Give rangatahi the opportunity to be extraordinary

One pivotal moment changed the course of Sir Ed’s life. At Hillary Outdoors, we want all young New Zealanders to have this opportunity.

Imagine a world where Sir Edmund Hillary didn’t conquer Mt. Everest.

Summiting the world’s highest peak could still be an undefeated challenge. Sir Ed may never have devoted himself to environmental and humanitarian efforts that made a profound difference to Aotearoa and to the world. 

Looking back, it all started with a school trip to Mt. Ruapehu. Sir Ed’s teacher was at a loss with what to do with a class of unruly teenage boys. After all his efforts in class failed, he decided to take them to the mountains, something that was unheard of at the time. It was on this trip that Sir Ed fell in love with the mountains and that catalysed a humble teenage New Zealander to do the impossible: make ground-breaking history and change the world for the better. 


Many rangatahi across Aotearoa don’t have access to that same opportunity Sir Ed had. It’s not that they lack the potential for greatness; it’s that they don’t have the chance to discover it.

1 in 8 children live in material hardship where their lives are often confined to a small radius around where they live. They feel isolated, are unfulfilled and don’t see a bright future ahead. Even if they are offered an opportunity to experience new things, financial barriers prohibit their participation and often the fear of trying something new is too daunting to face.

Without the fundamental building blocks of youth development, the possibility of becoming a school or community leader, let alone a global hero, is intangible.  

Liam, a young boy from Hamilton, was never picked for anything, noting he wouldn’t have picked himself. He described himself as a very shy, anxious person, too afraid to put himself forward for fear of being rejected or, worse, not being able to do a good job if he did somehow get selected.

He reflects on his time as Hillary Outdoors as being life-changing:   

“What changed for me as a result of going to Hillary Outdoors? If you asked my mother she’d tell you that for the first time in 15 years my room was clean. For me, it went a little deeper than that. I came back with self-belief, I had discovered that I could be a leader, and I believed it. I was confident in my decisions, I had gained the ability to stick with things which sometimes is the hardest part. I was no longer afraid of getting stuck in, in fact, I started actively searching for opportunities to help out. School became more fulfilling, my grades improved, I started to gain the respect of my peers. It felt like the miracle cure, from a shy, fearful year 9 to the person I’d wanted to be for so long.”   

Liam later became Head Boy of his school.   


As Sir Edmund Hillary said, “It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.”   

Our programmes evoke pivotal moments for youth, inspiring them to overcome their fears and insecurities to become leaders who contribute positively to their community.    

With the incredible generosity of our supportive community, we provide scholarships to children living in hardship so they can have the same experience that Sir Ed and Liam had. Your invaluable donations give young New Zealanders the opportunity to grow and flourish through outdoor education and adventure, help them find the courage to ignite and pursue their ambitions and empower them to do extraordinary things.

Expanding Our Horizons: Introducing Hillary Outdoors Coromandel

Yesterday was a momentous occasion for Hillary Outdoors as we proudly announced the acquisition of our new centre on the stunning Coromandel. This expansion is not just about growing our footprint; it’s about deepening our commitment to providing exceptional outdoor education opportunities for rangatahi across Aotearoa.

With over 50 years of experience in delivering high-impact outdoor education programmes, Hillary Outdoors, then OPC, has a place in the hearts of generations of New Zealanders. Our journey began with our iconic Tongariro Centre. Now, we are thrilled to extend our reach to the Coromandel, a region rich with unique marine and conservation environments.

Hillary Outdoors Coromandel will serve as our Marine and Conservation Centre, offering unparalleled experiences in the northern Coromandel’s bush, coastal, and marine environments. This acquisition allows us to provide more diverse learning opportunities and empower more youth to benefit from the life-changing experiences our programmes facilitate.

What Hillary Outdoors Coromandel Offers

Experiential Learning in Unique Environments: Our Coromandel Centre will immerse students in hands-on learning experiences that cover a wide range of marine and land-based activities and promote a deeper connection to nature. This environment will provide continuous opportunities for youth development through engaging journeys and expeditions.

Commitment to Environmental Stewardship: Coromandel has a unique biodiversity that we are committed to protecting and preserving. We believe in the power of collaboration and look forward to supporting the incredible community-led conservation efforts underway in the region.

Fit-For-Purpose Facilities: Hillary Outdoors Coromandel Centre will feature facilities that will be converted to support an array of educational activities. With experienced instructors and a well-rounded curriculum, we aim to uphold the high standards of excellence that have defined us for decades.

Join us on This Journey

We are excited to welcome our first group of students in January 2025. Until then, our team will be hard at work converting the site to be fit-for-purpose and getting the highest outdoor safety accreditation for our programmes, maximising the educational potential of this incredible location. We are currently working through our booking process with our clients, and look forward to forging new partnerships with schools and communities from Coromandel, Auckland, and wider Aotearoa.

As we embark on this new chapter, we invite you to join us in celebrating this expansion of Hillary Outdoors, which will ultimately achieve our goal of providing transformative experiences to more than 10,000 rangatahi each year through outdoor education and equip them to lead brighter futures. 

Make sure to stay tuned to our social media channels and website as we share the journey and progress of opening Hillary Outdoors Coromandel.

Thank you for your continued support and belief in our purpose. Here’s to a new chapter!