Prime Day for a Plant with the PM

Hey everyone, apologies for not posting in so long. It’s been a busy few months.

First off, a bit of news. The Kids Greening Taupo Blog has been renamed The Greening Report. We thought that a modern, snappy name would sound better.

On May 6th, Kids Greening was given the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, Bill English. Local MP and National Whip Louise Upston attended as well.


The event was very informal compared to what I was expecting. Mr English was very laid-back and down to earth, which was surprising. It reminded me a lot of meeting the now ex-Governor General, Sir Jerry Mateperae, last year. Both men are charismatic, friendly, and down-to-earth. Some of us expected to meet an uptight man who was just there for the photo op—that wasn’t who we met at all.

A Tauhara College student, India Wiltsher, handled being put on the spot with questions from Mr English with ease. I prepared a speech, which I had the honour of presenting to The Right Honourable.

Mr English also helped plant trees. He admired our hands-on approach. When the younger children got stuck into the planting, he joked, “Now this is what I call delegation.”

India enjoyed the event. “I thought it was amazing, actually. Not just meeting the Prime Minister, but also being able to plant trees. You could see that we’re actually doing something. The Prime Minister being there and supporting it made me think that what we’re doing here really is important. The fact that he bent down and got his hands dirty was really cool.”

Our co-ordinator Thea Depetris had this to say about the event: “My most special moment was just seeing how the student leaders rolled with how the event happened. They made the best of the opportunity. They were the shining stars.”

Below is a transcript of my speech.

“First of all, may I just say how deeply honoured and privileged I feel to have the opportunity to speak with you today.

My first interaction with Kids Greening Taupo was two years ago, when my science teacher asked if I wanted to take part in a course in web design. I had no idea what Kids Greening Taupo was, what it stood for, who was involved, or even that it existed. I simply wanted to meet with someone who could teach me how to design a website.

But ever since then, I’ve grown to throughly enjoy the programme. As the Senior Reporter for our blog, The Greening Report, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many other interesting people. I’ve met our Member of Parliament, Louise Upston, our Mayor, David Trewavas, the ex-Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateperae, the Ambassador for Threatened Species, Nicola Toki, and many others, including you today.

I don’t know whether meeting all these government figures is foreshadowing something, but I certainly hope it is, as I hope to pursue a career in law and government. Talking with these people is what I love most about Kids Greening Taupo—it gives me the feeling that even I have a role to play. The programme has taught me that conservation isn’t just a one man job. DOC can only do so much. Kids Greening has shown me that it takes many different people, from the people with power like yourself, to volunteers planting trees, to teenagers like me who never would have joined the programme myself, to make a difference.

Whoever said that adults were the only ones who could make a difference in this world? We all live on this planet. This country is all of ours to look after. Everyone has a unique set of skills that makes them intrinsically valuable to our effort. I suppose it’s like government. You are incredibly important, but so are your Ministers. So are the backbenchers, the opposition, the interns, the researchers. Everyone has a part to play, both in government, and at home.

That’s what Kids Greening Taupo is all about to me. Both ordinary and extraordinary people working together to bring nature back. Thank you.”

Ash Stephens