To celebrate its 25th anniversary of supporting Aotearoa’s youth, the Graeme Dingle Foundation marked the occasion with an event at Government House alongside long-time friends of the organisation who have provided invaluable support.
25 years ago with incredible foresight, founders Sir Graeme Dingle, Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle and Former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves were among those who gathered to figure out how best to support the future of Aotearoa’s youth.
Sir Graeme Dingle recalls; “Jo and I invited about 100 iconic New Zealanders to Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) and to our utter surprise they came! We said to them ‘We can help the thousands of young people who have given up hope, but it’s going to take your leadership and involvement to make it happen’.’’
Sir Graeme Dingle paid special tribute to key individuals who had supported the Foundation’s work over the past 25 years including notable New Zealand icons such as Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Paul Reeves, Dame Fran Wilde, Dame Cath Tizard , Wayne Walden, Sir John Graham, Dame Augusta Wallace and Sir Eion Edgar.
The foundation, alongside it’s supporters launched the very first Project K soon after the first meeting at Maungakiekie. Project K impacts on a young person at an instrumental time in their lives, building self-confidence, life skills and a healthy lifestyle through an array of outdoor activities, challenges, interaction with other young people and a positive relationship with a mentor– a need that is just as important today as we continue to grapple with Covid-19.”
The 25th celebration was a chance to acknowledge the relevance of the foundation’s work today. Her excellency Dame Patsy Reddy sited the recent report ‘Koi Tu: The centre for informed futures’ which found that before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of our young people was already in a vulnerable position.
“It’s been just over one year since Covid-19 arrived in New Zealand, and we continue to live in tumultuous and uncertain times. It’s affected every one of us in some way, here and around the world. Some effects become apparent straight away; and we know some will only become evident over time…the effects on tamariki and rangatahi could potentially be lifelong. Their resilience has become more important than ever. That is of course, what this Foundation builds.”
Dame Patsy Reddy noted the tremendous impact that Graeme Dingle Foundation has provided to New Zealand communities by helping over 300,000 tamariki and rangatahi through their range of programmes as well as training more than 10,000 mentors.
“The Foundation’s programmes have a positive ripple effect in our communities. By creating strong kids who realise their full potential, their futures, families and our communities become stronger as well, “ says Dame Reddy.