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Kiwi adventurer aims to transform young lives
Ashburton Guardian, Canterbury  by Megan Gnad
29 Apr 2017
General News - page 6 - 459 words - ID 766224403 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 487.00cm2


New Zealand mountaineer and adventurer, Graeme Dingle, will be in Ashburton on Tuesday to officially launch his foundation in the district, which aims to "transform young lives forever".

His involvement working with youth began when Dingle and his partner, Jo-anne Wilkinson, returned to New Zealand 21 years ago and were shocked to discover New Zealand had some of the worst youth statistics in the OECD.

In response, they formed The Project K Trust, now known as the Graeme Dingle Foundation, with the goal of improving education, health and well-being by introducing programmes that use the great outdoors, inspirational classroom leaders and world-class mentors.

The Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains first brought the concept to Mid Canterbury, and one of the foundation's programmes, Kiwi Can, has been introduced to Netherby and Wakanui schools.

Dingle will officially launch the foundation in Ashburton on May 2, from 4pm-5pm at the BNZ.

Rotary club new generations director Allan Tait said Dingle will talk about his projects, vision and the hope to extend it further across the district.

"He's an amazing guy," he said.

"The programme's been going one term and they have seen marked changes in their behaviour.

"It teaches respect in the community, honesty, ethics and integrity and we hope to roll it out across Mid Canterbury." Tait said Rotary club members were interested in bringing the foundation's principles to Ashburton because its ideals "parallel what we wanted to do".

Since it started here, Advance Ashburton has come on board, as well Altrusa and St Paul's.

Their next step is to secure community funding to keep the programme running.

The Graeme Dingle Foundation is an established charity that works with almost 18,000 five to 18-year-olds each year throughout New Zealand.

Licensed Community Partners deliver the Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator, Project K and MYND programmes.

Graeme Dingle has more than 50 years' experience in outdoor activities.

He has achieved more than 200 mountaineering and adventuring firsts throughout the world, including the first ascent of all classic European north faces in one season; an incredible 1100km sea, mountain and river traverse from the South Island to Auckland with six convicted violent offenders and a two-stage epic 28,000km circuit of the Arctic. He also has several Antarctic expeditions to his credit which explored new territory and ascended several unclimbed mountains.

He has been awarded an MBE for services to outdoor pursuits, an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) award for his services to youth, the Award of New Zealand for services to Sport & Recreation and a Deloitte Top 200 Visionary Leader Award.

Caption Text:
Left - Graeme Dingle abseiling with one of the project K students. PHOTOS SUPPLIED
Above - Graeme Dingle with his partner and co-founder, Jo-anne Wilkinson.

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