New Zealand has been invited to send four young people to join youth from all countries involved in the First World War to march along the Champs-Elysées on Bastille Day, 14 July 2014.
This year France used its national day to mark the upcoming centenary of the commencement of the First World War.
Two young women and two young men, aged 18 to 24 years, were selected to represent New Zealand at this event. They are Aria Newfield and Milan Djurich, of Auckland, Isabel Kerr, of Wellington, and Alexander Summerlee, of Christchurch.
France identified 14 July 2014 (its national day — Bastille Day) for the launch of its First World War commemorations. To open the commemorations, France invited more than 70 countries that were involved in the First World War to send military and youth representatives to take part in the annual military parade along the Champs Elysées.
As one of the countries that fought in the First World War, New Zealand was invited by the President of the French Republic to send four youth to take part. The successful candidates were part of a scene in the parade, marched at the end of the parade, and were able to participate in a cultural and educational programme arranged for all participants.
Applications closed at 9.00 am on 12 May 2014. Shortlisted applicants attended an interview in Wellington in the week 19-26 May 2014.
The successful applicants were advised in the week ending 6 June 2014, and departed New Zealand on 4 July 2014.
Covering travel & selection
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Youth Development and the First World War Centenary (WW100) Programme Office managed the selection process. The New Zealand government met the costs of airfares and travel insurance. The French government met the costs of meals, accommodation and direct internal transport.