The Promise on One Tree Hill by Sir Graeme Dingle

‘I was on One Tree Hill, standing below the tree fatally injured by protester Mike Smith, scared witless as I addressed some of the people I most admired — Ed Hillary, Pat Booth, Murray Deaker, John Graham, Wayne Walden . . . and the woman I loved. I decided at that moment to dedicate the rest of my life to the young people of New Zealand.’ — Sir Graeme Dingle

Sir Graeme Dingle should need no introduction; he is a New Zealand mountaineer who has achieved over 200 mountaineering and adventure firsts worldwide, including first ascents of mountains and faces in the Himalaya, the Andes, the Antarctic and New Zealand. He founded the Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (now Hillary Outdoors) and co-founded The Project K Charitable Trust (now the Graeme Dingle Foundation) with his wife, Jo-anne Wilkinson.

But not many know about the painfully skinny boy who feared everything growing up. How did he overcome those fears become a leading mountaineer and adventurer?

This 400-page magnum opus is Sir Graeme Dingle’s most comprehensive autobiography. It is full of personal insights into the big life lessons he learnt in the school of hard knocks, which helped him to establish two leading charities. But above all, it is a love story about how two people, Jo-anne Wilkinson and himself, established an organisation that transforms the lives of hundreds of thousands of Kiwis.

The Promise on One Tree Hill begins in 1945 with Graeme’s childhood, then continues to his incredible journeys though Yerupajá, The Amazon, Europe, The Eiger, Wales, and the Winter Traverse of the Southern Alps. We are then transported to 1994 where Graeme stood and made his promise on One Tree Hill. He speaks passionately about his dedication to Project K, Kiwi Can, Stars and Career Navigator. He also opens up about his family, children, beloved wife and other people that have affected his life including Sir Edmund Hilary, Sir Paul Reeves, Helen Clark, Dion Nash and Bernice Mene. He writes about his trips to the Arctic with Jo-anne, his experience of ageing, injuries and close brushes with death. Every aspect of his life is told in his outspoken, no-nonsense style.

The Promise on One Tree Hill describes his journey creating not only an enduring organisation that delivers developmental programmes to young New Zealanders, but also helping to build the best country in the world in which to be young. He says, ‘The most important part of my life has been the second half; the first half was just practice for the far more important work of taking care of our young people. And this wouldn’t have happened without Jo-anne Wilkinson —where two people come together, and through their love create something far greater than just one plus one.’

Sir Graeme Dingle has won numerous awards including: an MBE for services to outdoor pursuits; the Award of New Zealand in 1995 for services to recreation and sport; the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States; the Deloitte Top 200 Companies Visionary Leader Award; ONZM for services to young people; and a Life Member of the New Zealand Alpine Club. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 from Sport New Zealand for services to outdoor recreation; and the Outdoors New Zealand Supreme Award, in 2011. He was Knighted in 2017 for services to young people. He is also a painter and has published 12 books including, Dingle: Discovering the Sense in Adventure, which won Best Biography at the 2006 Montana Book Awards.

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