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Duke of Ed congratulates NCEA Achievers


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (The Award) congratulates secondary school students throughout Aotearoa for their NCEA success as highlighted by Education Minister Chris Hipkins last week.

National Director of The Award, Karen Ross, says students in Aotearoa made the most of 2020 despite the COVID lockdown.  “We noticed a similar trend with our Award participants who had high levels engagement with their Award progress during lockdown and for the remainder of 2020.”

“What was really inspiring was the marked increase in Award participants connecting with their local communities.  While our COVID response research reported people feeling the impact of COVID, our rates of Award progress and completion reflect rangatahi’s commitment to being part of the response,” says Karen.

More than ever, the attributes the Award equips rangatahi with - including resilience, adaptability, increased community involvement, improved physical and mental wellbeing along with high employability and personal development - are going to be some of the tools they need to navigate the post COVID landscape.

Demi, who achieved her Gold Award during 2020, says “it made me more determined to use the COVID lockdown time productively, I sought ways to adapt my Award activity to the circumstances and use the tools available to connect like Zoom. I was determined to keep my goals on schedule.”

Many of our Award participants learnt through the COVID lockdown to adapt to adversity, support their local communities and have inspiring outcomes.

One of these participants was Blue Mountains College student Sydney Robertson from Tapanui.  She found ways of supporting her community through taking groceries to elderly people, delivering Meals on Wheels and being an essential worker at her local Four Square.

Xavier from Whangaparoa College was another inspiring young person who went the extra mile to help others during the challenges of 2020.  He did voluntary work at Love Soup, an organisation who provide food for those in need.

The latest in-depth research undertaken by the Award has provided solid evidence of the benefits gained through doing the Award -

  • The research quantifies the wellbeing benefits that Award participants gain through doing voluntary community work at $7.5 million per year.
  • The value of their volunteering hours to the community is estimated at $1.9 million per year.
  • Another key finding was the social value of improved physical health and fitness – this is quantified at $2.5 million per year.


For further information and comment, please contact:

Karen Ross, National Director

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +64 27 230 8868 


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