Over the last few years, the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust has generously donated annually which was put towards the ship’s mid-life refurbishment. This significant financial contribution has ensured the ship continues to be set-up in a first class condition, allowing the Spirit’s youth development programmes to be delivered for years to come. Spirit of New Zealand is now over 25 years old, yet her condition looks as good as if she were built today.

This funding support towards the ships upkeep is vital, as the main voyage fee charged to youth who attend is kept to a manageable level. This ensures many New Zealand youth can afford to participate, thus annually the Trust needs to find over and above the voyage income of up to an additional $1.3 million dollars to keep the ship functioning now and into the future.

Despite keeping the voyage fee as low as possible, there are still some who find this a challenge. Again the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust helps by providing funds annually to assist those families facing financial hardship, to attend the 10-day youth development voyage. By enlarge, every voyage will have at least one or two youth on board who have received either a subsidy or grant towards their voyage fee, from the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust and who would have otherwise not been able to attend.

These young New Zealanders benefit hugely as it takes them into an environment which allows them to grow and realise that they can achieve far more than what they would otherwise dreamed.

The feedback from those who are sponsored bear testimony to the benefits of the Spirit programmes. Supporting university research shows the important benefit our young New Zealanders receive by participating in these once-in-a-lifetime voyages.

Trainee letters of thanks

Dear Spirit,

Thank you sooooo much for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was truly amazing and are some of the best days of my life. I am still amazed that I got to do this amazing trip. It is a truly amazing boat and an even better experience. To sail such a ship and live the dream is just so amazing.

Words cannot express how amazingly awesome this experience is. I don’t know what to say. Without you I would never have been able to do something as amazing as this.

Tonight is my last night on the ship and all I want to do is go back and do it all over again. I hope that I can come back as a Leading Hand and help other young teens like me to achieve great things and prepare them for life.

Thank you!
Jack, Trainee 2014

Dear Sponsor,

I would like to say a huge thank you for donating money to go towards my experience on the Spirit of New Zealand. Without this extra help I would have struggled to pay the amount to come on this voyage.

Coming on the Spirit of New Zealand is an extremely wonderful experience. One that I will never forget. It has helped me grow as a person and to understand people in different ways. The Spirit teaches you to be patient, willing to learn, have a better understanding of life, and that everyone is unique in their own way and to respect that about them.

The time I spent on the Spirit has enabled and allowed me to have many different opportunities. I took part in activities like sailing small boats, the yard swing, tramping, knot tying and the Spirit mini olympics. The best opportunity on this ship was making new amazing friends. Laura and Josh are only two of the other trainees that I have become good friends with. These great friends and friendships means that the voyage is more fun.

One the best activities that I enjoyed was the mast climb. The midship of the Spirit has four yards, containing four sails. Highest is called the royal, followed by the topgallant, yopsail and lastly, the course. On several occasions I was able to climb onto the royal and help pack it away. This was an amazing experience as I loved the view and the height. It only got slightly scary when we had 2m swells causing the boat to rock.

I am so grateful for the money that was donated to help me on the Spirit of New Zealand. My voyage has given me many new outlooks on life and many new friends.

Thank you so much for this experience.
Ashleigh, Trainee 2014