Wānaka Sun       

MAC student goes exploring

Posted at 6:44am Thursday 05 Nov, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

Ben Hilton of Mount Aspiring College had the chance of a lifetime when he was chosen to attend the Inspiring ExplorersTM Summit 2020, hosted by the Antarctic Heritage Trust in Christchurch last week.

Twenty year seven and eight students from across the country spent the weekend with the Trust and Kiwi explorer William Pike, who lost his leg in the 2007 Mt Ruapehu eruption.

Over the weekend the students rode in a Hagglund, visited the International Antarctic Centre and Canterbury Museum, camped out overnight, met penguins, experienced the Trust's new virtual reality experience of Sir Edmund Hillary's Antarctic hut and learnt about the early Antarctic explorers, including Scott, Shackleton and Hillary.

Ben said: “Sir Edmund Hillary went outside his comfort zone and went up a mountain for the first time. So it's important to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself because if we didn't, we wouldn't do anything new.

“I really enjoyed the weekend, and the best thing I learned about Antarctica is that the temperature isn't the only thing that makes you cold, it's also the wind.

“Antarctica is important to us because it's what cools the planet. Whatever happens to Antarctica will affect the whole world,” he said.

The Trust's Executive Director Nigel Watson said empowering the Shackletons and Hillarys of the future forms a crucial part of the Trust's commitment to engaging and inspiring a new generation of explorers.

“We know that the pandemic has thrown our young people many curveballs, and we hope this Summit helps foster a spirit of exploration as we face these challenges together. Learning about how the Antarctic explorers faced tremendous adversity while furthering science and exploration in the world's most extreme environment provides plenty of inspiration to help tomorrow's youth meet the challenges of our changing world.”

Underpinning the Inspiring Explorers' programme was a commitment from participants to being open-minded and curious about the world we live in.

“We encourage these young explorers to step out of their comfort zones, pushing them to overcome challenges and work as a team – all things the early Antarctic explorers had to do.”

Read edition 999 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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