My name is Kayley O’Connor. I am 17 years old and in my last year of high school at Westlake Girls. I am inspired by doing better. Doing better for our environment, for others and for ourselves. I have a thriving love for the outdoors particularly around the ocean, where I love to surf, scuba dive and do marine photography/videography. I have completed my Open Water Dive certification and I am aiming to soon do my Advanced Dive Course to be able to reach new depths and explore the unexplored. I have loved the ocean for much of my life. Having grown up in New Zealand I feel lucky to have spent a lot of my time around it, many of my best memories are kept close to coastlines. After experiencing the joys of the sea, I became more and more involved with the conservation of it. Last year I took part in the Young Leaders Marine Conservation Program at MERC, where I met with like-minded individuals to discuss effective action to take against the increasing pressures of global warming.
Alongside marine conservation, I also am passionate about Mental Health, especially among youth. After dealing with OCD at a young age and growing up in a time where mental health is becoming more prevalent in today's society, I believe that more support and help are needed now more than ever. Through both my shared passions I want my future to encompass both areas. I am aiming to study Psychology at either Auckland University or Victoria, to eventually become a Child Psychologist. I want to continue my passion for ocean conservation through further diving and marine photography by being able to share with others the wonderful life below the surface and the impacts we are having on them.
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will never rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” - Aristotle Onassis