Adventurer & Youth Advocate Graeme Dingle Knighted

Sir Graeme Dingle was knighted for his services to youth at Government House in Auckland.

Rising from one knee adventuring legend Graeme Dingle was officially knighted on Thursday for his services to bettering thousands of young Kiwi lives.

Dingle, now Sir Graeme, became a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) for services to youth at Government House in Auckland.

More than 150,000 youths have benefited from the Graeme Dingle Foundation. The charitable trust offers programmes such as Kiwi Can, which aims to inspire New Zealand school kids to reach their potential through self-esteem building programmes.

Governor General Patsy Reddy bestowed the honour in front of an intimate gathering which included deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett.

A karanga voiced by his daughter filled the room as Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy bestowed the honour.

Dingle, 70, wasn’t sure how the award came to be and said he was just a vessel in the work of helping others.

“The thing that keeps me going is seeing these kids succeed and having this remarkable sense of direction and accomplishment.

“That’s what it’s about.

“I’m just the vessel to get acknowledged but actually it’s acknowledging a number of people, including the kids.”

Dingle was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to youth in 2001.
As a young boy growing up in Gisborne, Dingle was shy and scared of the dark. He used to check his bed for snakes.

But the world of outdoor adventure changed him completely.

From 1968 Dingle racked up a number of climbing firsts including ascending the ice-laden and avalanche-prone north faces of all six major European peaks and making the first 5000km Himalayan traverse.

Then in 1971, he made the first winter traverse of the Southern Alps.

Dingle established the first outdoor pursuit centre in the country in 1972, now known as the Hillary Outdoors Centre.

He and his wife Jo-anne Wilkinson launched the Foundation, then known as Project K in 1995.

This year 25,000 youths are using the foundation’s services, and the number continues to grow every year.