Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award is a voluntary and non-competitive programme which provides young people with a balanced programme of personal challenges. The award program was instigated by The Duke of Edinburgh in 1963 and has since been adapted to meet the different conditions of various countries around the world – in this case becoming the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award for New Zealand.

The Award operates on three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Achieving an Award recognises that the person has regularly participated in and improved their ability in a non-physical Skill and a Physical Recreation activity, has contributed to their community through regular voluntary Service and has completed an Adventurous Journey. This range of challenges is aimed at assisting personal development and extending personal horizons. The Gold Award also requires a residential week of service and/or learning.

While it is possible to gain an Award at any age between 14 and 25 it is usually more convenient to complete the requirements for these Awards during school years. At that stage, many students are already engaged in learning skills and participating in regular sport or fitness, thus completing award requirements with minimal additional time.   After school years many people lose contacts and become even busier, making meeting the requirements that little bit more difficult.

South Westland Area School has only recently begun offering the Duke of Edinburgh award to students, but has a supportive team of kaiako, many with back country experience. We encourage students in Year 10 to complete their Bronze Award as a starting point. This places them in a very good position to continue and complete their Gold Award by the end of Year 13. Participating in these Awards provides the opportunity to extend personal and team skills, and raise awareness of and respect for various organisations within our West Coast society and further across country. Gaining an award recognises that the student can manage administrative tasks, is reliable, is individually motivated, can work supportively within a team and has both physical and mental endurance. Having an Award can be a valuable addition to any CV, often giving an edge in an employer’s hiring choice.

Full details are available on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award website www.dofehillary.org.nz.