Hillary Outdoors Instructors stand out from the crowd
We love to celebrate success, and it has been a big week for two Hillary Outdoors staff members who have achieved success at the NZOIA (New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association) Excellence Awards 2023.
Michaella Wills (Miki) and Matt Hanson were honoured with the Emerging Instructor Award, an award that celebrates their exceptional potential, commitment to growth, and showcases standout instructors within their field.
The NZOIA Excellence Awards recognise the highest achievements of individuals involved in outdoor recreation, education and guiding in New Zealand. There are five awards: Emerging Instructor, Emerging Guide, Wahine Toa, Tall Tōtara, and Life Member.
Miki took out the Emerging Instructor award thanks to her continuous growth, tireless commitment, and thirst for knowledge – she is always willing to throw 110% at everything she does – an inspiring and fantastic role model, particularly for female students.
Inclusive of everyone regardless of background, passionate and embracing of Mātauranga Māori, Miki incorporates this into her teaching. To say students love her would be a gross understatement – she already has, and is having, an impact on the future of outdoor education, instruction and the people in it.
Matt is also a winner of the Emerging Instructor Award thanks to his incredible all-round skill set, not only in hard skills but also in his facilitation, group management, and ability to push each group just enough to get the most out of them.
Matt strikes that balance between delivering just enough adventure to elicit change whilst ensuring his students have a memorable and positive experience.
Super enthusiastic, thoughtful, analytical, smart and driven, Matt’s baseline of experience to inform his judgment is impressive in how he operates.
Topping it off, Matt is always humble in his achievements, always the first to volunteer to help with SAR callouts regardless of personal plans and is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow. Matt is an excellent example of the future of the outdoors industry in Aotearoa.
Miki and Matt, this award is a testament to your unwavering passion, remarkable instructional abilities and commitment to outdoor education – you are both such worthy recipients. We cannot wait to see the heights you will conquer and the lives you will inspire in the years ahead.
Finalists for the Torpedo7 Get2Go Final are confirmed
We now have our 12 finalists who have successfully made their way through the exhilarating Torpedo7 Get2Go North and South Island challenges to secure a spot in the illustrious final event, set to take place in the stunning Tongariro National Park this December.
After a gruelling series showcasing exceptional outdoor skills, these finalists are gearing up for the ultimate adventure experience. Who will you be cheering on?
Northland – Whangarei Girls/Boys High
Auckland North/West – Westlake Girls Boys High
Auckland Central/South – St Kentigern College
Waikato – Waikato Dio/St Pauls Collegiate
Bay of Plenty – John Paul College
Hawkes Bay – Taradale High
Taranaki/Whanganui – New Plymouth Girls/Boys High
Wellington/Wairarapa/Manawatu – Palmerston North Girls/Boys High
Nelson/Tasman – Waimea College
Canterbury/Northern Aoraki – Middleton Grange
Otago/Southland – Fiordland College
Central Otago/Southland – Wakatipu High
Alfriston College embarks on programme first
Thirty students from Alfriston College have embarked on a programme first for Hillary Outdoors, a multi-year youth development programme that aims to see longer-term change around personal development (self-identity, leadership and impacting others etc.), increased and self-directed interest in outdoor activity and a more focused pathway for school leavers.
The three-year programme that commenced in December 2022 targeted Year 10 students and will see the same 30 students return to Hillary Outdoors in Years 11 (2023) and 12 (2024) to participate in a 5-day school group programme that is adapted to meet the needs and learning outcomes of the group.
The pilot programme developed alongside Alfriston College in South Auckland, whose students attend Hillary Outdoors Aotea, Great Barrier Island, has been funded thanks to a Recreation Aotearoa grant to connect rangatahi Māori with their culture and to support their access to outdoor education.
Cultural relevance has been woven into the programme at every opportunity, aligning with several initiatives at the school, including Te Reo Māori, Whakairo – Carving, Te Ao Haka, and Tikanga learning programmes, alongside Kaitiakitanga of our environments.
Alfriston experienced our Island Centre, Aotea Great Barrier, in December 2022, where the focus was on their personal development and self-growth as they move into their senior schooling years. This year, Alfriston will visit our Tongariro Centre and complete a Through My Lens programme where they can focus on sharing their personal stories through media, continuing their personal development as young adults, starting to solidify who they are going to be as an adult and what values they will carry through life.
We are excited to see the growth in students at the end of the three-year programme and believe that this programme has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of the students attending. We cannot wait to share those results with you and see the positive impact that this programme will have in the future.
Hillary Challenge Finalists are confirmed
In what is billed as the Ultimate Outdoor Adventure challenge for Year 11-13 students in New Zealand, we have found our Hillary Challenge Finalists after two qualifying regional events earlier this year.
Twenty-three schools from the length and breadth of the North Island raced against each other in Rotorua, showing fierce skills and determination, with Francis Douglas/Sacred Heart (Taranaki) narrowly edging out Whakatane High School for the top spot.
Two weeks later, 23 South Island teams competed in wet and muddy conditions, with reigning Hillary Outdoors Champions Motueka High (Tasman) taking first place.
Eight schools have successfully earned the right to compete in the National Final, to be held in October. They will be joined by the top three teams from the 2022 Hillay Challenge Final, who earn automatic entry into the Final based on their placings last year.
Can anyone stop Motueka High from taking out the Hillary Challenge again in 2023? Only time will tell.
The full list of finalists is below:
Motueka High (Tasman) – 1st 2022 – automatic entry
John Paul College (Bay of Plenty) 2nd 2022 automatic entry
New Plymouth Girls/Boys (Taranaki) 3rd 2022 automatic entry
Francis Douglas/Sacred Heart (Taranaki)
Whakatane High (Bay of Plenty)
Onslow College (Wellington)
Trident High (Bay of Plenty)
Wakatipu High (Central Otago)
Middleton Grange (Canterbury)
Craighead Diocesan/Timaru Boys (South Canterbury)
Rangi Ruru/Christchurch Boys (Canterbury)
Tūpiki Trust helping us reach new heights
Thanks to generous funding from NZAC Tūpiki Trust, Hillary Outdoors Tertiary students will scale new heights. $250,539 in co-funds has been secured to complete stage three of an all-weather indoor climbing wall for the Tongariro Centre.
This project has been a long time in the making as we embarked on a three-phase project in 2020 to create a world-class climbing training facility for students at a total cost of $773,289.
Benefits for Tertiary students
As we begin the final stage of the project, the funding from Tūpiki Trust enables the creation of a dedicated classroom next to the climbing wall so that students can apply theory immediately in reality.
The funding will also ensure we are equipped with the latest safety equipment to ensure our students can climb with confidence and peace of mind.
As New Zealand’s leading provider of Tertiary Outdoor Education, we deliver the New Zealand Certificate (Level 4) and the New Zealand Diploma (Level 5) in Outdoor and Adventure Education from our Tongariro Centre, construction of this high-spec climbing wall will allow for highly technical lessons as well as the ability to learn alongside instructors.
The climbing facility will teach all facets of skill associated with climbing, from movement skills to technical, including belaying, anchors, abseiling and multi-pitch systems.
Being based in an Alpine environment has many benefits, namely being able to practice what is learned in the outdoors almost immediately however, we are sometimes interrupted by weather, which can disrupt schedules and the momentum created in the classroom.
This new indoor facility will ensure that the 300 hours of training dedicated to rock and alpine training (Certificate and Diploma) always go ahead, no matter the weather.
We are incredibly grateful to the Tūpiki Trust for their support and generosity in making this project possible. As we progress with construction, we look forward to sharing progress updates with you all. Stay tuned for more updates!