Sir Ed’s legacy to Porirua teens

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Past gen­er­a­tions have taken ac­cess to the out­doors for granted, but Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre trustee Iain Mor­ri­son said it had moved out of reach for many.

‘‘The Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre is Sir Ed’s legacy to the peo­ple of New Zealand,’’ he said.

Teenagers could at­tend the Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre, near Tu­rangi, for a week­long course at a cost of $750, but for some the cost was a bar­rier.

‘‘As Ki­wis, I be­lieve it is a right of pas­sage to get into the out­doors,’’ Mr Mor­ri­son said.

Con­cerned about af­ford­abil­ity and to en­sure the op­por­tu­nity is avail­able to all teenage po­ten­tial lead­ers, the cen­tre has set up the Hil­lary Step Schol­ar­ships.

They were named af­ter the of­ten-deadly fi­nal 12-me­tre wall that faces ex­hausted climbers on their way to Ever­est’s sum­mit.

The Step sym­bol­ises a prize that is al­most within reach, when in­di­vid­ual self-be­lief is the dif­fer­ence be­tween glory and fail­ure.

Un­der the scheme, the stu­dent is asked to con­trib­ute $100 and the Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre helps fundraise the rest, through the school and the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

In­di­vid­u­als can con­trib­ute by do­nat­ing or spon­sor­ing a stu­dent.

This year, stu­dents from Aotea and Mana col­leges com­pleted cour­ses at the cen­tre, and Mr Mor­ri­son said he wanted the scheme to ex­tend to Porirua and Bishop Viard col­leges next year.

He said can­di­dates needed good class­room and home­work ethics, to show lead­er­ship in class and cocur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, and have an in­ter­est in the out­doors.

Sinead Wafer, of Aotea Col­lege said that by the end the week-long course, she had far more con­fi­dence and had made firm friend­ships among her group.

One of the ex­er­cises was to climb and walk along a 10-me­tre­plus tall wall.

‘‘I was re­ally strug­gling with that,’’ she said. ‘‘If I had tried it on the first day, I might not have been able to com­plete it.’’

How­ever, hav­ing bonded with her team and her course buddy, she had the con­fi­dence to take it on suc­cess­fully, she said.

‘‘ We had made re­ally good friend­ships with var­i­ous peo­ple and you knew they were re­ally there to pro­tect you when you were walk­ing along the wall.’’

Mr Mor­ri­son said the Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre rep­re­sented the shal­low end of the pool, where par­tic­i­pants were en­cour­aged to push them­selves, in con­trast to Out­ward Bound- type cour­ses, where they were thrown in the deep end.

Brit­tany Turner said she had to sleep next to the food dur­ing the overnight tramp.

‘‘ The boys were too scared be­cause of the threat of rats,’’ she said.

The high rope ac­tiv­i­ties were mem­o­rable for her.

‘‘We had to set our­selves up, tie on a rope to our­selves, climb to the top and then swing down. We had to be­lay each other.’’

For Mar­garet Aue, the wa­ter day was a high­light, kayak­ing and raft­ing on the Ton­gariro River, where the teams con­structed their own rafts from in­ner tubes. For many from her group it was the first time they had tried the ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘For some it was their first time away from home,’’ she said.

Photo: JIM CHIPP

City slick­ers: Some Aotea Col­lege pupils who have at­tended the Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary Out­door Pur­suits Cen­tre this year. From left, Sinead Wafer, Brit­tany Turner, Daniel Drum­mond, Ryan McBride and Mar­garet Aue.

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