The Spirit of Adventure

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The Spirit of Adventure Trust was set up to provide programmes for young people onboard the Spirit of New Zealand sailing ship.

The Spirit of Adventure Trust was set up over 40 years ago. The Trust runs programmes for young New Zealanders to develop skills and confidence. The programme takes place at sea and on shore.

The Spirit of Adventure has its own ship called the Spirit of New Zealand. This ship is a great place for young people to learn team work and skills such as;

  • communication
  • self-reliance
  • self-discipline
  • self-esteem
  • resilience
  • confidence
  • leadership.

Learning to sail a tall ship is not the focus but more a place to develop these skills. Many other outdoor activities also develop these skills.

The Spirit of Adventure offers young New Zealanders a place to develop qualities of leadership, independence and community spirit while at sea.

Since the Trust began, more than 75,000 young people from around New Zealand have been on a voyage. Most of these people are from secondary schools.

Spirit youth voyages 

There are three main types of voyage:

  1. A 10 day youth development voyage
  2. A 5 day trophy voyage
  3. A 5 day inspiration voyage

Each 5 or 10 day voyage takes onboard 30 to 40 ‘trainees’. On the 10 day voyage students come from all over the country and are all total strangers when they first meet. The 5 day trophy voyage has four groups of 10 students each from four different schools who compete for the Spirit Trophy. The inspiration voyage has 30 trainees and 10 buddies to support students to achieve their goals onboard the Spirit of New Zealand.

Voyage activities include a range of challenges and tasks that require:

  • problem solving
  • creative thinking
  • enterprising skills 

These skills and attitudes are not just helpful on board the boat, they are also important life skills.

The three-masted Spirit of New Zealand was first sailed in 1986. The Spirit usually has about 340 days at sea each year, making her one of the world’s busiest youth ships.

The home port for the Spirit of New Zealand is Auckland and she is expected to run youth voyages until 2030.

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What other outdoor activities have you been involved in and what skills have these helped you to develop?

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The Spirit of Adventure Trust was set up to provide students with an opportunity to learn important life skills through the activity of sailing. Image: LEARNZ.

The Spirit of Adventure offers 10 day and 5 day voyages which include onshore activities. Image: LEARNZ.

The Spirit of Adventure has one ship called the Spirit of New Zealand, which is a three-masted barquentine sailing ship. Image: Spirit of Adventure Trust. 

Tall ships such as the Spirit of New Zealand provide a great environment to challenge students, develop confidence and learn important life skills. Image: Spirit of Adventure Trust.