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Celebrating 60 Years of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award

Friday 17 November 2023

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh KG GCVO arrives in Aotearoa New Zealand

Auckland, Thursday 16 November— The Duke of Edinburgh, Global Patron of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, has made the first stop on his Asia-Pacific trip where he’ll meet Award participants, volunteers and supporters across Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. 

The Duke was greeted with a Mihi Whakatau at Blue Light in Auckland, after which he met more than 60 Award participants as they completed a range of activities including high ropes, camp skills and basketball.  

Blue Light partners with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (Duke of Ed) to run it as part of its programme of activities for youth, which focus on reducing offending and encouraging better relationships between the Police, young people, their parents and the community.

Rod Bell, CEO of Blue Light said: “It’s a privilege to be part of celebrating The Duke of Edinburgh’s 60th year anniversary here in New Zealand, and was an honour to welcome His Royal Highness Prince Edward to the Blue Light Youth Centre here in Auckland. With a sense of pride, we celebrated the achievements of 40 wonderfully diverse South Auckland participants who were awarded their Bronze and Silver certificates.” 

HRH then continued a day of Award visits, by surprising young trainees on the Spirit of New Zealand mid-way through a 10-day sailing trip; some of whom are also utilizing the voyage towards their Duke of Ed.

Spirit and the Award are both celebrating anniversaries this year; The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award marks six decades in Aotearoa New Zealand, whilst Spirit celebrates its 50th anniversary.   

The visit is a particularly personal one for The Duke, who attended a Spirit of Adventure voyage as a youth participant during his own Duke of Ed journey, on the Trust’s first ship, Spirit of Adventure. 

On board, The Duke was taken on a tour of the ship by Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Spirit of Adventure alumni, who were able to share their own memories from their own trip. His Royal Highness also got involved, hoisting one of the ships’ 14 sails alongside a cohort of voyage participants. 

Spirit of Adventure Trust CEO Bruce Pilbrow said it was an honor to provide HRH the opportunity to make a short visit to the ship and see the Trust’s youth development work in action, and said: 

“As a former participant, it was great for HRH to have an opportunity to step back on board our ship and re-live the wonderful experience these young New Zealanders get to be a part of. In partnership with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award team, we have collectively been fostering and supporting empowered rangatahi for 110 years”.

Emma Brown, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award, said: 

“It is a pleasure to welcome HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to Aotearoa, especially as we celebrate this phenomenal milestone. Over the past 60 years the Award has enabled more than quarter of a million young New Zealanders to discover their potential, developing essential skills such as resilience, adaptability, communication and problem solving. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and highlight the amazing mahi of so many dedicated individuals – both the volunteers and participants who work so hard to achieve their Award.”

The Duke will be participating in events around the country over the next four days, celebrating 60 years and inspiring growth for the future, as the Award looks to enable even more young people to get involved. 

Photographer Rohan Krishnan from @Kaleidonz