For the fifth consecutive year, the New Zealand High Commission, Suva and the Fiji Association in Auckland offered a national essay writing competition to senior students in Fiji's secondary schools. Sixty three schools took part, with over 240 entries, selected for consideration by school co-ordinators. These were received by the High Commission and read by the two adjudicators, Lady June Hillary and Dr Satendra Singh.

The 2013 topics were - The Legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary (to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund's ascent of Mt Everest and the 30th of his scaling Joske's Thumb in Suva) and Educational Links between Fiji and New Zealand.

The supreme winners were Abhishek Adarsh Kumar of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School, Suva and Neha Sharma of Korovuto College, Nadi.
Both wrote on the legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary. They each received $1000 cash prizes, Certificates of Distinction and trophies while their proud schools were presented with special plaques during visits by the adjudicators and the Acting High Commissioner.

Other winners received cash prizes and travel assistance to attend the prize giving in Suva, at the residence of the High Commissioner, together with their parents and school representatives. Their overall pool was $10,000.

The top winners from outside of Suva were also treated to hotel accommodation so they could attend a special screening of the 1983 documentary " A Journey to the Dawning of the Day" - Sir Edmund Hillary's 1983 adventures in Fiji. A large gathering attended the special event, held at the University of the South Pacific. The event also marked the 50th anniversary of the Rucksack Club, of which Sir Edmund was patron for some years. Several members of the Club climbed Joske's Thumb with Sir Edmund in 1983.

The adjudicators of the essay competition said in their report "The standard of essays was very high. Selecting winners was a difficult task and this year, it was decided that special token prizes would also be made during school visits."

The judges visited a number of schools from where winners emerged including Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School, Korovuto College, Cuvu College, Sabeto College, Ahmadiyya Muslim College, Tilak High School and Natabua High School.

Dr Singh presented a delighted winner, Abhishek Kumar of Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School with a congratulatory letter from the grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, whom Dr Singh met in India recently.

Addressing the large attendance at the Prize Giving, the Acting High Commissioner of New Zealand, Mr Phillip Taula, said, "The partnership between the High Commission and the Fiji Association is greatly appreciated.'

It is expected that 2014 topics will be announced in February at the commencement of Term 1. The competition usually runs from February to April.

Photos below show the 2013 winners at the High Commission, together with Lady June Hillary, Mr Taula and Dr Singh/ and the two supreme winners with Dr Singh and Mr Phillip Taula.

Competition Winners with Lady Hillary, Dr Singh and Mr Phillip Taula

Winners 2013
Winner Suva Grammar $ St Josephs with Lady Hillary Cuvu College Headmaster and Lady Hillary
Korovutu College
MGM Student receives prize from Lady Hillary MGM winner with Dr Singh