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$5000 Personal Development Award Applications Now Open

By YHA New Zealand

New Zealand: Applications for YHA New Zealand’s $5000 Cora Wilding Memorial Award are now open. The award provides a grant of up to $5000 toward the cost of participation in a personal development training course or project that will benefit both the recipient and their community. Applications are open until 30 June 2019.

The award reinforces YHA New Zealand’s founding mission to motivate and inspire young people to pursue personal development by exploring New Zealand and the outdoors. It has been presented annually for over twenty years, demonstrating YHA’s long-standing commitment to being an active member of its community.

2018 saw two winners share the $5000 grant. Thomas James undertook the 10 Day Youth Development voyage on board the Spirit of New Zealand, while four Year 12 students at Rangi Ruru Girls School received funds to publish a book containing recipes and interviews from refugees and migrants in the Christchurch community. Past awards have been granted to support winners in attending the Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN), Outward Bound, first aid courses, and more.

Thomas James reported back on his 10 day experience on board the Spirit of New Zealand. He reflected on how privileged he felt to have this opportunity, and how he gained confidence, interpersonal communication skills and leadership skills, along with an increase in his sailing skill set.

“I came to understand that being an effective leader in my community means listening and valuing other people’s perspectives; it means encouraging and inspiring other people to achieve,” says Thomas. “The leadership model I experienced on the Spirit of New Zealand has led me to believe that if we want to encourage people to protect our environment, we need to do more than just explaining the importance of protecting it. We need to help people create a connection with it which in turn will inspire them to commit to protecting it.”

With an emphasis on serving the community, the Awards Committee evaluate applications on three factors: how the course will help the applicant make a difference in their community; how well the application aligns with YHA New Zealand’s charitable aims and objects; and if the applicant could achieve their goal without this funding.

YHA New Zealand’s Corporate Services Manager, Maureen McCloy, says, “This award is a part of YHA’s heritage and, over the years, we’ve witnessed these grants make a real difference in the lives of the awardees. We’re delighted to play a part in their personal development and we look forward to presenting the Cora Wilding Memorial Award again this year.”

The award was established to perpetuate the memory of Cora Wilding who founded YHA New Zealand in 1932. The award is granted to a maximum of two individuals in any year.

Read more about the award and how to apply:

About YHA New Zealand

The Youth Hostels Association of New Zealand Inc, (YHA New Zealand) is a not-for-profit association that was established in 1932 in Canterbury. With a network of over 35 hostels around the country, YHA New Zealand provides high quality budget accommodation to New Zealanders and international travellers. YHA New Zealand is a committed advocate of sustainable practices. For more information please visit:


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