Cora Wilding Memorial Award

Learn to sail, become a skydive instructor or even learn to fly a plane - whatever your personal goals are, this is your opportunity to get out there and do it.

The Cora Wilding Memorial Award is all about helping people reach their goals. The Award provides the opportunity for someone to participate in a personal development training course of their choice.

The award was established to perpetuate the memory of Cora Wilding, the founder of the Association. It comprises a subsidy (up to $2600) towards the cost of participation in a personal development training course, for a maximum of two individuals in any year. It also includes a free one year membership to YHA New Zealand.

Applications are now open and will be accepted up to 30 June 2014.

Click here for more information on the application process.

Past Recipients

In 2013 the Award went to two people.

Marleen Baling of Auckland

In November Marleen Bailing attended the Australasian Wildlife Management (AWMS) Conference at Palmerston North. The conference included the main symposium on Advances in Australasian Reintroduction Biology 1993-2013, and it attracted 122 attendants from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK and South Africa. It covered a variety of topics from novel techniques in conservation management, to updates on current research in wildlife reintroductions.

Marlene gave a talk about a project she had worked on with the Friends of Matakohe-Limestone Island. The conference ended with a group discussion on future direction for Australasian reintroduction biology. It was agreed that there should be another book published from this conference, and as one of the presenters, she will be contributing to a chapter of the book.

After the conference we received the following email from Marlene:
I would like to thank the Cora Wilding Memorial Award for such a great opportunity, which I would have not been able to do without their support. As this is the first time I have attended this Society’s conference I was amazed with the number of projects and variety of efforts that have been done in reintroduction biology, particularly overseas. I have personally grown a lot from this conference and especially learned much from one-on-one discussions with other attendees. I have also taken in many alternate perspectives on different topics raised in this conference and will apply them to existing and future projects I will be involved in.

Elise Janssen of Auckland

Elise attended the Outward Bound School Leaders course in January 2014. She was encouraged by the Dean of her School to attend this Outward Bound programme as the course has a unique focus on gaining the leadership skills required for active involvement and success in Year 13 leadership and making a positive contribution to society.

We received the following email from Elise when she returned from her adventure: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go to Outward Bound with the help of the Cora Wilding Award. I loved the opportunity to meet lots of young people from all over New Zealand and to find ways to work together in such a fantastic outdoor environment. The course has given me real motivation, helped build my confidence and taught me various techniques and approaches that I will be able to use throughout my future experiences especially as a prefect and coach at my school this year.The course was an amazing 21 days that will not be forgotten.

2012 - Chapman Kutia from Gisborne

Chapman Kutia was awarded the grant in 2012 to attend the Mind Body & Soul course at Outward Board. In December we received the following letter from him.

Kia Ora It’s me Chapman!!

I have actually arrived to start my 21 day adventure in the Marlborough Sounds with Outward Bound. On my list of things to do was this note of thanks to the Cora Wilding Memorial Awards Committee. Your generous award was a significant amount and I am truly grateful that you have supported me to attend this amazing place!! With your help I have been able to come here to challenge myself and open my eyes to another world.I have a pretty jam packed few weeks coming up but it’s all good! I will be home just in time for Christmas, so I would like to wish each of you and your respective whanau an awesome Christmas and holiday time, with plenty of time to relax and chill out.So once again, thanks a whole lot for contributing towards this opportunity, I am really grateful.
Nga mihi nui - Chapman

2011 - Scott Dunn

Scott was a 16 years old when he was chosen by his school as an exchange student to Finland. The Awards Committee was particularly impressed with the hard work Scott had already put into fundraising towards the total costs of the exchange. They were delighted to award him the full $2500 that is the Cora Wilding Memorial Award, believing that his exchange aligns well with YHA's emphasis on youth travel and learning.

Scott travelled to Finland and enjoyed all the new experience that this opportunity provided. We were delighted to receive a letter from Scott shortly after arriving in Finland, here's what he had to say:

I feel very honoured and grateful to receive The Cora Wilding Award. I’m sure there were  many deserving applicants, and thank you very much as I am in Finland realising my dream as an exchange student. Even though my family is very supportive, we could not have financed this exchange ourselves so we are very grateful for your contribution.

I arrived on the 2nd of August after two days flying. I stopped off in Sydney, then again in Abu Dhabi, next stop over was in Frankfurt which is the biggest Airport in the world I think. I had to take a train to my next flight and then to Helsinki Finland.
I stayed the night in Helsi
nki with Y.U.F coordinators, then all the other exchange students arrived the next day. We all then went on an orientation camp for three days in Anjalankoskia, where we learnt what to expect as an exchange student and about Finland. After camp all the hosts arrived to pick up the exchange students. We left to start our exchanges in the places we will be living for the next eleven months. I am in Mikkeli with my host Father Mauno we are getting on well. I have two host sisters and a host brother.  This week I have met with my teachers at my new school and had a look around my new city.                     Scott Dunn


In 2010 this Award was granted to two people who both used their award to pay for tertiary study in 2011.

Michelle Payton

Michelle used her award to fund her first year of study for a  Diploma in Counselling. Michelle volunteers for Victim Support and the skills she will gain from this diploma will be applied immediately to assist the people she comes into contact with as a Support Worker.

Catherine Winfrey

Catherine has put her award towards the fees for a Postgraduate Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting. This course focuses on improving practical skills, with a strong focus on developing skills for interpreting in medical, legal, and educational settings. The better she is able to interpret the better access to information and services her clients will have.


Megan Hills, a 16 year old from New Plymouth, used her award to attend the Body, Mind and Soul course run by Outward Bound.