As part of our 2023 Inspiring Explorers™ programme the Trust hosted our Explorer Conference in June this year, inspiring 100 students from New Zealand schools in South Auckland who are part of the AIMHI network (Achievement in multi-cultural High Schools).
Students heard from inspirational speakers including Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, Chief Executive of Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, who opened the Conference and encouraged students to develop an ‘explorer mindset,’ embracing traits including curiosity, resilience, and teamwork.
Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i, a master navigator on multiple double hulled waka voyages, drew on the wisdom of Pacific star navigators to enable students to celebrate diversity, whakapapa (lineage or family history), and personal visions of success in a stunning key note address.
The students also participated in workshops led by six of the Trust’s Inspiring Explorers’ alumni, who shared their stories and experiences. Brando Yelavich, the first Kiwi to circumnavigate the New Zealand coastline on foot and a 2018 Inspiring Explorer, motivated the students to explore the world around them, saying, “Every time you fail, you accumulate resilience; there’s no finding yourself—only creating yourself.”
Inspiring Explorer William Pike, who lost his leg in an eruption on Mount Ruapehu, shared his journey of overcoming challenges and going on to climb Mount Scott in Antarctica with the Trust. Troy Sanday from De La Salle College found William’s story inspiring, “William didn’t let the challenges stop him and I thought he was very brave.”
Laura Andrews shared what she learned during the Trust’s 2022 expedition to the South Pole in a workshop titled ‘Who’s in your waka?’, emphasising the importance of teamwork for achieving ambitious goals. Oscar Hayhow from Rosehill College found hearing from the Inspiring Explorers’ alumni eye-opening. “Do better and keep moving was a message I heard a lot today. Hearing how others overcame challenges gives you good perspective. Just give it a go.”
Putting their newfound knowledge into action, the students engaged in a session at Wero Whitewater Park, constructing and paddling rafts. Treannah Truong-Truiai from Pakakura High School experienced rafting for the first time. “It was hard but we worked as a team and, most importantly, all finished together,” said Treannah.
Francesca Eathorne, Executive Director said, “It’s been fantastic to see these young explorers step out of their comfort zone. Our Inspiring Explorers alumni have loved sharing their stories – hopefully inspiring these students to answer the call to explore, to overcome their challenges – developing their explorer mindset.”