Matthew Pledger’s Story

 Sustainability and the ability to adapt will be the defining factors of our generation. The ice caps melting, coral reefs decaying, and animals going extinct present us with challenges that we need to embrace and not hide from.

 Kia ora koutou my name is Matthew Pledger and I have been involved with the Untouched World Foundation since November 2018. My journey started with the Blumine Island programme – an island in the Marlborough sounds, at the top of the South Island of Aotearoa, New Zealand.  

Blumine Island is a thicket of native flora and fauna – a snapshot of Aotearoa before European settlers. The island has breathtaking bays, beautiful birdlife and an incredible biodiversity that we are removed from in our daily lives. In short, the island is a prelapsarian playground for native species.   

On this Untouched World programme, we became a part of the island's ecosystem. For a week we woke up to the native birdsong and got to witness the wildlife that thrives on the predator-free island. This full immersion helped our group to connect with an environment so different from our respective homes.  

To develop our leadership capabilities the programme for Blumine Island intentionally followed a loosely filled itinerary. The lack of a scheduled activities made for an anxious build up to the trip, we were very much left in the dark.

In hindsight it was the lack of a structure to follow that promoted an organic, student-led style of leadership.

Throughout the week we were learning on the fly, being put in situations where team work and problem solving were essential.  

  Experiential learning was at the heart of the Blumine Island programme. We didn’t learn about the environment enclosed in 4 white walls - we had the freedom to roam, play and discover as we wanted to. Resulting in a profoundly unique learning experience from what is taught in mainstream education.  

 A year ago, sustainability was a word I used exclusively in reference to climate change or the natural environment.

On Blumine Island I was challenged to think of sustainability as a process that can be transferred to all facets of life.

This was the catalyst in my journey that has provoked me to pursue sustainable broadcasting.  

 I am a student of the New Zealand Broadcasting School with a fanatic passion for radio. We learn early on that the media is a business – of which money is the main gauge of success.

My journey with the Untouched World Foundation has provoked me to think of media as a service and not a good. Media through the lens of a service is focused on developing, inspiring and assisting in people's lives. Media under a sustainable model would become morals based instead of money driven.  

Sustainability and the ability to adapt WILL be the defining factor of our generation.


It is up to us - the youth to define the future we want. 

Matthew Pledger

Matthew Pledger