LBK Chat – January to June 2018
New and exciting adventures with our valued schools, new schools and new people to send home happy!
In this newsletter, we explore the regions of Waihi and the Coromandel, get deep into the Whanganui and Central Plateau, venture to Southland and Stewart Island and also delve into the back country of Horowhenua. We also deliver an adrenaline-charged North Island adventure as part of a wider Experiential Learning Programme.
We cover Hong Kong to Hastings with a brief mention ‘of other stuff’ going on outside of LBK missions…
Nau mai, Haere mai ko Ashley Peters!! It is always epic to welcome new Guiding talent onto the LBK Team and Ash has jumped right in.
The best part about Ash is that you’ll never lose her! Infectious and audible giggling is one of her claims to fame and we’re stoked to have her onboard here at LBK. When she isn’t adventuring NZ with LBK, Ash can be found shredding mountain bike trails in the NZ capital, Wellington! Ashley was voted ‘Wellingtonian of the Year 2018’ (yes, it’s a legit thing!) probably for her passion and commitment to this ever-growing sport, rather than being able to recite in chronological order the Wellington Mayoralty since 1865 (when it became our Nation’s capital). Check out Ash and her adventures at Joyride (www.enjoytheride.co.nz) Welcome Ash, you legend!!!
Wa Ora Montessori School
Every year, Wa Ora embarks on an Odyssey which is a bit like a grand ‘welcome back to school’ adventure. It is an extended journey which has a strong driver of Pedagogy of Place, as well as being a fantastic way to build and strengthen connections between students and all of those in the learning community.
This year, Little Brown Kiwi was asked to oversee the Odyssey due to their long time Outdoor Education leader moving to a new job. We welcomed the chance to work with Kiwi students in their own back yard and also to work on the unique situation of delivering an adventure which had been planned by another dedicated outdoor professional (thanks Tanya!)
One of the coolest things was being exposed to a set of values about outdoor education, which we compared with our own approach and found many parallels.
The concept of Pedagogy of Place is an extended view of outdoor education and aims to capture the essence of a particular place. This includes history, environmental issues, natural features, the people and culture and anything else that is significant about a region.
Side note: For some professional reading, check out A Pedagogy of Place, by Brian Wattchow and Mike Brown. 2011 – Monash University Publishing. It is worth a read for a different perspective on outdoor and experiential learning. The concept is something that aligns really well with Little Brown Kiwi’s values and it is something that we are conscious of with every adventure around New Zealand.
The Odyssey in 2018 involved travel from Wellington through to the National Park and on to Waihi. Students spent a day and a half in cluster groups and worked on a range of initiatives, problem solving and high ropes activities to help establish how they could operate as a team. Those team-specific personal skills were put to the test when the whole group was re-shuffled in Waihi. The ensuing days were all about exploring the region via mountain bike, bush walking, abseiling, visiting historic and present-day gold mining sites, learning about current gold mining in the town and also seeking the perspective of tangata whenua while staying for two nights at Waihi Marae.
Another memorable moment of the Odyssey included a ‘real life rescue’ involving the courageous Allyson, who was injured about 3kms from the road end of the bush walk. Students were involved in a real life evacuation, which added another component to their Odyssey education.
The team at Blue Mountains Adventure Centre did a fantastic job of working with our groups on a range of high ropes and initiative-based activities and Rani and Jock from Adventure Specialties worked on Mountain Biking and Abseiling with all of the students across several days in Waihi. We appreciate all of the skills of the providers who added value to the whole experience.
The LBK team can’t wait to work with Wa Ora School again for the Odyssey in 2019.
Singapore American School
Singapore American School were back in early 2018!! This trip is secretly a favorite of LBK Guides, as it is a chance to embrace and reconnect with their true modus operandi…feral!
The 2018 Wilderness Training Adventure started in Auckland but quickly headed South to the Central Plateau. There were a few looks of deepening despair and alarm from the faces of those in the vans as we headed deep into the back blocks. Each kilometer travelled only added to the intrigue as the road quality deteriorated to finally end in a paddock at Blue Duck Station on the banks of the Whanganui River. It was quick to set tents and get some dinner on as darkness fast approached.
