Events Roundup – June 2016

Darren Ashmore, Events Manager

Darren Ashmore, Events Manager

Here’s an update on all the latest Events from our Events Manager, Darren Ashmore (pictured left)…

The Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge Final

The 16th Hillary Challenge final took place at our Tongariro Centre during the week 9-13 May with 11 of the best secondary school adventure racing teams battling it out over 5 tough days in the surrounding mountains and bush.

The Hillary Challenge is the ultimate outdoor team event for secondary school students in New Zealand and requires some serious commitment to training and preparation for the schools that are lucky enough to make it into the final each year. It begins with two days of intense physical and mental team problem solving challenges, each 60mins long, with the teams completing six on each day. This is followed by a wilderness rogaine/navigation expedition that has the teams going up against the mountainous terrain of the Tongariro National Park, as well as whatever mother nature throws at them, over two days and nights. Then on the final day a 52km multisport race involving mountain biking, trail running and paddling is on the agenda, just to finish the teams off.

Whangarei 2016 ChampionsAfter the first two days of this years final it was the combined team from Francis Douglas/Sacred Heart in New Plymouth that went into the rogaine in first place, with New Plymouth Girls/High and Whangarei Girls/Boys High filling the next two places.

As often is the case it is the last three days of the event that decides the overall result. Conditions on the mountain for the expedition this year were very windy and wet as the teams made their way over two days, via 90 optional checkpoints, from the Turoa Mountain Rd to Whakapapa Village. Their objective, simply to navigate successfully to as many checkpoints as possible in order to build the biggest score they could to add to their team total. Some exceptional strategic route planning and navigation over the two days saw the team from Whangarei leap above New Plymouth into first place and the 2015 champions from Thames High climb into 3rd with just one day remaining.

Whangarei High School at finish lineWith the final challenge of 52km of close racing over 4 stages to go, these overall places were unlikely to change in the head to head multisport race on the final day of the event. However, there was still plenty of pride on the line with all teams racing hard to get line honours. It was New Plymouth Girls/Boys that took out the race in a time of 4hrs and 19mins, 8mins ahead of Whangarei, with another 2mins back to Thames High. Takapuna Grammar, Cambridge High and Middleton Grange filled places 4-6.

Back in 2001, the very first Hillary Challenge event was won by an all-boys team from Whangarei Boys High. A few years later the event rules changed so that now teams must be made up of four female and four male members. Although they have been close, making the top 5 several times since that first event, 2016 was the first time a mixed team from Whangarei has won the national title and lifted the Genesis Energy trophy. New Plymouth held on to maintain their incredible record of never placing worse than 2nd in this event, with Thames High rounding out the top 3. These schools have all earned automatic entry into the 2017 final.

Final expedition map

Final expedition map

Take a look at the final results here.

Register now for these other Events…


Places are filling quickly for our two upcoming Hillary Challenge 6hr Adventure Races. We have one on in Christchurch for South Island schools on 12 June and one in Taupo for North Island schools on 26 June. Team places are limited to just 30 teams of 8 at each event, so get in quick. Click here for more details.


Our new Senior Get2Go Challenge events have been going well with over 60 teams attending our first 3 events in Auckland, North Auckland and Rotorua. The event scheduled for late May in Palmerston North has been postponed until early July due to low entry numbers, so if you are from the bottom of the North Island and are keen for a fun little 3hr Adventure Race then click here for more details, we would love to see you there on 5 July.

  • JUNIOR GET2GO CHALLENGE (Year 9 and 10)

These events continue to be as popular as ever with over 1600+ students taking part in 2015, with over 14,000 students having now taken part in these events over the last 10 years.

The Junior Get2Go is a great introduction to multisport and adventure racing, suitable to all levels of skill and fitness and the 12 event 2016 series kicks off in early term 3. Places are filling up fast in some events, so get in quick to ensure you make it in as each event is limited to just 24 teams of 8. Click here for more details.

 Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions of queries about any of our events. If you are no longer the best contact for your school please let me know so I can update my database.


If you are keen to catch all of the ‘up to the minute’ coverage of our events and other adventures happening around our two centres then be sure to ‘follow/like’ our social media feeds. We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The user name for each is – hillaryoutdoors

I hope to see you at one of our events soon!