Applications now open to young Kiwis for the 35th Ship for World Youth voyage (Now closed)

The Ship for World Youth Alumni Association of New Zealand is excited to announce that applications for the 35th voyage of the Ship for World Youth are now open!

Applications for participating youth of the Aotearoa New Zealand delegation will close at 11:59pm on Monday 31 July 2023.

The Ship for World Youth (SWY) is a unique leadership programme run and sponsored by the Cabinet Office of Japan, and this year will bring together 100 Japanese youth and 130 young leaders from 13 other countries around the world. 

SWY35 is a hybrid program, scheduled to begin online during the weekends of November 2023, followed by an in-person program in (and around) Japan from 24 January – 21 February 2024.

Aotearoa New Zealand will join Argentina, Ethiopia, France, India, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Solomon Islands, Turkey, UAE, Zambia, and of course, Japan aboard the Nippon Maru cruise ship for the first time since February 2020.

This year’s voyage will depart Tokyo and make ports of call in Kyoto, Hyogo and Kochi prefectures for local programs grounded in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing participants to engage in workshops to develop their leadership skills, as well as foster cross-cultural understanding.

New Zealand’s strong relationship with Japan means that it is often selected to participate; a total of 17 times in the 35 years of the modern era of the programme. 

However, the history of the Ship for World Youth dates back to 1959 when the Japanese Youth Goodwill Mission Program was first proposed by then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.

The programme is known for its track record of fostering the development of future international leaders, and the alumni of New Zealand includes Helen Clark ONZ SSI PC.

The selection process for SWY35 will be managed by the SWY NZ Alumni Association. The delegation will be made up of 10 participants, who are active in the community, capable of representing Aotearoa and its diversity on the world stage, and demonstrate an eagerness to learn about other cultures. Participants are required to be New Zealand citizens between 18-30 years old. 

The delegation will be headed by a National Leader: a past participant of the programme, who will be selected via a similar application process, closing on 17 July.

More information, including application forms and a more detailed timeline and eligibility criteria can be found on the SWY NZ website: or on the Facebook page:

Media contact: Garreth Stevens, President, Ship for World Youth New Zealand Incorporated (