Book Now

Award Winners Tell Their Stories

See what some of the lucky recipients of the Cora Wilding Memorial Award have achieved.



Robbie Francis

Robbie received funds for an Institute of Directors Governance Essentials course. By the end of the course, Robbie developed a good understanding of relationships, robust processes, decision-making skills, and the main elements of Board operations. The course has already proven extremely useful for the governance roles Robbie is involved in, particularly throughout the uncertain times of Covid-19.

Theo McIntosh

Theo was funded to take part in an Outward Bound Mind, Body and Soul course, and found great benefit in it. His group worked well together, despite having different backgrounds, abilities, needs, wants and fears, which all added to the experience. Theo discovered the opportunity for leadership when facing setbacks and defeat, and he expressed the course was one of the most formative experiences of his life - it will stay with him forever in so many ways.



Recipients from Rangi Ruru Girls School

Students at this school were successful in their application for funds towards their Young Enterprise project - the publication of a cookbook called Spoonful of Spice. The book includes interviews and recipes from refugees and migrants. All proceeds go back into local refugee communities in South Christchurch.

Thomas James

Thomas received funds towards his participation in a Spirit of Adventure development voyage. This voyage helped Thomas develop the skills needed for his eventual goal of facilitating outdoor education trips to serve community groups.



Gemma Black

Gemma attended Outward Bound's 21-day Mind, Body & Soul course in order to bring back skills to the groups she leads at high school. She took this course as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Gold residential project. After completing the course in December 2017, Gemma wrote to us about her experience:

"During the course I learnt a great deal about myself, and also the other members of my watch (my group of 12 other students). I learnt how crucial teamwork is, and that to get a job done; every body in the team must be a leader in their own way." 

Joanna Tao

Joanna was chosen to represent New Zealand through the youth-run organisation Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institution at the 2018 United Nation's Climate Change Conference in December.



Hannah Overbye

Hannah applied for the Cora Wilding Award during Year 12 of her high school education, hoping to attend the "Mind, Body, Soul" course with Outward Bound. 

As an athlete and future school prefect, Hannah was up for the challenges that come with 21 days of physical activity, remote locations, unfamiliar tasks, and connection with her course-mates.

Of the many things Hannah learned on the course, she noted:

"I now am aware of the effect we have on the environment and I will take care to recycle and put my rubbish in the bin and teach others to actually care because it does matter. Outward Bound sparked a curiosity in me about the environment and finding solutions to polluted water ways for example, so I may one day educate myself on environmental science thanks to your help."


Eva Maffey

Eva, an 18 year old secondary school student, was awarded $3,600 towards attending the 2016 THIMUN, or The Hague International Model United Nations, which is a week-long conference held in the Netherlands.

Eva remarked, "I was honoured to be supported by my fellow New Zealanders’ and I intend to let what I learnt and experienced feed into my community for the rest of my life."

Phillipa Benton

Phillipa attended a First Aid course to refresh her knowledge and receive up-to-date training. The First Aid certificate covered a range of training including CPR, Safe Scene Management, assessment of emergency situations and bleeding, shock, fractures, sprains, burns and poisoning. Upon the revalidation of her certificate, Phillipa is now able to implement this knowledge into an a potential emergency situation that might happen at any time within a community.


Scott Partridge

Scott received funds for a 10-day Youth Development Voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand. 

Scott summarised his experience, "My voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand was everything I wanted it to be and more! I learnt leadership skills, navigation, knot tying and sailing skills. I also learnt that I had the courage and skills to make my own way to the Auckland base of the Spirit of New Zealand without adult help. I made a large number of new friends. I found that I was able to really push my limits, especially when faced with a long, hot and strenuous trek on Great Barrier Island. I would definitely recommend this journey to anyone, it was a fantastic adventure and one that I will never forget."

Amy Platt

Amy was awarded a scientific diving course as part of her studies of biological sciences at University of Waikato.


Elise Janssen attended Outward Bound and Marleen Bailing attended the Australasian Wildlife Management Conference.


Chapman Kutia attended Outward Bound's Mind, Body & Soul course.


Scott Dunn travelled to Finland as an exchange student.


Michelle Payton used her award to work towards her Diploma in Counselling and Catherine Winfrey put her award towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting.

Red Kettle, Oamaru from the seventies Learn more

Our Heritage

Learn more

Franz Josef solar installation Read more

YHA's Mission and Values

Read more