LBK Chat – December 2016
Boom! Summer is here after a patchy start to spring. We had a day reaching 33 degrees in Hawkes Bay in late November and it is time to bust out the jandals and BBQs. Hang on a minute, we tend to wear jandals ALL YEAR, not just on special summer occasions!
In this update, we’re keen to highlight some very special people in the CULTURAL EXCHANGE and SERVICE areas of Little Brown Kiwi adventures. We are absolutely privileged to work with the people mentioned here. Read on!
This is the time of year when we look back on some of the events of the past few months and the year in general.
In 2016, we met HEAPS of good characters (‘GCs’) throughout the year. This started with the LBK Hui in Hong Kong when lots of past and present friends came to our annual get together. We had a flurry of activity throughout February, March and April, some epic winter adventures and we’ve now just finished up the year with some fantastic schools from Hong Kong.
An important part of LBK’s kaupapa (or reason for being) is to take on some active pursuits with our groups across a wide area of New Zealand. This is represented by overnight and longer hikes, heli hiking, rafting, mountain biking, sea kayaking and more. We LOVE presenting activities like these and we’re keen to extend the students on these physical components of our adventures and journeys throughout Aotearoa.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme/IYA/IA/HKAYP is one way to get to experience back country New Zealand at the same time as making progress towards your Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. LBK is fully accredited and can help to sign off your expedition or exploration when you are in New Zealand.
In a small town in rural New Zealand, Prue and Mark and the whanau from Papa o te Aroha Marae always extend a warm and generous welcome to any manuhiri (guests/visitors) who come their way.
This is the real deal in terms of Kiwi hospitality. Students learn about the powhiri, and sometimes experience a healthy dose of nerves, as they encounter the formal welcoming ceremony. They meet the outstanding young people from Te Piringitahi – students from Forest View High School, and they are mentored by the wonderful Rachel, who expertly guides these emerging Maori leaders.
The term manaakitanga (hospitality) is something that can be talked about, but it has to be felt, and experienced to be believed. You can feel the manaakitanga at Papa o te Aroha Marae. Whether it is the energy of Te Piringithahi, the men preparing and cooking the hangi (and the women doing everything else!) or the way that all of the needs of the guests are met, you know you are in good hands.
Our students become part of the whanau (family) and tangata whenua (local, people of the land) when they do the dishes together after the meal. Prue will then call the students ‘Ringawera’ or ‘hot hands’ as they have now contributed some work towards the running of the marae!
We are very privileged to work with everybody associated with Papa o Te Aroha Marae for the depth of cultural learning that students can experience in a relatively short time.
It is always tricky to select a few from such a range of dedicated people, but here are a couple of campaigners that we’d like to mention.
Arthur Hinds from Whenuakite Kiwi Care and Alessandra and the team from Environment Southland and Kids Restore Kepler.
LBK has worked with Arthur Hinds from Whenuakite Kiwi Care for around 10 years now and he still has the unstoppable energy for conservation that we encountered right from the start. Arthur is more concerned with others’ welfare than his own, which was obvious on a recent trip through the bush with Kellett School. Arthur would emerge from the bush with cuts and scrapes and blood leaking from his body, but is ever the gentleman in ensuring that his young charges don’t slip over too often in the tricky terrain! The students always gain valuable insights into the lengths that conservationists go to, to protect our endemic kiwi. Arthur and his team are champions and we feel fortunate to have such a friendship with the Whenuakite Kiwi Care group.
NEWSFLASH – recent events which grabbed our attention
When we are out and about on Little Brown Kiwi adventures, the world keeps turning. In the space of three short weeks, some fairly major world events happened…
- The All Blacks were beaten by Ireland for the first time in 111 years.
- Trump won the US election to become President elect.
- Kaikoura was rocked by a massive 7.8 earthquake which has had a big impact on the region. Our thoughts are with the good people of Kaikoura, many of whom we work with every year.
Alessandra and the Kids Restore Kepler group
Recently, we developed a connection with Alessandra, Christophe, Vaughn, Mark and a handful of hardy students from Fiordland College.
Students from CDNIS were treated to the glamorous job of trap-checking. This involved replacing rotten eggs with fresh ones, adding pieces of fresh meat to the mix and also clearing out any traps that had obviously done their jobs.
Meeting such enthusiastic conservationists who did an amazing job of educating the fine young people from Hong Kong was a fulfilling afternoon for everyone. We want to thank you for showing us the amazing work that you do.
A big shout out to all of the other dedicated conservationists in New Zealand who we have worked with. Also to the people of Marae around New Zealand who are so willing to share the rich culture of Aotearoa.
This group really put the FUN into real. fun. learning!
Some of these senior students had wicked senses of humour and the LBK guides appreciated the banter, as well as the mockery of our finely honed Kiwi accents!
It was lovely to see Lilly and Emma from previous LBK trips and fantastic to meet the rest of the dynamic team from Kellett School. Some highlights included the overnight hike, the extended physical challenge of walking a remote trapping line through steep bush, and the visit to Cathedral Cove.
Collectively, we dealt with a mixed bag of weather conditions, smashed a few steak and cheese pies and learned a little about the hongi and the whole powhiri process. There was a bit of ‘comfort zone extension’ for sure, as the students practiced their first hongi with each other prior to visiting the marae.
