendary polar explorer Sir Edmund Hillary.

“They’ll be capturing images and footage of Antarctica and going out on the kayak, writing down stories,” says Niekerk.

Lana says the group will leave Auckland for Antartica on Saturday evening.

"Right now I'm really excited but I'm getting so scared at the same time.  I don't know how I'm going to feel tomorrow as well."

Lana says she's mostly scared about getting too cold but luckily she's packed enough clothing to keep her warm.

"A whole lot of jackets and jumpers, but they're mostly a lot of thermals."

Lana is ready to go with her gears. Source: Te Ao Māori News