Early on the morning of Easter Monday, stuffed full of Easter eggs, four of the senior leadership team made our way to school. We loaded into the vans and began our journey to the cold, cold south island. Amy, Joy, Liam and I then excitedly boarded our plane. On arrival at Christchurch airport we were all super cold and very hungry, so naturally, we streamlined for the airport food court. The hour and a half long bus ride to Wainui (across the bay from Akaroa), didn’t feel nearly as long as it actually was because the beautiful picturesque landscape helped the time fly by. We arrived at YMCA camp in Wainui early Monday afternoon.

Day 1 entailed getting assigned our rooms, meeting our roommates and just playing a few ice breaker games to get to know the other 40ish students from other area schools that had come from all across New Zealand. At first, I found it difficult to come out of my shell and be so open with such a large group of strangers – but knowing that we were all from small schools helped because it meant we were all in the same boat in doing something we weren’t used to. Day 2 and 3 is when the barriers began to break, as we had begun our activities. Through the week we had exciting (sometimes scary) activities that we could look forward to. Abseiling, coasteering, kayaking, the Giant Swing and high ropes. All of these activities included elements of trust, fear and discomfort. Being thrown in the deep end with a group of strangers and needing to work together to accomplish amazing but often frightening things, such as getting to the top of the high ropes, is not an easy thing but everyone did a really good job at cooperating and working in their assigned groups while of course having heaps of fun. Day 4, Thursday – we all travelled via bus around the steep and windy coastline of Banks peninsula. We went across the bay, through Akaroa township, and to Onuku Marae. We spent the day at the beautiful marae, learning a bit about it’s history, making fish and flowers out of harakeke, spray painting, and learning about taiaha. Day 5, Friday – we played heaps of fun games, one being Wizards and Warlocks which was like a massive scavenger hunt with obstacles and activities we had to do in order to continue through the hunt and gain points, by now we knew almost everyone in the camp, and everybody felt super comfortable. We were all great friends by Friday which made the discomfort and nervousness we had felt at the beginning of the week feel so distant. 5am on Saturday morning we walked onto the bus looking like a group of zombies and began the drive to Christchurch airport. We said our goodbyes and jumped on our plane. Although we had an amazing week, it was good to be home.

This trip was amazing and I think it is fair to say we all learnt such valuable lessons about leadership, pushing through our comfort zones, and participating/contributing in group situations. This trip was a time that I will definitely remember for a very long time to come. On behalf of Amy, Joy, Liam and I, I’d like to say a massive thank you to Matua Quenten, Whaea Rose and Matua T for coming on this trip with us. For always helping and encouraging us throughout the week, and of course for collecting yummy seafood for our dinner while we were down south. All four of us appreciate it so much! Thank you!