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Five Kiwis Set to Create a World First

Five Kiwis Set to Create a World First

Mekong River is the destination for five young Kiwi adventurers who were today named as the successful team to take part in the first SPARC Hillary Expedition worth up to $100,000.

The successful team will begin their journey - the first human-powered traverse of the Mekong River from source to sea - at the end of June.

The SPARC Hillary Expedition received over 70 applications from passionate New Zealanders with a huge variety of expeditions proposed.

Mark France, General Manager Physical Recreation, said the Mekong Expedition was exceptional. " The Mekong Expedition is an inspirational journey. The team are an experienced group of individuals who submitted a thorough plan. We had some fantastic applications but the Mekong proposal was outstanding.

" One of the key objectives of the SPARC Hillary Expedition is to encourage young people to see physical activity as an option for them. SPARC Hillary adventurers will encourage young Kiwis to set their sights high, dream big dreams and embark on a lifetime of physical activity. There has been a downward trend in the number of young people being active. This expedition will show them a whole new range of activities they can get involved in. "

The expedition will be tracked on a website. Education resources will be provided for years seven and eight. Teachers will be able to download lesson plans and students will be able to follow the team ' s progress, ask questions and receive feedback via email.

The five team members have a huge breadth of experience in the outdoors both in New Zealand and overseas. The team members are spread throughout New Zealand. Rosalind Wood, a fifth year medical student is based in Auckland; Craig Stewart currently based in Auckland is off to Greenland on a contract for the British Antarctic Survey; Ricky Benson is an engineer based in Whakatane; Kaaren and Jeph Mathias live in Christchurch where both Kaaren and Jeph are doctors and parents to three young children.

Rosalind Wood, spokesperson for the Mekong Expedition says " this is an enormously exciting opportunity for us. We are New Zealanders, passionate about life and wilderness. As children others led us into adventures and the SPARC Hillary Expedition provides a huge opportunity for us to show the next generation of young people what they can do. Our dream is turning into reality and maybe one day so will theirs " .

The expedition is also being sponsored by MacPac. MacPac believe that when surrounded by nature, having the confidence to extend yourself beyond your own personal boundaries comes from a belief in the quality and performance of your gear.

The Mekong River expedition will be the first full traverse of the Mekong River from source to sea. The journey will begin on the Tibetan plateau in the remote Chinese province of Qinghai. The team will travel through Tibet, Laos and Cambodia before they reach the sea in Vietnam. For more details on the expedition and profiles of the team click on

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