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Adventurer to Tackle Youth Issues

17 December 2009

Adventurer Heads for Rangitoto Island to Tackle Youth Issues

Adventurer, Jamie Fitzgerald, will be taking a well earned break from walking the length of the North Island, when he takes to the water on Monday 21 December to raise awareness of youth issues.

However, the break from walking will be short-lived, as Fitzgerald is set to sail for Rangitoto Island which he will traverse along with a group of young people who have completed Foundation for Youth Development (FYD ) programmes.

Jamie has already completed 436 kms of his journey through the North Island and Auckland is just one of the many stops he and participants of The Big Walk are calling into, as they complete a 3,000 km journey across the country.

Last month, Jamie set off from Cape Reinga while FYD co-founders, Graeme Dingle and Jo-anne Wilkinson, started from Bluff. Both parties are being joined at various stages along the way by young people aged predominantly 16-18 years who have taken part in FYD programmes. They are also being accompanied by experienced wilderness instructors as well as local and national celebrities.

Dingle, who co-founded FYD in 1995, believes a concerted approach is required by everyone – politicians, corporates, healthcare and education providers, and communities alike – to turn around the country’s rates of suicide, unplanned pregnancy, and drug and alcohol use which are among the highest in the western world.1

“Leaders of The Big Walk will be encouraging policy-makers and communities to start talking about how they can best engage young people,” Dingle said.

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“The time for action is now and it will only take a concerted effort at every level of the wider ‘New Zealand community’ before real change can occur.”

The side trip to Rangitoto Island is being supported by the ANZ which is also hosting a series of community events across the country.

ANZ Retail Managing Director Wayne Besant said ANZ is proud to be supporting The Big Walk.

“We’re right behind the goal of developing healthy, confident and successful young New Zealanders.

“We’re supporting the Big Walk by hosting transition points at ANZ branches across the country. We’ll be linking up with the local community to show support as well as providing some good old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality for the hungry walkers.

"ANZers are proud of their commitment to the community and this is another great opportunity for us to get involved,” Wayne said.

ANZ has a long history of supporting the Foundation for Youth Development through its Staff Foundation and volunteer programmes.

To find out more about The Big Walk and to donate funds FYD, go to, www.thebigwalk.org.nz .

1) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Education at a Glance 2009: OECD Indicators, September, 2009

Our Youth Statistics

• 48% describe violence in their home as pretty bad, really bad, or terrible.
• 59% are unhappy with teaching practices at school
• 33% are either overweight or obese.
• 25% truant from school
• 15% of females, and 7% of males reported significant symptoms of depression
• 34% reported binge drinking at least once every four weeks
• 19% of female students and 9% of male students thought seriously about suicide in the past 12 months
• 22% were unable to access healthcare when they needed it
• 10% have no plans for when they leave school
• 71% of female students are worried about gaining weight
• 50% of females, and 33% of males don’t always eat breakfast
• 25% of females and 16% of males had deliberately harmed themselves in the last 12 months.
* Information provided by the Adolescent Health Research Group “Youth’07 Survey”. NZ Deprivation index is based on nine variables measured

Graeme Dingle
Graeme Dingle is one of the world’s leading outdoor adventurers and has achieved hundreds of ‘firsts’ in mountaineering, rock climbing and adventuring throughout the world. He is Executive Trustee of the Foundation for Youth Development, which he co-founded with partner Jo-anne Wilkinson, to give young New Zealanders a combination of community skills, wilderness experiences and mentoring to prepare them for a rewarding life.

He has more than 30 years experience in outdoor activities and has received numerous awards including: an MBE for services to outdoor pursuits, the Award of New Zealand for services to recreation and sport, the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States, the Deloitte Top 200 Companies Visionary Leader Award, Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He is also a life member of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

Graeme has been involved in the production of more than two dozen adventure films, written numerous articles and 11 books.

Jo-anne Wilkinson
Co-founder and Executive Director of The Foundation for Youth Development,
Jo-anne began her career in law after gaining a LLB from Victoria University, Wellington.

She played a key role in the successful introduction of the Kiwi Can and Male Youth New Directions programmes into The Foundation for Youth Development.

Jo-anne is a veteran of outdoors adventures including: 1200km sea kayak and mountain traverse around the New Zealand coast; 4000km traverse of Alaska and the Bering Sea. She has canoed down the Yukon River, undertaken a high altitude circumnavigation of Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru and ascended to 5700m in Western Himalaya.

About the Foundation for Youth Development:
• Aims to inspire all school age New Zealand children to reach their full potential through its three key programmes which comprise:
¨ Kiwi Can - a life skills and values programme for 5-12 year olds (year 1-8), delivered in primary and intermediate schools.
¨ Project K - works with selected Year 10 students identified as having ‘untapped potential’.
¨ Stars - designed to help Year 9 students to make a successful transition into secondary school.
• All three programmes help build self-esteem, promote good values and teach valuable life, education and health skills for children and young adults.
• Approximately 18,000 young people take part in Foundation for Youth Development programmes each year.

Jamie Fitzgerald
Jamie strives for success in everything he does and continues to push boundaries.

He recently become the first ever Kiwi to reach the South Pole unsupported on foot with fellow adventurer Kevin Biggar. Their 52-day expedition came after a world record win in the Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race in 2003. Jamie also holds the world record for crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny row boat, has owned his own business, captained New Zealand rowing crews that competed against Cambridge and Oxford Universities, and has been a bank manager.

He is also in demand as a keynote speaker. He has spoken to over 130,000 New Zealand students between 2004 and 2007.

He is currently a consultant for a change-management business that carries out work globally.


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