Helen Clark meets with Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Award Winner

Helen Clark inspires emerging Pacific leader in New York

posted: 12:00 am - 20th April 2016
Helen Clark and Leorida Peters


20 April 2016

 UNDP Administrator Helen Clark meets with Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards Leadership and Inspiration winner in New York.

A year ago 18-year-old Auckland student, Leorida Peters, never thought she’d be meeting with Helen Clark at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

But after claiming the Leadership and Inspiration Award at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ 2015 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards that is exactly what this young New Zealand born Samoan leader has just done.

The prize offered an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, the home of the United Nations Headquarters, sponsored by Air New Zealand and supported by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The idea behind the prize is that Leorida, as an emerging Pacific Leader, would learn from some of the world’s top leaders on a global stage.

“The Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards are all about the encouraging the success of New Zealand’s young Pacific people and the chance to meet with Helen Clark will inspire Leorida, and other young people watching her, to aim high,” Ministry for Pacific Peoples Chief Executive, Pauline Winter, says.

Leorida says a highlight of the visit was a meeting with former Prime Minister and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Helen Clark, hot on the heels of New Zealand announcing Ms Clark as a candidate to be the next UN Secretary-General.

“Being able to speak with Helen Clark and discuss leadership from a female perspective and understand her experience of being a female leader in the UN was really inspiring,” Leorida says.

She says she’s passionate about encouraging other young people to get involved in global issues.

“The opportunity to visit the UN was amazing and I’m really grateful but I also strongly encourage more Pasifika youth to be aware and be engaged in global issues.

“When I was in New York at the UN I saw there was a shortage of Pacific participation so I really encourage my fellow brothers and sisters to be more involved and just get active,” Leorida says.

2016 was perfect timing for Leorida’s trip as it occurred during the second year of New Zealand’s non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.



Media Contact: Georgina Ball +64 (0) 21 191 1433

Notes for editors:

The meeting took place 9.45am Wednesday 20 April New Zealand time. (New York time Tuesday April 19th, at 5.45pm).

For media enquiries and interviews with Leorida Peters or to find out more please contact: Georgina Ball +64 (0) 21 191 1433

Other highlights of Leorida’s itinerary included:

  • Meeting with Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
  • Meeting with Minister Paula Bennett, Minister for Climate Change
  • Attending UN Security Council Open Debate on Middle East
  • Attending  the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement
  • Attending opening segment of high-level implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs
  • Meeting with Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
  • Meeting with New Zealand Consul-General and Trade Commissioner Beatrice Faumuina

 Leorida’s bio can be found at: http://pacificyouthawards.org.nz/