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NZ Alpine Club Volunteers Scoop Three Outdoor Awards

New Zealand Alpine Club volunteers scoop three awards at New Zealand Recreation Association Outdoor Awards in Wellington.

The outstanding efforts of New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) volunteers were recognised at New Zealand Recreation Association Outdoor Awards, held in Wellington on Monday night. NZAC volunteers and programmes scooped three of the six categories, with YMCA Christchurch taking the other three awards on offer.

NZAC was awarded the Visitor Solutions Outstanding Event Award for the Sustainable Summits Conference 2016 and the YMCA Outstanding Programme Award for the NZAC National Youth Camp. John Cocks of NZAC took out the NZAC Outstanding Volunteer Award, highlighting his substantial contribution to the organisation and outdoors community over a 40-year period.

NZAC General Manager, Karen Tait says “The winning of these awards is an excellent achievement for NZAC, which directly highlights the depth and commitment of our volunteers.”

John Cocks has made an outstanding contribution in many roles at NZAC, including as a past President. He has served for long periods on both the national Recreational Advocacy Committee and the Accommodation Committee, and played an important part in the rebuild of the club’s flagship Unwin lodge at Aoraki Mount Cook.

Cocks and Dave Bamford put in countless volunteer hours to make the Sustainable Summits Conference, which hosted 120 worldwide delegates at Aoraki Mount Cook in 2016, an outstanding success. The conference, hosted for the first time outside the United States, brought together the outdoors community to discuss sustainable practices in the mountains and the future challenges faced in this changing landscape. The team of volunteers, led by Bamford and Cocks, organised the event with sustainability and safety in mind. Bamford and Cocks are also involved as advisors for the next conference, to be held in 2018 in Chamonix, France.

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The NZAC youth climbing camp team led by Tony Burnell, John Entwisle and John Hammond have encouraged hundreds of youths with their climbing. Each year they take a group of 20 school-age kids climbing for a week at locations not usually accessible to them. In 2016 they were in Queenstown and in 2017 they will base themselves in Wanaka. The popularity of the programme has increased and registrations are now filling six months in advance, with a growing wait list.

Tait says “We are really lucky to have people like these willingly volunteering their time to enhance the outcomes of New Zealand climbing with such exciting events and sustained commitment. The really amazing thing is that these outstanding volunteers are not unique in our organisation as we have a whole community working really hard from the regional to the national level.”

She says “It is wonderful to have the opportunity to celebrate these achievements at the NZRA Outdoors Awards, and highlight to the wider public the importance of our community. Outdoor recreation is a key part of New Zealand’s heritage, and our organisation and volunteers are attempting to fill an increasing demand from the population with less funding from Government. I am just so pleased the NZAC can count on these volunteers to step up and lead grassroots programmes to help fulfil some of this demand.”



The New Zealand Alpine Club was formed in 1891 and aims to promote and support climbing at all levels within New Zealand. The club has 4000 members, twelve regional sections and five full-time staff based at its headquarters in Christchurch. The scope of its activities are broad including publishing, the provision of 17 alpine huts and base lodges, instruction, events, advocacy, insurance and support for overseas climbing expeditions.

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