David Ee is a member of Pakuranga Baptist Church, and a big advocate for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award of which he is a recipient of, and also a member of the 60th anniversary advisory committee. In this article David shares his own story that weaves together his church community involvement, successes through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award in NZ, and even being a medallist at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in alpine skiing. All of this while living with dyspraxia.

I am from a Christian family which emigrated from Singapore to New Zealand twenty-five years ago for my future and a better learning environment. In those days in Singapore, addressing the needs of intellectually challenged children was still in its early stages, as there was a lack of understanding in interacting with them.

I was introduced to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award and achieved my Bronze in 2007, Silver in 2008, and Gold in 2009. I received the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Diamond Challenge, celebrating Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2016, which has made an important contribution to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Charity ambition to inspire even more young people to discover their true potential.  Overall, these experiences shaped my character, grit, and dedication.

My involvement in the Christian community within the Baptist Churches of faith communities has been in the following:

> From 2007 to 2009, I served as the Assistant to the Events Coordinator at Auckland Baptist Tabernacle Church.

> From 2016 to date, I served and held various roles at Pakuranga Baptist Church in the roles of being the Church Library Leader, Health and Safety Officer, contributing to the COVID-19 response efforts and my current role as the Special Events Leader.

Being someone who has had a late developmental dyspraxia diagnosis, and experiencing (and overcoming) bullying whilst I was in college, I am extremely thankful to my parents, teachers, Bruce, Jinny Patrick, and Pastor Andrew Brown during my years of service and contribution to our Baptist Churches, as well as my current mentors, who have all assisted me greatly on my journey.

Since leaving my college and completing my Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award, I have achieved the following:

> Obtained MIT Cert ICT Level 4 and Dip ICT Level 5 qualifications from Manukau Institute of Technology in 2009 and 2015.

> Volunteered at the 2010 Inaugural Singapore Youth Olympic Games and was a paid staff after the games as a Workforce Executive and the 28th Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore in 2015.

> A SPARC Sports Volunteer Award Regional Finalist in 2011 by Sport Auckland, and I was a finalist for the “I AM” Auckland Award, 2015 by the Auckland Council and Ministry of Youth Development New Zealand.

> I was a bronze medallist as an alpine skier at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Pyeong Chang, South Korea.

> In 2021, I obtained a Diploma in Business Level 5 with a strand on Administration and Technology from UCOL (Universal College of Learning).

Currently, I am on the 60th Anniversary Advisory Committee for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. I am currently studying at Carey Baptist College to develop my Christian faith and professional development.

As my journey continues, I anticipate future opportunities and challenges. However, I am strengthened by the knowledge of the part my church and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award have played in my life, equipped me with tools and learnings to support my endeavours.

Find out more about the Award from their website: The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

“The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award equips rangatahi for promising futures by challenging young people to develop skills and tools to improve themselves – and their communities.”

If you’re part of a Baptist faith community and would like to share (write about) your experience of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award in this 60th anniversary year, or would like to celebrate it by having a party together, please email us: [email protected]

Photos supplied by David Ee

Top: David with his Bronze Medal after race at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Pyeong Chang, South Korea.

Second: David on right, voluntary service at the 2010 Inaugural Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

Third: The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Award Ceremony where HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex’s presented the Gold Award.

Fourth image: Reusable cup “Let us be one” fundraiser for the 2019 Easter Sri-Lanka Bombings, which David led for his church Pakuranga Baptist Church in collaboration with All Nations, Auckland Baptist Tabernacle Church.

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