What does Richie McCaw, a mechanical engineer, the ASB Polyfest and water all have in common?
They are all a part of the life of 13-year-old Mangere College student, Ethan Sigglekow.
The youngest of three siblings says, Richie McCaw is his idol and he wants to be a mechanical engineer when he is older.
Mangere College was placed second overall in the ASB Polyfest over 17th and 18th of March, and for Ethan it was his first time performing in the festival.
The busy teenager has also recently been working on a student-directed approach to promote water as the first choice of drink within his school.
This article is Ethan’s perspective on water and health is the first thing we talk about.
‘My teacher said that water helps in a big way with our blood. It cleans our blood and removes the toxins.’
“I tell my parents stuff like how people should drink eight cups of water a day to get us to be healthier.”
“They just nod. I think they are listening.”
“For the past few months on this project, I’ve been learning more about water and drinking more water,” says Ethan.
“I have more energy and I feel more awake.”
“It’s been challenging,” he explains. “Because the tuck shop sells mostly fizzy drinks. Also, it’s hard trying to convince people how bad these drinks are for their health because of all the sugar inside it.”
They are planning on a having a water only day every month in the school.
Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura has funded the money for the school to purchase water bottles. These will be sold at the tuck shop at a subsidised price.
“We need to talk to the Principal to set a date. I’m nervous to talk to him, but I think he will be fine with it.”
We are planning posters, surveys and videos that we can share with our classes about being pro water too.”
Being of Samoan and German heritage Ethan says, if New Zealand was to better promote pro-water he would like to see multicultural campaigns with people he can relate too. People like his dad.
“He always puts everyone before himself.”
But for Ethan, water is more than just a healthy option.
‘Water flows quietly and softly, it makes me feel peaceful inside.’
He says water has a calming effect.
“Outside my house there are ponds. So, I just sit there and think about all the stuff we’ve been doing. I just think about my future and where I’m heading.”
“If New Zealand didn’t have clean waterways families wouldn’t be able to go on picnics, it would be bad for our communities and our country.”
“It’s sad people in other countries need our help because they have no water. Some do have water but it’s dirty and they can’t drink it because it can poison them.”
“It’s just sad they can’t get the same environment we have in New Zealand.”
How does it make you feel to live in a country with access to clean water?