Well-known Kiwis to lead at Ōtaki Camp

Mike Joy, Dean Baigent-Mercer, and Marnie Prickett are just some of the well-known environmentalists who will be leading outdoor adventures in forests, mountains, and rivers near Ōtaki this January.

The trips have been organised as part of Ōtaki Summer Camp, a three day political summer camp where young people who care about Aotearoa’s future will discuss the most pressing issues facing our country.

“New Zealand has had a long history of political summer camps for young New Zealanders that stretches back to the late 1940s. The outdoor experiences have always been a big part of that and we want to make sure the tradition continues.” says Ōtaki Summer Camp spokesperson Kimberley Collins.

“Getting outdoors and into nature with experienced guides gives people another opportunity to learn about New Zealand’s amazing wildlife and wild places, as well as time to reflect on the ideas and discussions they have had throughout the camp.”

Mike Joy is a freshwater scientist and campaigner who has received national honours for speaking out about the state of our rivers and lakes and was recently announced as a finalist for New Zealander of the Year. His research focuses on the ecology and distribution of freshwater fish and their habitats. He will be joined by Marnie Prickett, a leading freshwater campaigner. She leads Choose Clean Water, an ongoing campaign to encourage action on the challenges facing our rivers. Together, they will teach people about the ecology of our rivers and how they are being degraded by increased land use and a lack of protection.

Dean Baigent-Merceris a long time conservationist and environmentalist who has been described as New Zealand’s dread-locked version of David Attenborough with attitude. Dean recently lead a Forest & Bird campaign to raise awareness about the collapsing state of the forests in Northland, as well as the Native Forest Action campaign to stop native forests from being logged on the West Coast around 20 years ago. He will be leading a hike into the Tararua Ranges where he will talk about the ecology of our native forests, as well as the impact that introduced predators have on their survival.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager is also leading one of the tramping groups up a wild gorge in the Tararua mountains.

Ōtaki Summer Camp will run from 19 – 23 January 2018. Tickets are $95 for the three days (including accommodation and food) and are available at www.otakisummercamp.com