2024 – April Summit

In April, the Trust’s 2024 Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summit saw 25 students, aged 11-14, from across Aotearoa New Zealand travel to Ōtautahi Christchurch, the country’s Antarctic Gateway City. This action-packed weekend was delivered in partnership with William Pike Challenge, and made possible thanks to the support of our donors, Inspiring Explorers™ programme partner Royal Society Te Apārangi, the United States Antarctic Program, the International Antarctic Centre, and the summit’s major sponsor, the US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand.

The goal of the Summit was to inspire students to develop an explorer mindset by stepping outside their comfort zone, all while fostering a connection with Antarctica and the legacy the Trust cares for.

The students rode in Hägglunds, experienced an Antarctic storm, and met penguins and huskies at the International Antarctic Centre. They connected with Margaret Walrod of the US Embassy, who shared first-hand insights into the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) and highlighted the international cooperation taking place on the Ice. They also tried on Antarctic clothing, learned about Antarctic transportation and living and working on the Ice during a tour of the USAP’s facilities.

The students engaged with Antarctica’s history of exploration through a fun quiz, going on a virtual reality visit to Hillary’s hut at Scott Base, and taking part in an interactive outdoor adventure based on The Worst Journey in the World, Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s 1922 memoir. This book vividly depicts the challenges faced by members of Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition as they sought to collect emperor penguin eggs at Cape Crozier.

Young Inspiring Explorers in a Hägglunds at the International Antarctic Centre. ©AHT/Mark Sanders
Young Inspiring Explorers trying on USAP gear. ©AHT/Anna Clare
Young Inspiring Explorers trying on USAP gear. ©AHT/Anna Clare

The students heard first-hand experiences from those who have spent time working and exploring in Antarctica.

They learned from the Trust’s Building Conservation Programme Manager, Zack Bennett, about conserving the historic explorer bases under the Trust’s care on Ross Island. The session concluded with a building challenge, with students working in teams to construct and then race Antarctic sledges.

They also spent the weekend with Inspiring Explorers™ alumni William Pike and Kaitlyn Martin, who gave inspirational talks. Kaitlyn, also representing our Programme Partner Royal Society Te Apārangi, showcased 360-degree footage from her South Georgia expedition inside an inflatable planetarium dome. William shared his life-changing experience, and how he grew from it to climb Mount Scott with the Trust, encouraging the students to be resilient and challenge themselves.

After the inspiring weekend, the students departed with newfound confidence to tackle life’s upcoming challenges, while gaining insight into the Trust’s efforts to conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration.

“We are honoured to support opportunities for young Kiwis to embrace their inner ‘explorer’ and discover, connect, and grow through Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Inspiring Explorers™ Summits. The United States is a proud partner of New Zealand in Antarctica, and programmes like the Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summits ensure scientific cooperation between our countries continues for years to come.”

United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Tom Udall

Young Inspiring Explorers construct a sledge with assistance from Programme Coordinator Kaitlyn Martin. ©AHT/Anna Clare
Young Inspiring Explorers ready to race their completed sledge. ©AHT/Anna Clare
Inspiring Explorers racing with their sledges. ©AHT/Anna Clare

Special thanks to

The 2024 Young Inspiring Explorers Summit was run in partnership with: