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HRH The Duke Of Edinburgh's Tour Of Aotearoa New Zealand Concludes In Pōneke And Ōtautahi

The Duke completes final official engagements in Aotearoa leg of Asia-Pacific tour

Wellington, Saturday 18 November 2023— The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award in Aotearoa New Zealand marked its 60th anniversary with a special reception at Government House in Wellington on Saturday evening. This unique event served as an expression of gratitude to the countless volunteers whose tireless dedication has been the cornerstone of the Award's enduring success.

The event was hosted by Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, and attended by The Duke of Edinburgh, Global Patron of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

Emma Brown, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award, said: "Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award. Their passion, dedication, and tireless commitment are the driving force behind the Award's success. A passionate Award Leader can make a huge difference in the lives of young people, inspiring them to achieve their full potential and become responsible, confident, and kind citizens of the future. We owe an immense debt of gratitude to these remarkable individuals who have selflessly dedicated their time and energy to empower our youth and shape a brighter tomorrow." -

The event also marked the announcement of the inaugural Exceptional Service Awards, honouring extraordinary contributions within the volunteer Award community. Each recipient had been nominated by fellow members of the Award whānau, and were presented with a special pounamu, carved for the occasion.

Photo Credit: Rohan Krishnan / Kaleido Studios

The 2023 Exceptional Service Award recipients are:

Chris Allan (Joshua Foundation, Christchurch)

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Chris Allan's meticulous and dedicated work at the Joshua Foundation in Christchurch has enabled countless participants to complete their Awards, making a substantial impact on their lives and communities. He is recognised as a true champion for his unfailing commitment to rangatahi and the broader community.

Robyn Bruce (Otamatea High School, Maungaturoto)

Robyn Bruce, an Award Leader at Otamatea High School. Her commitment and dedication have made her an exceptional role model and an inspiration to everyone she works with.

Vicki Crawford (Blue Mountains College, Tapanui)

Vicki Crawford has led the Award program at Blue Mountains College since 2005. Her dedication to empowering the next generation and nurturing responsible, confident, and kind citizens of the future is truly remarkable.

Leonie King (Wellington East Girls' College)

Leonie King transformed the Award program at Wellington East Girls' College, making it accessible to hundreds of young students, including those in the supported learning class, Te Aka. Her advocacy and commitment have opened doors for young individuals with disabilities, providing life-changing opportunities and achievements.

Gerry Purcell (Outdoor Training New Zealand, Bay of Plenty)

Gerry Purcell's exceptional dedication to the Award extends to supporting young people in the Bay of Plenty region, often going above and beyond to ensure participants achieve their goals. His selflessness and impact on countless adolescents make him a standout volunteer.

Hamish Bell (St Andrew's College, Christchurch)

Hamish Bell has been instrumental in supporting St. Andrew's College students to participate in the Award program. His enthusiasm and positivity have inspired the school community to fully engage in and celebrate their successes.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award in Aotearoa New Zealand extends its heartfelt congratulations to these outstanding volunteers for their invaluable contributions. Their unwavering commitment to the growth and development of young people is a testament to the enduring spirit of Manawatakitahi – hearts beating as one.

Christchurch, Sunday 19 November 2023— HRH The Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, on Sunday morning to meet and engage with over 100 young Cantabrians.

A Green Tribute: Planting a Legacy

On Sunday morning, the serene landscape of Christchurch's Port Hills bore witness to a momentous tree planting event. Award participants gathered to plant 60 Black Matipo trees, commemorating the 60th anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

This initiative followed the earlier planting of 100 Red Matipo trees, honouring His Royal Highness The Prince Philip’s centenary.

This green tribute not only added to the city's natural beauty but also embodied a commitment to environmental sustainability and the enduring legacy of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

Celebrating Success: HRH The Duke of Edinburgh Joins Award in Action Event in Christchurch

The scenic Southshore Spit Reserve became the backdrop for a jubilant gathering of over 100 young New Zealander and The Duke of Edinburgh. The occasion celebrated the resilience and accomplishments of youth participants engaged in The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

During the afternoon young people from a number of schools and youth organisations across Christchurch showcased a range of different activities, including shell art, touch rugby and camp skills.

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger attended the festivities, and said: “It’s been fantastic to welcome His Royal Highness to Christchurch and to celebrate some of the incredible Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award activity taking place in and around Canterbury.”

Emma Brown, CEO of The Award, said: "This was an incredible day filled with energy and talent, and was a momentous way to conclude His Royal Highness’ official engagements in Aotearoa. The dedication of the Award participants and the support from our partner schools and organisations made it a truly memorable occasion and a lovely culmination to our Award celebrations.”

“These events not only signify a commitment to environmental conservation and youth empowerment but also highlight the ongoing legacy of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in fostering positive change and personal development among today's youth. We thank all those who have contributed to the 60th celebrations over the last four days, and wish The Duke safe travels as he continues his Asia-Pacific tour.”

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has concluded his official engagements in the Aotearoa leg of his Asia-Pacific trip, continuing through Australia and Indonesia to meet Award participants, volunteers and supporters.

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