Toby Beisly has just become the first mountaineer ever to receive the University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship, following in the footsteps of one of the world’s greatest adventurers. The former Tongariro Area School head boy is extremely proud to be the first mountaineering recipient, as Sir Edmund Hillary is an inspiration for the young climber.
“It feels very special to be the first mountaineering scholar, especially for an award named after such an incredible mountaineer,” Toby says.
Toby grew up travelling the world with his family, living in Dunedin, Greymouth, India and Bolivia, before settling in Turangi for his final schooling years. He fell in love with mountaineering as a young child, spending long periods of time in the mountains on family tramping trips. While in Bolivia at age 10, Toby took advantage of the nearby Andes and even conquered dangerous peaks such as Huayna Potosí.
“My dad is a climber so he’s taught me many skills and we’ve been up a lot of mountains together. I love it because you’re by yourself in a remote location away from civilisation, trying to reach the top of a spectacular peak.”
Driven by his desire to protect the environment, Toby will study a Bachelor of Science at the University of Waikato, majoring in Environmental Sciences. He aspires to work for the Department of Conservation or a similar environmental group once he finishes his studies.
Toby’s next mountaineering goal is to conquer Aoraki (Mount Cook), New Zealand’s highest mountain and an advanced climb.
“I’m looking forward to spending this year improving on my studies and mountaineering, and I’m so grateful for the Hillary Scholarship allowing me to focus on that.”