2014 Hutt Student Delegates

Below are some comments from the four students who participated in the 2014 student exchange:

Kristina Hutley

Doing this exchange has changed my life in many ways. It’s helped me become more self- confident and able to speak to large groups of people a lot easier.  I went on this exchange to see America but I gained much more than just sightseeing the east coast. I got to show off my home country and everything that is beautiful about it.

Going to America has always been a lifelong dream of mine and the welcoming we got at Phoenix airport was heart warming, you get accepted into these families with open arms and you fit right in. When I was in Tempe I went to Disneyland and the Grand Canyon with Tempe Sister Cities. I got to meet so many new people from all around the world and make friendships that will last forever.

It was sad to leave Tempe but I’m sure I’ll be back there in no time to see everyone again.”

Jasmine Rivers

“The Hutt/Tempe sister city exchange was definitely a life changing and memorable experience that has positively affected my family and I in many ways; where we now have a personal understanding and perspective of the lives and culture of people on the other side of the world.

It was great to have hosted the American students here in Lower Hutt as I was excited about showing them around the Hutt - they would always comment on how green and clean everything was (I now understand why!) and because of this I felt incredibly proud to come from such a beautiful place.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Tempe learning about their culture and sight seeing, but the thing I enjoyed most about this exchange was the people I was able to meet and interact with, and the friendships I made with them.

I am very grateful to have been able to experience life in another country and this exchange has opened doors for me for future travels and adventures with friends I have made from all over the world.”

Kate Davy

“The Hutt/Tempe Sister City Exchange was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I could be a part of such an amazing trip!

Nicole, my new sister from Tempe, became a huge part of our family in these 5 weeks and she counted our home as hers!

When I went to Tempe, I was astounded by the scenery. It was amazing and beautiful and everything I had imagined it to be, even the heat wasn’t too much to handle (49 Degrees Celsius)!

One of my favourite events while in Tempe, was a horseback ride in a national park that took us along the side of South mountain with an amazing view of the sunset before a stop at a restaurant for an amazing meal then the ride back to the stables.

All in all, the Hutt/Tempe Sister City Exchange was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change it for anything! I am so grateful that I was chosen to represent our amazing city on such a spectacular exchange!”

Patrick Shepherd

“Applying for the Hutt Sister City program was one of the smartest choices I've made. First off I got to travel to the United States while only 17. Before I had even made it to Tempe, Arizona we spent 5 weeks with four intelligent, exuberant and funny Americans and their NZ host families.

Jay, my new brother and I got along great. As a family we showed him much of the Hutt including mountain biking in Wainui, and exploring Somes Island.

Then I was off to the States and I met my host brother’s family - Freda, Tom and Van. All of whom I seriously feel are now my extended family. But for me the best part (excluding Disneyland) was experiencing their way of life and culture and just interacting with all the different people including the host families and other Tempe Sister City Kids from around the world.

It sounds weird but I now have made over 60 life long friends. Some of which I plan to meet up with again while traveling all over the world. 

This is an amazing once in a life time opportunity!”


Krishna’s story - 2016 Hutt Student Delegate

“I first heard about this exchange in 2014 when one of my good friend’s sister did it. I loved looking through all her photos as I had recently just been on a school trip to Japan, so looking through her photos was the coolest thing, seeing her experience in another country.  In 2015 someone I know also went through the Programme. Looking through her photos yet again I thought man, I really miss travelling; I really want to travel again!  So I waited until I heard about an info evening, to figure out how to try and get into the Programme, as I was dead keen.

When I told my Mum and Dad about Sister Cities, they both said no straight away. "'Nah Krishna, we have a dog, nah Krishna we won't have time or the money..."  All those types of excuses.  I showed them pictures of the girls I knew that did the exchange to try to convince them that I could do this, I could be traveling again, but still they wouldn't budge.  I managed to get Dad to come to the 2015 information evening with me, so he could officially decide for himself, but he still said no.  But I filled out all the application forms anyway, because I was dead set on applying, you know.  In the end I guess Mum and Dad saw how much I truly wanted to go for this, and ended up signing papers too.

When Mariah, David, and Carm arrived in Wellington Airport, I was so, so nervous. We greeted them with a haka then basically introduced ourselves!  Mariah was so open and so happy which was the coolest thing. The three families went out for brunch to get to know our new American friends a little bit more.  When Mariah arrived home with us, Mariah and I talked all day, legitimately all day.  It was like we had known each other forever!  We also watched movies and ate New Zealand foods like pineapple lumps.

While Mariah, David, and Carm were in New Zealand, they did so much activities, like going to museums, down to Picton for the day, and Zealandia, but we also hung with them too after school, going to the pools, potluck dinners and movie nights.  One thing I know that stuck out for me personally and my sister Mariah, was the Rotorua trip.  All the families getting the chance to live together for the weekend and do fun things like bungy jump, zipline and freefall was seriously so, so much fun.  We also took them to Hobbiton, which they loved so much, and was definitely a highlight.  Mariah also got to meet my friends, who by the way all LOVE her now!  She also came to my school prom, which was cool!  Getting the chance to experience things around New Zealand with the Americans was also amazing, showing off our home was awesome, and seeing how much they loved New Zealand was the coolest.

Arriving in Tempe was crazy.  It was so hot but me, Ariana, and Taylor got the warmest welcome from our families, with of course signature welcome pun signs!   I slept for 20 hours that day; I was so tired.  The cool thing was I fitted right in straight away.  I got along with each and every family member so well which I'm so happy about.  I was able to be myself straight away.  One thing that surprised me (besides the 40+ degree heat!) was how much of a grid Arizona was.  All the streets were dead straight while in New Zealand, the roads curve non stop, hills everywhere etc.

So yeah, I just want to say thank you so much for picking me for this exchange, once again it's truly changed my life for the better!!  I can't express enough how amazing it was, and how amazing everyone is!  Even though fundraising was hard work, very hard work, we got through it and it was totally worth it.  So, thank you so much!!”