Grateful students: Heads Up for Kids founder Simon Hayes with Great Barrier Island-bound students, back row, from left, Pete Davis, 14, Jess Hudson, 14, Abby Fookes, 13, Alex Murray, 13, and front row, Tom Schenk, 13, Carlos Reuss, 13, Sophie Rasmussen, 14, and Kate Woods, 13


A Queenstown-founded charity’s helping local kids attend the national final of an adventure sports challenge.

Having won the regional Get2Go Challenge in September, eight Year 9 Wakatipu High students are off to the Hillary Outdoors education centre on Great Barrier Island, off Auckland, next month.

The final, from December 6 till 11, incorporates everything from sailing and climbing, to a high ropes course, orienteering, kayaking, raft-building, problem-solving and even search and rescue.

There’s also a two-day expedition across the island on foot and over water.

The trip’s costing $11,380, which the students have fundraised towards with sausage sizzles and tree planting.

Parent Ben Hudson also approached Queenstown Lions Club, whose stalwart member Simon Hayes started Lions’ national Heads Up for Kids Charity 10 years ago.

It’s based on the Reserve Bank redeeming old coins, banknotes and foreign currency and has so far raised about $800,000.

That money’s aimed at funding youth leadership programmes and outdoor education courses.

Following Hudson’s approach, the charity chipped in $5900 to fund the full entry fee.

‘‘These students were truly amazed at the generosity of Lions,’’ parent Beth Fookes says.

As well, Queenstown Rotary and Mackersy Property each gave $1500.

Hudson says: ‘‘The opportunities the final event offers in learning outdoor skills, communication and leadership could benefit these students for life.

‘‘The programme will extend their self-confidence and maturity.’’