Kevin got his first taste of adventure early at just 18 when he worked for two months at 12,500 feet, building a school at the Tengboche monastery, in Nepal, with Sir Edmund Hillary and that planted the seed.
After finishing a physics degree at Auckland University and a Master of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge Kevin returned to NZ. He took roles with Treasury and Ministry of Commerce before becoming a Strategy Consultant.
A decision to leave the corporate world to take part in the 2003 Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race - a 5000km epic crossing in a 7m plywood dinghy – was an unusual choice for someone who had never rowed before! Kevin’s business skills were vital in identifying and innovating on the most critical elements of the preparations. However, plans went awry just six weeks before the start when his rowing partner pulled out and the last minute replacement Jamie Fitzgerald, a 22 year old university student.
They encountered storms, curious whales, sleep deprivation, breakages, hallucinations, stinging jellyfish and were dramatically thrown out of their boat in a capsize, leading to a desperate and thrilling sprint to the finish. They smashed the previous record by more than 21 hours completing the gruelling challenge in just over 40 days and 5 hours at sea.
Two years with strategy groups in Telecom NZ followed, before Kevin and Jamie teamed up again to take on an unsupported, 1200 km man-haul to the South Pole a feat that fewer than 50 people have every achieved. The motivation for this trip was three-fold: to become the first New Zealanders to walk unsupported to the South Pole; to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's South Pole expedition, and to work with the Foundation of Youth Development to help raise young people's awareness of outdoor pursuits.
In preparation, the pair spent weeks training in the Canadian Arctic (dodging polar bears) in NZ’s coldest industrial fridge (dodging frozen chickens!) and dragging tyres around the streets and hills of Wellington and Auckland (dodging hooligans in Cortinas).
They spent fifty days in Antarctica battling worse than expected conditions, temperatures as cold as -40 degrees, frostbite, injury, endless whiteouts and gear failure. It was brutal, and after 52 days they reached the South Pole – the first New Zealanders to walk unsupported to the Pole and the first people in the World to have rowed an Ocean AND walked to a Pole!
Using hilarious stories and photos from his adventures Kevin talks about goal setting, risk management, teamwork, breaking out of your comfort zone and achieving excellence!
More recently, Kevin teamed up again with Jamie for the inspiring TV1 series First Crossings - to recreate the journeys of pioneer New Zealand explorers, using the exact equipment they used, eating the same type of food and wearing the same type of clothing and footwear.
If you are looking for a riveting speaker with great content who will also keep you entertained, then Kevin Biggar is your man!