Sir Graeme Dingle says he rejects any suggestion Kiwis have lost their innate love of the outdoors.
Sir Graeme Dingle has gone full circle by returning as patron to the outdoor pursuits company he set up and which nearly disappeared after a canyoning tragedy a decade ago.
Dingle, who is taking over as patron of Hillary Outdoors from Jenny Shipley, says the former prime minister encouraged him. “She said, ‘do it, it completes the loop’.”
Dingle, who was knighted for services to youth, said it felt right to come back to the organisation he created 43 years ago, originally named The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. His appointment was announced last night.
“I had kind of forgotten how much effort I put into the whole thing and how many obstacles I encountered. I was pretty dogged in those days. Any barrier was just an excuse for me to . . . knock it down.”
Dingle first saw the site that is today Hillary Outdoor’s busy Tongariro base, when he was 27 and driving in a Ford Capri at speed along the Tawhitikuri Intake Road. In the valley below he spotted a construction camp occupied by Italian tunnellers who had just finished building the Tongariro hydro power scheme.
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