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Spirit of New Zealand Sponsorship

The Spirit Competition - Why I Do It!

Whether you know it as the Spirit of New Zealand, Spirit of Adventure or simply 'the Spirit', in my eyes it is an iconic Kiwi organisation that I am proud to be associated with.


Since 2014, I have  sponsored a deserving teenager on a 10 day voyage each year and it is now an annual competition.  You are probably wondering why I offer this opportunity?


When I was at school, it was something I always wanted to do but first there was the selection process and then whether your family could afford it - and mine couldn't so I never had the opportunity.  Fast forward many years and in 2009, my son Ben, came home from school and said that in the school notices it said if you wanted to go on the Spirit to go and see one of the deputy principals who was in charge of it.  I asked him if he had the papers and his response was that they wouldn't pick him as he wasn't top at anything so wasn't really noticed.  I told him to go the next day, he did and no one had been in to enquire - so he was given the papers and, as they say, 'the rest is history'.  


Ben headed off 'ten foot tall and bullet proof' like a lot of teenagers - even if they aren't really feeling that way - and came back a confident and more appreciative person.  Three years later, when he should have been earning money to get through farming college he took two weeks and went to Whangarei to help with the 'Spirit' refit, there was no remuneration and he reckons he picked at putty for two weeks - I am sure there was much more to it than that - but he said it was cool to give back to such a fantastic organisation.  The following year - 2013 - was the tall ships race from Sydney to Auckland which the 'Spirit' was taking part in and Ben wasn't going to miss that opportunity.  By this time he was living in Southland, just out of farming college and doing temp work until he went to Sydney but wanted to secure a full time job while needing a month off.  He applied for three jobs on one day, all commented on the Spirit of Adventure being on his CV and all offered him a job with the month off for the trip.  He was amazed how well respected the organisation is even in the deep south miles away from it's home.  I went to Sydney with him and watch the flotilla of tall ships leave - it was a fantastic day that I won't forget.  You can read Ben's story below.


New Years Day 2014 saw us fishing at Great Barrier Island and the Spirit went by and I said to those I was with that I would love to give an opportunity to people who couldn't otherwise get it to go on the Spirit after all it had done for Ben.  Back on land, I put my plan in place and, to date, have sent seven people on voyages - their accounts are here for you to read.


I receive many accolades for my real estate successes but giving out this award each year is one of my highlights.



Ben's Story

October 2009 is when it all started for me on voyage 565, 10 days on a boat with no one I know and no contact with anyone apart with the 39 other trainees and 10 crew. Who would have thought that would be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever come across. In the 10 days I was on the ship I met some amazing people and still keep in touch with some of them today.

In February 2012 I went on a second voyage, voyage 617VP1 which was only a 5 day voyage which was amazing. This voyage was based more on leadership and teambuilding extending on from the youth development of my first voyage. After that voyage I decided to sign up to the voyagers club, I then got asked to go back as a leading hand in June 2012 on a 5 day trophy voyage which I was part of the crew and helped out with all the activities with the trainees. I then helped out with the ships refit in October 2012 for 2 weeks which was really enjoyable and also felt like I gave back to the trust after all they have done for my voyages I have done.

More recently I participated in the international tall ships festival on board the Spirit of New Zealand in the first tall ships race from Sydney to Auckland in October 2013. That has to have been one of the best adventures I have ever been on and it was an experience of a lifetime to be part of such a big event. From the moment I got to Sydney and saw all the tall ships and activities to the day we left Sydney was amazing, all the tall ships and spectator craft sending us on our way was overwhelming. When I woke up on the second day and couldn’t see land or any other ships I realised there was no turning back and we were committed until the end. Seven long days of not seeing land and being on the 12-4 watch once in the dark and stormy weather and once in the day over and over again, it did not seem like we were getting anywhere but to see land was indescribable. We finished the race in third place and then showed 5 other foreign tall ships around the Bay of Islands and the Hauraki Gulf. Coming into Auckland harbour the day before Labour Weekend was amazing, the spectator craft joined us off Whangaparaoa Peninsula and as we got closer to Auckland the crowd got bigger both on the water and the likes of North Head and any other vantage points. It was an amazing feeling to be a part of such a huge event.

I have been very surprised coming into the workforce and finding out how highly respected the trust is and that employers have encouraged me to stick with the voluntary side of things with the trust. I wouldn’t be able to thank the Spirit of Adventure Trust enough for what they have done for me and I can only hope to go back on the ship again soon. 

Previous Voyage Winners and Their Stories



Spirit of Adventure - Voyages 661 and 676