From hockey fields to mountain slopes

21 January 2019

Hockey Hillary Scholar Garrick du Toit. Photo: Kim Wihare Pics.

Hillary Scholar Garrick du Toit will enjoy a change of scenery from the hockey field to the mountain slopes next month.

He’s one of four Step Higher Awardees who will travel to Nepal to fundraise for the Himalayan Trust, trek around the Khumbu Valley (including part of Mount Everest) and volunteer in local schools and hospitals.

The South Africa-born student has just finished his second year of a Bachelor of Engineering, making him one of the youngest of the four scholars selected.

“I’m really looking forward to experiencing a new culture,” Garrick says. “It will be great to see how people live on the other side of the world.”

Garrick has almost met his $1000 fundraising target already, mostly through sales of Outdoor Appetite, a recipe book designed to raise funds for the Himalayan Trust. “I had some great support and encouragement from so many people who are interested in the cause.”

Garrick started at the University of Waikato in 2017, after winning the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship. He says the scholarship has completely changed his life.

“Being a Hillary Scholar puts you into a great community,” Garrick says. “The scholarship really motivates me to do my best – I know I can’t train half-hearted because I want to represent the uni well!”

The talented athlete has been playing hockey since he was ten, after encouragement from his dad. His commitment paid off, securing him a place in the Junior Black Sticks for the past two years.

Garrick’s not entirely new to climbing, having conquered Mount Tongaririo, Mount Ngaruhoe and Mount Maunganui. “I’ve never done anything like the heights we’ll climb in Nepal though – hopefully the hockey fitness will transfer.”

Established in 2005, the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship is worth up to $10,000 a year for full-time undergraduate enrolment, and offers school leaver students personalised academic support, access to leading sports coaches and tutors in the arts, and a tailored leadership and personal development programme.

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