Trip of a lifetime for two Auckland students

Credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

As part of a new partnership with Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking two Year 13 students kayaking in Antarctica with a kiwi Olympian.

Mele Fetu’u and Lana Kiddie-Vai will be on the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ expedition in early 2019.

The team will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America aboard a One Ocean Expeditions vessel as part of a scheduled expedition.

Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson with Mele Fetu'u and Lana Kiddie-Vai 

Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson, who will lead the expedition, says it will be an unforgettable experience.

“Antarctica has the power to change lives. As well as exploring that magnificent place and learning about the legacy we care for, our Inspiring Explorers will go kayaking under the mentoring of Olympian Mike Dawson and the One Ocean Expeditions’ team. We are very excited.”

More young people aged between 18-30 will also be on the expedition… they are currently being selected from hundreds of applications nationwide.

Nigel Watson says the Trust and Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate have a special connection.

“The school cares for Sir Edmund’s former home in New Zealand (which is now a leadership centre on the Collegiate’s grounds) and the Trust cares for his former home in Antarctica. We share a genuine sense of kaitiakitanga for Sir Edmund’s legacy.”

AHT Executive Director Nigel Watson speaking to guests at the partnership event at Hillary House Leadership Centre.

Nigel and Olympic kayaker and youth ambassador Mike Dawson met the students for the first time last week, at an event held at Hillary House, to celebrate the partnership between the Trust and the Collegiate. Mike says it was a special moment meeting Mele and Lana.

“To get to meet these amazing young people and their families inside the study of Sir Ed’s old home, with members of the Hillary family there, felt pretty special.”

SEHC Senior School Principal Dr Peter Uys and AHT Board Chair Mark Stewart

Lana says the reality of going to Antarctica for the first time is already starting to set in for the two Collegiate students.

“I’m really excited but I’m also a bit nervous. It’s going to be so cold! But that is all what makes it an adventure.”

Through sponsorship provided by the Woolf Fisher Trust, the Trust is also bringing a young teacher from the Collegiate on the expedition. The teacher will be announced along with the rest of the expedition participants in early 2019.

This is the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition following a crossing of South Georgia in 2015, the summiting of Mt Scott in 2017, and the successful 560km crossing of the Greenland ice cap earlier this year. The Trust is partnering with One Ocean Expeditions for the 2019 expedition.

AHT Board Chair Mark Stewart, Lana Kiddie-Vai, AHT Executive Director Nigel Watson, Mele Fetu'u and Mike Dawson

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