Press Release – Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre
Thirty-two adventurous North Island teenagers have earned a place in the finals of New Zealand’s toughest outdoor challenge for senior secondary school students.
Twenty school teams battled the weather and strong competition in Taupo at the weekend in the North Island qualifier for the annual Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge, run by the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand.
The top four teams, each with four boys and four girls from years 11 to 13, will meet eight other top teams from around New Zealand and Australia gruelling five-day Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge final in May next year. The winners will be crowned the most adventurous teenagers in the country.
The North Island qualifiers are, in order of ranking:
• Trident High School, Whakatane
• St Cuthbert’s College/Auckland Grammar School, Auckland (joint team)
• Thames High School, Thames
• Onslow College/Wellington Girls’ College (joint team)
“It was so great to see all the teams racing around the course, soaking wet, covered in mud, but still smiling and having a fun time,” says OPC events manager Darren Ashmore. “The weather definitely added to the challenge, but the students didn’t let it slow them down.”
Though Trident High School won the six-hour adventure race with a comfortable margin, there was some close scoring, with Taradale High School and Takapuna Grammar School unlucky to miss out on a top four placing.
The South Island qualifying event will be held in Christchurch on October 14.
“Congratulations to our well-deserved qualifiers,” says Ashmore. “We’re looking forward to an epic battle to decide the national winner of the Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge next year.”
The final will be held on May 13 to 17, at the OPC base in Tongariro. It will be the 13th year of the competition. The format of the challenge will be kept secret until the event begins, but it will test the students’ skills in such pursuits as running, trekking, mountain biking, navigation, kayaking/paddling, rope work, water activities and problem solving.
The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand has been built on the legacy of Sir Ed and Graeme Dingle nearly 40 years ago. Education is still being valued as OPC’s primary benefit during the rich outdoor learning experiences:
Contributing positively to the life journey of young people through adventure and rich outdoor learning experiences that develop care and respect for self, others and place, in the spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary.
OPC’s school programmes are about ‘seeking summits’ on many levels. OPC develops tomorrow’s leaders by building spirit, a strong sense of group unity, camaraderie and valuable socials skills that last a lifetime in unique and unspoiled New Zealand settings.
Programmes take place at OPC centres in Tongariro and Great Barrier Island, as well as nationwide events including the Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge for senior students (year 12 and 13), the YouthTown Get2Go for junior students (year 9 and 10), and NavQuest for all secondary school level students, their families and interested public.