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John Gully QSM - Founder & Managing Director

John has been trekking in the Everest region for over 29 years and has guided over 1200 people on Youth to Everest and Everest Base Camp treks. He managed climbing expeditions to Mt Everest in 1988, 1989 and 1990 before concentrating on trekking and conservation work. John lives in St Arnaud, Nelson Lakes National Park. In the 2013 New Year's Honours John was awarded the Queens Service Medal for services to New Zealand Nepal relations.

Meet John Gully (1 minute video)


Gary Hinds

Gary and his partner live on the family farm at Whenuakite, a rural community on the Coromandel Peninsula where Gary has farmed all his life. Between them they have 5 children and Gary has always actively involved himself in their academic, cultural and sporting interests.  Gary is also very passionate about surf lifeguarding wining NZ Lifeguard of the Year 2012. In his role as a Senior Lifeguard at Hot Water Beach, along with saving lives he spends a great deal of time training and mentoring young people.  Gary’s first trip to Nepal was with Youth to Everest in 2011, and he has since led trips in 2013, 2014 and 2015.


Sarah Gully

Sarah graduated from Otago university with a Master’s degree in teaching and learning and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and education. She is currently teaching in Christchurch, and moving to London at the conclusion of the 2017 Youth to Everest Trek. Sarah danced competitively from a young age and throughout school before traveling in 2011. Sarah was a member of the Youth to Everest trip in 2008, and has a keen interest in the outdoors, dance, yoga, health and wellbeing. She is very excited to join the Youth to Everest team in April.


Holly McKee

Holly was on our 2007 Youth to Everest trip as an assistant leader and a group leader in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Holly has led a full-on life of adventure, travelling through Nepal, South East Asia, Tanzania and sailing the Atlantic. Holly has taught sailing all over the world, and worked at Kingsley Pines (USA) as a Camp Counsellor. Holly has a Bachelor of Science degree from Otago University and is currently teaching at Kaikoura High School.


Cyn Smith

Cyn is based at the Tihoi Venture School on the western side of Lake Taupo where she and her husband Chris run the satellite outdoor campus for St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton.  She is a full time secondary school teacher with varied interests in all things outdoors including tramping, skiing, running and kayaking.  Cyn’s first trip to Nepal was with Youth to Everest in 2011.  She is the mother of three children. 


Tony Atkins

Tony was a leader of our Youth to Everest Trips in 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He is a senior police officer based in Marton who has had extensive experience with young people through police and community programmes. Tony was an accomplished representative rugby player who has in more recent times competed in several multi sport events. A “gentle giant”, he has embraced Nepal whenever he has visited there with us, and we are privileged to have him as one of our Group Leaders.