Nayland College’s Palmer Award recipient Indigo Levett. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Nelson’s top students


With a passion for performing arts, the environment and helping younger students, Indigo Levett has taken out Nayland College’s top award.

Indigo, 17, won a swathe of awards at the school’s prize-giving, including the Palmer Award which recognises overall excellence.

Indigo has been a staunch advocate for the environment, as well as being head student, a dedicated performing artist and a mentor for younger students.

“It’s for all the things I would be doing anyway, which is really cool.”

Last month, she was also selected as one of 24 students around the country to be part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s intensive drama workshop at the Globe in London. She will spend next year fundraising before heading off in July.

She hopes the experience will give her the space to figure out what to do next – whether it’s drama school, studying environmental science or medicine.

Indigo says Nayland College treated her really well.

“It provided a fantastic opportunity for me, but it does not spoonfeed you. It puts all these things in front of you but it’s up to you to take advantage of them.”

James Mellor Nelson College Dux.
James Mellor Nelson College Dux.

James Mellor is setting his sights high after being named school dux last Tuesday.

James also received the top honours in chemistry, English, physics and history. “I was very happy. I knew I had a chance, so I was hopeful,” he says.

Last month, he was also was the recipient of a $40,000 academic excellence entrance scholarship for the University of Otago, and he will be moving to Dunedin next year to undertake a double-degree in law and possibly, commerce.

“I’m still deciding,” he says. “But I definitely want to do a double-degree.”

James also plays on the Nelson College underwater hockey team, which won silver at the national competition this year.

Nadja Baden Nelson College for Girls Dux.
Nadja Baden Nelson College for Girls Dux.

Nadja Baden says she felt “overwhelmed” when she was named as school dux last Tuesday.

“I knew I was getting an award, but I was really surprised and happy to get this,” she says.

German-born Nadja had firsts in economics, accounting and calculus, along with third place for physics and fourth place for chemistry. She is heading to Victoria University of Wellington next year to start a bachelor of science, and she is planning on majoring in economics and maths.

Nadja also plays beach volleyball and won the junior section of the New Zealand secondary schools beach volleyball championships in 2015 with her teammate Tali Uia.