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Taking on the world

Maya Templer with her painting of Castlepoint, which has pride of place in the Kuranui College office. PHOTO/JAKE BELESKI

By Jake Beleski

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Kuranui College’s Maya Templer has given plenty to her school and community, and that dedication has led to the opportunity of a lifetime.

In August, the 16-year-old Year 12 student will head to the United World College (UWC) in Changshu, China, on a UWC World Scholarship.

She will remain there for two years as she studies an International Baccalaureate Diploma, their equivalent of NCEA levels 2 and 3.

She is one of only five New Zealand students selected in 2017 to attend one of the 17 UWC schools around the world.

“Originally, I didn’t get in,” she said.

“The school in China didn’t have enough girls put forward, so they came back to the committee and I was next on the list, so it was pretty lucky.”

Miss Templer was excited about the opportunities that may come up because of the scholarship.

“It’s an amazing experience because two thirds of the school are international, and one third is Chinese.

“You have to learn to get on with people from completely different cultures and backgrounds.”

The motto of UWC was to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future, she said.

“I think they want people that go there to become the leaders of the future.

“It will be challenging being constantly around people, and having extra academic pressure on you, but it’s something I’m excited about as well.”

Her interests include media and why people are mainly interested in issues that affect them “right now”, and she hoped getting a world-renowned education would open up possibilities in the future.

“I’m interested in how I can convey messages about climate change and other environmental issues that don’t necessarily affect people right now, but will at some stage.”

Travelling at a young age runs in the family, as her mother went to New York to follow her passion for dancing, and was “very supportive” of her upcoming adventure.

UWC New Zealand national committee member, Ben Nistor, said they were particularly impressed with Miss Templer’s involvement in the life of both her school and local community.

That included her publishing of a mini-comic (zine), which she distributed each week at Kuranui College to challenge people’s thinking and spark conversations on serious issues.

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