By Amy Childs (Waiariki Journalism School)
A Rotorua Boys High School student was given the chance to hold $1 million cash when he visited the Reserve Bank of New Zealand recently.
Bailey Lacey-Rameka was one of six local Year 10 students who travelled to Wellington as part of a RBNZ Pukaki Education Award trip.
The annual excursion is organised by the Reserve Bank for one Ngati Whakaue representative each from Rotorua Lakes High School, Rotorua Girls High School, Te Kura o Te Koutu, John Paul College, Western Heights High School and Rotorua Boys High School in return for the use of the image of the famous Ngati Whakaue leader Pukaki, on the 20 cent coin which was launched in 2004.
The students were given the opportunity to meet with the Governor General at Government House, take a tour of Te Papa Museum including collections of Maori taonga which are not on public display, and lunch with the Governor of the Reserve Bank.
Bailey, 14, said it was an awesome experience and he felt privileged to be a part of it.
My favourite part of the trip was going into the vault and seeing, holding and taking photos of the $1 million.”
He said it had been interesting listening to the Governor General tell his story about how he got into his position of power, and economists talking about the issues they deal with.
“The trip definitely gave me something to think about in terms of my future career goals. This opportunity was very humbling for me because out of all the students at Boys High, it was me who was picked to go,” he said.
Bailey also enjoyed the tour of Te Papa Museum.
“I was raised in a Maori environment in Ohinemutu, so it was great to know that people treasure taonga of the Maori culture,” he said.
Rotorua Boys High School Year 10 dean Mike Green said Bailey was the obvious choice for the Pukaki Award.
He can korero Maori, is in our accelerate class, he’s one of the top five academic students of his year, and he takes economics and really likes it. He could follow economics as a career and maybe one day work for the Reserve Bank himself if he chose to,” Mr Green said.
Reserve Bank of New Zealand head of currency, property and security Alan Boaden said the trip was aimed at giving the students an insight into the central bank and government.
He said in addition to the annual trip, the bank also sent speakers to the six Rotorua high schools to talk about New Zealand currency and Pukaki’s connection to the 20 cent piece.
The other students who received the Pukaki Award were Jazmin-Charlie Hurihanganui-Bennett from Rotorua Girls High School, Saphire Kalman from Rotorua Lakes High School, Maakarini Nelson from Te Kura o Te Koutu, Genaia Sewell from John Paul College and Damien Bennett from Western Heights High School.