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Aug 242018

A competition run by Youth Gliding New Zealand has resulted in two Kuranui students winning a day of gliding at the Greytown Soaring Centre.

Joshua Wiegman and Sarah Hyde were presented the prize by former international student Anja Runge, who during her time at the college and in a space of one year, became a Qualified Glider Pilot.

Kuranui is one of only three colleges in New Zealand to offer Aviation Studies, and the only secondary school in New Zealand to offer glider flight training at NCEA.

The competition aimed at encouraging more youth into gliding. The Greytown Soaring Centre based at Papawai is a partnership between Wairarapa and Wellington Gliding Clubs, and Brian Sharpe, Wellington Gliding Club President, sees the competition as a way of giving back to the community and local youth.

Brian believes that gliding can build character and is suitable for people with different backgrounds and disabilities, “Besides, where else can you explore the sky?” he said.

Kuranui Aviation Studies Teacher and Wairarapa Gliding President, Vern Grant, agrees “This programme has gone from strength to strength at Kuranui and we’re even getting interest from overseas.”

Gliding emphasises team work and collaboration and can lead into other areas such as engineering and aeronautics, “Learning about being responsible and working with others is vital in gliding,” added Grant.

Youth Gliding NZ

Kuranui students Joshua Wiegman and Sarah Hyde with Youth Gliding NZ President Tim Tarbotten and Wairarapa Gliding President Vern Grant. Photo: Janet Davies

Kuranui Year 9 student, Joshua, knew about the gliding course at the college through a friend. “I wanted to be a commercial pilot, but now I’d like to do gliding because of the view and excitement I get from flying. Winning a day of gliding has been the highlight of his year so far.”

For Sarah, a Year 10 student, her grandad’s love of flying model aeroplanes prompted her to give it a go. “I am considering a career in the Air Force or Navy and gliding seemed a logical place to start,” she said.

Youth Gliding will be holding a camp for aspiring pilots at Papawai Marae over Labour Weekend.

Interested in taking up gliding? Check out the Youth Gliding video at or call Vern Grant at Kuranui College.

Anje Runge Gliding

Former Kuranui International student Anje Runge gliding over Papawai. Photo: Jose Antonio Blanco