New Zealand High Commission Suva, Fiji

Fifth consecutive year of success for the Secondary School Essay Competition

Phillip Taula, Lady June Hillary and Dr Satendra Singh with the supreme winners of the competition

This has been the fifth consecutive year of the Secondary School Essay Competition, organised jointly by the New Zealand High Commission and the Fiji Association in Auckland Inc.

The 2013 topics were – The Legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary and Educational Links between Fiji and NZ.

Over 240 entries were received from schools all over Fiji. 

Students produced impressive and well researched essays, addressing interesting ideas and themes. 

The adjudicators Lady June Hillary and Dr Satendra Singh selected fifteen winners with considerable difficulty as they were impressed by excellent entries from many schools.

During the prize giving ceremony the 15 winners were presented with cash prizes from a total pool of $6000 along with certificates, while the two overall winners received cash prizes of $1000 each, trophies and certificates of distinction. 

The two judges and NZ Trade Commissioner Mr Peter Lund also visited a number of schools from where winners emerged, including the two top secondary schools in this year’s list – Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School, Suva and Korovuto College Nadi. Both schools received special plaques to mark their students taking top honours this year in the competition.

The High Commission also took the opportunity to hold a special screening of 1983 documentary film of Sir Edmund Hillary’s adventures in Fiji “A Journey to the Dawning of the Day”.  The event was co-hosted with the Fiji Rucksack Club and the University of the South Pacific. 

The event marked the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mt Everest, the 30th anniversary of his climbing of Joske’s Thumb in Fiji and the 50th anniversary of the Rucksack Club. Sir Edmund was patron of the club for many years.  Sir Edmund’s linkages with Fiji go back to the Second World War, when he served at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base at Laucala Bay and attempted unsuccessfully to climb Joske’s Thumb.

We are grateful to the New Zealand Film Archive for loaning the DVD of this historic film, which was shown to a large audience, highlighting a less well known aspect of Sir Edmund’s eventful life.   

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