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Young explorers to kayak Antarctic waters


Sir Edmund Hillary’s grandson, a living kidney donor, and a mum are among a group of young explorers who are heading to Antarctica to take part in an expedition featuring kayaking with New Zealand Olympian Mike Dawson.

New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust has just named the five young people selected
to take part in its 2019 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition.

The Inspiring Explorers had to apply for their places on the expedition and were selected from hundreds of applicants from across New Zealand.

They are accomplished photographer Alexander Hillary (Sir Edmund Hillary’s grandson); living kidney donor and freelance camera operator Leah Stewart; Wellington communications specialist and mum Rosanna Price; Christchurch learning advisor Georgina Archibald; and photographer and sound specialist Marco de Kretser, from Auckland.

The group will join two students and a teacher from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate on the expedition in March. The group will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America aboard a One Ocean Expeditions vessel.

Expedition leader and Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson says once there, the team will go kayaking under guidance from One Ocean’s experts and Mike Dawson, which will be an exhilarating experience.

“They’ll paddle between icebergs and through the pristine playground of whales and seals taking in the sights of Antarctica including penguin colonies and historic bases. It’ll be beautiful but not without its challenges.”

Mike Dawson, who has kayaked in some of the world’s most extreme waters, says this expedition will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

“Antarctica is an exciting, unpredictable and harsh environment, but this is a chance to get to know its history, its wildlife, science and its importance to the world today. I can't wait to share this journey with a group of young enthusiastic explorers who are at the start of their adventuring lives.”

Nigel Watson says the expedition will leave a lasting impression on the group.

“Antarctica has the power to change lives. Such a close and personal experience with Antarctica allows them to connect with the legacy and spirit of exploration. It’s about inspiring a new generation of explorers.

Nigel says the 2019 Inspiring Explorers’ team is an incredible one, and each person will have the opportunity to grow.

“Our Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition programme is about encouraging young people to connect with the spirit of exploration. We ask each team member to share their story to inspire others to explore too. It’s about getting young people out of their comfort zone, off their devices and into the world around us.”

Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate PE teacher Caragh Doherty will accompany Year 13 students, Mele Fetu’u and Lana Kiddie-Vai who were selected to join the expedition late last year under a new partnership between the Trust and the Collegiate. The agreement was inspired by the connection they both share to iconic New Zealander, and the Collegiate’s namesake, Sir Edmund Hillary.

This is the fourth Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition, and follows last year’s successful 560km crossing of the Greenland ice cap, the summiting of Mt Scott in 2017, and the crossing of South Georgia island in 2015.

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