Late one evening, the hardy travellers went down to the unique environment of Hot Water Beach and immersed themselves in a their own mini hot tubs in the sand.
Other events included the overnight marae stay and connection with local students, as well as some other fun activities in the Rotorua region. See you in 2017 Kellett!
Independent Schools Foundation Academy
20 intrepid ISF adventurers took to the challenge of the South Island of New Zealand this year.
In true form (due to the hex placed on the trip last year by Ms Badaracco!) the groups’ flight plans were altered! After 2 attempts to land in Queenstown, the flight was diverted to the thriving metropolis of Invercargill!
Not many LBK trips make it to Invercargill, for good reason, but in terms of maximizing their time and seeing as much of Aotearoa as possible, the ISF group were off to a great start!!!
Initial introductions soon revealed connections and the predictably exaggerated stories of past exploits– especially where Paddy is concerned! It’s amazing to reflect on the smallness of our World!
What remained of the week saw the group getting the best of the Queenstown region, as well as the unforgettable Milford Sound. The trip was short, but the action was packed in – mountain biking, SUPing, luge, climbing, hiking, jet boating, camping… it was full on!
Full credit to the ISF crew, who really did take on the challenge of ‘stretching’ their ‘zones of comfort’ and putting themselves ‘out there’.
Island School opted for the warmer climes of the North Island in 2016. An awesome bunch of people, dead keen on getting amongst all that NZ has to offer, began the adventure in Auckland.
We were soon amongst the lofty heights of The Pinnacles – a place where all comfort zones are stretched. Whether it be from the physical challenge of getting up the hill, the mental challenge of the ‘exposure’ at height, or the gastronomic challenge of getting the astronaut food down… challenges abounded!
The itinerary sent us South but as we quickly were reminded, all best laid adventure plans are at the mercy of the weather Gods. In this case, Tawhirimatea (Maori Mythologies God of Weather) decided that blowing a gale was in order.
As a result, we found ourselves modifying our adventure somewhat. This didn’t impact on the memorable experience with the good as peeps of Papa o te Aroha Marae and Te Piringatahi.
Games, Kapa Haka and Kai laid the foundation for real exchange with real New Zealanders.
It seemed as quickly as it began, it was over and we found ourselves back in Auckland. Big thanks to the awesome teachers who accompanied the group – we love a good laugh – and a special ‘howzit’ to Jimmy… you Legend!!!!
Our good friends and some familiar faces from CDNIS returned to NZ in November.
They visited Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital, and quickly got amongst the adrenaline-inducing action. After a late arrival into Queenstown, the group had to organise themselves for three days in a row on the road before returning to the Queenstown base.
The Shotover Jet was a perfect start to the day, which was backed up soon after by a helihiking adventure. Each small group was dropped off by helicopter to a point high on a ridge line at Nokomai Station. From here, the students navigated their way to a campsite on the valley floor, collected firewood and sparked up a raging bonfire.
To ease any aches and pains the next day, the students embarked on an overnight tour of Doubtful Sound – one of New Zealand’s most spectacular and remote fiords. Here they jumped off the boat into chilly waters, learnt about the wonder of this region from the nature guides and also enjoyed a very nice meal and a comfortable night’s sleep. There were some very relaxed and serene faces on their return!
However, getting OUT of our comfort zones was high on the agenda, and the next activity gave students first hand experience of the gritty nature of trapping animals in Fiordland National Park. CDNIS students checked traps, got their hands dirty and learnt from some of their New Zealand peers about what is being done to look after New Zealand’s endemic wildlife – in particular native birds. The approach from CDNIS students was fantastic and Cade and Mercedes did a great job of speaking at the conclusion of the service activity to thank the Fiordland Environmental Trust on our behalf.
Returning to Queenstown involved the famous Ledge Swing, ‘Choice Bro’ options of either rafting, horse trekking or paintball. Students also raced around Queenstown, completing The LBK Amazing Race challenge. Other activities included Luging, the Kiwi Haka performance and even a little shopping time in Queenstown.
Singapore and Hong Kong Hui
In late January 2017, LBK will be visiting schools in Singapore and Hong Kong.
We are hosting a couple of social functions – Friday 20th January Singapore Hui and Wednesday 25th January Hong Kong Hui AND we’d love to see you all there!
More details to follow. If you don’t get an invite, just drop us an email and let us know that you are coming – the more the merrier! In the early part of the evening – from 5pm, this would be a good time to introduce a friend to discuss NZ options with LBK. After this, its purely social!
There will be some random prizes – Everyone goes in the draw just for turning up! We look forward to seeing YOU there.
Spread the word!
The team at Little Brown Kiwi loves to look after the awesome teachers that arrive as strangers and leave as good mates.
Bookings have already been received for 2017 and the 2018 year is also on the horizon.
Contact us soon to ensure that your school doesn’t miss out on an epic New Zealand adventure. If you have friends in other schools who would like to get down under with LBK, Please share LBK Chat and refer us to good people like you – we’re always keen to make new mates!
To all of the schools who work with Little Brown Kiwi in New Zealand. We wish you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas break and we hope to see some of you in Hong Kong and Singapore in January.
Yours in adventure,
Henry, Paddy and the team at Little Brown Kiwi