Smith's Hill High School student Hugh McClure will spend two week rubbing shoulders with New Zealand diplomats, academics and Maori leaders when he heads overseas on a youth leadership tour.
As part of the United Nations Youth Australia Aotearoa Leadership Tour, Hugh will join nine other students from Australia as they discuss key issues affecting both countries and build their leadership skills.
With a particular focus on gaining an understanding of the challenges Indigenous people face in Australia and New Zealand, Hugh is keen to absorb as much information as possible.
‘‘It will be really great to meet all these different people and have the opportunity to workshop ideas with really key players,’’ he said.
Already he has had the chance to speak with deputy NSW Labor leader Linda Burney about issues affecting Indigenous people and what needs to be done to resolve them to ensure he has a good knowledge base to work from while on tour.
Hugh, 17, is an avid public speaker and debater, and also spends time volunteering at the Aspect School South Coast for students with autism.
Inspired by his late sister, who had wide-ranging disabilities and passed away in 2009, he said he has always been interested in learning what he could do to assist marginalised groups.
He will spend three days at a conference in Sydney before jetting off to New Zealand on Friday.
The trip culminates in the Model United Nations Conference where 250 students from the Asia-Pacific region will converge to debate the situation in Iraq and Syria.