2021 – Explorer Conference

Explorer Conference 2021

Antarctic Heritage Trust was excited to deliver our inaugural Explorer Conference on 2 July in Auckland, New Zealand attended by 100 Year 12 students from South Auckland high schools.

The Conference was officially opened by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, who told the students Sir Ernest Shackleton was her childhood hero and urged them not to let a lack of confidence hold them back.

Focused on the explorer qualities of curiosity, resilience, leadership, innovation and teamwork, the conference encouraged students to adopt an explorer’s mindset and have the confidence to step outside their comfort zones.

They heard from inspirational speakers and workshopped topics led by young people who have taken part in the Trust’s Inspiring Explorers Expeditions™.  The students then challenged themselves in action-based learning activities at Vector Wero Whitewater Park.

Trust alumni William Pike, who lost his leg in an eruption on Mount Ruapehu, delivered a keynote speech. William climbed Mount Scott in Antarctica with the Trust in 2017.

“My message is to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid, have the confidence to know that new experiences will make your stronger – don’t let anything hold you back,” he told the students.

For Edgewater College students, Hannah King and Yalda Ahmadi the conference was a day to remember.

“I’ll always remember the Prime Minister saying that you never know what you’re capable of until you try,” said Hannah.

Yalda says the stories the Inspiring Explorers shared were amazing.

“You don’t often hear stories like that. It made me realise that we can dream big and achieve hard things if we set our minds to it,” said Yalda.

Among the Inspiring Explorer alumni was Brando Yelavich who was the first New Zealander to circumnavigate the country on foot, walking the 8,700km coastline. Brando joined the Trust’s expedition to ski across the Greenland ice cap in 2018.

“Through the many different and challenging experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned that achieving your dreams can be as simple as changing your mindset and how you perceive things. I shared some of the times I learned the hard way and urged the students to learn from my mistakes!”

Trust General Manager Operations and Communications Francesca Eathorne says that it was exciting to see the Inspiring Explorers alumni sharing their stories, leading the Conference with passion and confidence and seeing how they engaged with students, encouraging them throughout the day to embrace an explorer mindset.

Thank You

The Trust would like to acknowledge primary supporters Sir Noel and Sue, Lady Robinson, and contributors to the Inspiring Explorers™ Fund for making the Explorer Conference possible.

If you want to help fund more programmes like this, click here.