Sir Ed’s legacy to Porirua teens
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.
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.