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Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre


A guide to completing your Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award with TOPEC



Experience that lasts a lifetime...

Challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone and discover the world around you.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award is all about getting out there, gaining real life experiences and creating unforgettable memories along the way.

You’ll find yourself helping people in the community, getting fitter, developing skills and going on an outdoor journey in our great Kiwi backyard.

The Award provides you with life skills and qualities that are recognised and sought after by employers and educational institutions worldwide.


What's Involved...


Open to everyone aged 14 to 24 (you can start during the school year that you turn 14).


Bronze, Silver and Gold, each progressively more challenging.


Physical Recreation, Skills, Voluntary Service & Adventurous Journey (plus Residential Project at Gold level only).


Over the required time you’ll need to do each activity for average of an hour per week. You’ll be supervised by an Award Leader and Activity Assessor (Mentor).

Levels in a nutshell...


Starting age: 14 years old, or in the school year you turn 14

Time: Minimum of 26 weeks

Sections: Voluntary Service - 3 months, Physical Recreation - 3 months, Skills - 3 months, Adventurous Journey - prep and training, practice journey, qualifying journey.

(You must also choose one of the sections to undertake a further 3 months of activity (major section)

Silver (15 years or as soon as you have completed Bronze)

Starting age: 15 years old, or once your Bronze Award has been signed off 

Time: Minimum of 26 weeks

Sections: Voluntary Service - 6 months, Physical Recreation - 6 months, Skills - 6 months, Adventurous Journey - prep and training, practice journey, qualifying journey.


Gold (16 years)

Starting age: 16 years old

Time: Minimum of 52 weeks

Sections: Voluntary Service - 12 months, Physical Recreation - 12 months, Skills - 12 months, Adventurous Journey - prep and training, practice journey, qualifying journey, Residential Project.



Sections in a nutshell...


Physical Recreation: Break a Sweat

Participate regularly in a team or individual sport. eg: netball, soccer, athletics, kayaking, kickboxing, running, horse riding, dance.


Skills: Find your Genius

Challenge yourself to improve your skills and widen your interests. eg: learn a musical instrument, learn to drive, drama, photography.


Voluntary Service: Give Back

Give back to your community by regularly volunteering. eg: coach or manage a sports team, volunteer at the SPCA, become a leader at a youth club, volunteer at TOPEC.


Adventurous Journey: Get Wild and Explore

As part of a small team, plan, train for and undertake an expedition or exploration for a set number of days & nights in the outdoors.  You can work towards this section through TOPEC.


Residential Project (Gold Award only): Leave your Comfort Zone 

Attend a residential project and undertake purposeful activity with people who you don't already know. eg: leader at a youth camp, restoration projects, voluntary work with national parks.


How Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre can help you gain your Award...

Open Award Centre:

Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre (TOPEC) is an Open Award Centre for the Greater Taranaki region. This means if you live in this area, you can sign up with TOPEC to do your Award. You will be assigned an Award Leader who will assist you.


Adventurous Journey Provider:

TOPEC runs a range of programmes which covers the training, practice and qualifying journey for all levels of the Award. 

Their upcoming Award programmes are advertised on their website. It's as simple as finding the right programme for you and signing up

Take up the challenge - the Award will give you confidence, problem solving skills and the resilience to thrive in our ever-changing world

Get started today:

Step 1:   Decide which level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award programme you would like to do – this will depend on your age, time commitments etc

Step 2:   Talk to the Award Leader and arrange to register to do your Award programme

Step 3:   Decide with your Award Leader what you are going to do for each section of your Award programme and find an appropriate Assessor who is not a family member

Step 4:   Get started! Don’t forget to log your progress on ORB, our online record book, and ask your Assessors to sign off each section as you complete them

Step 5:   Once your Award programme is complete, speak to your Award Leader who will arrange for you to receive your certificate or badge. They can also advise you about starting the next level of the Award if appropriate.


To find our more, check out:

Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre


Ph: 06 758 0448

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