The next few days had the group sharpening their wilderness survival skills through participation in learning workshops focused on navigation, survival, shelter construction, hunting, butchery and ‘how to stay clean while on the back of a quad’. These learning opportunities were delivered in preparation for the following two day expedition across the Tongariro National Park and raft decent of the Tongariro River. What had been rather agreeable weather, initially, turned on the group and rain slammed down for the next two days! Grit, determination and resilience were all demonstrated during the epic crossing into the Waihohonu. Booming thunder-claps bouncing off the flanks of Ngauruhoe made the hairs on your neck stand up and still the rain came down! Most of the night the group tested their tent setting skills with only a couple of groups needing to make a nighttime evacuation. Morning came and still more rain! With river levels up, the descent of the Tongariro River was a ‘no go’. SAS went to plan B! River levels dropped over the following night and in the morning SAS got amongst a pushier than normal trip down some of NZ’s premier white water. A slightly earlier shower was well received by all and we got back to Auckland, with damp gear, but big smiles!
UWC Deep South
Queenstown and the southern reaches of Aotearoa are an exciting place to be and our friends at UWC are always willing to take on an adventure which engages and extends the students.
This year, the crew travelled to the ‘Deep South’ and experienced Queenstown, Invercargill, Bluff, Stewart Island, Doubtful Sound, Cardrona, Wanaka and Lake Hawea before returning to Queenstown to head home to Singapore.
A few highlights (depending on your perspective), were: 4.3m swells on the ferry to Stewart Island, some chilly swims at Bathing Beach and Doubtful Sound, connecting with the local community on Stewart Island – including planting native trees for SIRCET and using the community centre during our stay. Also, checking out a local film on Rakiura/Stewart Island in a cosy retro movie theatre and also meeting some cheeky local birds on Ulva Island, especially the Weka, were a few moments to remember.
Of course, other highlights could equally include the Shotover Jet Boat, the massive Ledge Swing or the Luge, but it all depends on the person!
UWC students met tangata whenua at Te Rau Aroha Marae and stayed overnight in this modern facility with incredibly detailed and colourful carvings. Everyone had a chance to see the waiata-a-ringa skills of the students, as well as having a go at the haka.
It is not every day you get to experience the majesty of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but Doubtful Sound was a special place for the group to visit in its quiet grandeur. As well as jumping off the boat into refreshing water, there was a special 10 minutes of ‘The Sounds of Silence’, where the captain turns the boat off and everyone is encouraged to be silent. Just magic. And the food on board isn’t too bad either.
Heading North again from Fiordland, the group revisited Queenstown to ride the World’s Most Exciting Jet Boat Ride’ on the Shotover Jet. The remaining days included some epic/brutal games of Bubble Soccer and Archery Tag, as well as the Choice Bro options of either Horse Riding or Paintball. Seeing the Cardrona Valley on a ‘bluebird’ day is a real bonus and a great place to explore on horseback.
To round out the experience, all of the students and staff went camping at Lake Hawea on the penultimate night in the area. The most magnificent stars in the history of the world were seen that night, accompanied by a roaring outdoor fire and the obligatory ‘Smores’.
The following morning was the most efficient pack up of a camp site EVER, before taking the bus to Queenstown and across on the TSS Earnslaw Steam Boat to Walter Peak High Country Station. The afternoon brought us both the Luge and some serious Ledge Swing action in quite challenging conditions of rain and cold winds. It is fair to say that most of the students were mostly oblivious to this and were more stoked with their efforts and the great swing of faith that they had just completed. Retreating to the warmth of the Skyline restaurant for a hearty buffet was a fitting end to another big day out.
All of the best for your summer break and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019 UWC!
Massey University is infamous around New Zealand as a prestigious, premier tertiary education provider, equipping high calibre graduates with the knowledge, abilities and desire to go forth and make real change for the humankind.
But, there are exceptions to every rule, as evidenced by the fact that BOTH LBK Directors are graduates of this fine institution – I guess there are always one or two that fall through the cracks!
Again this year, LBK had the pleasure of working alongside the University to deliver components of the Bachelor of Sport and Exercise course, and in particular, an experience aimed at the Teacher Under-grads wanting to go on to work in schools, with young people. LBK has long recognized the value of adventure education and having the opportunity to develop this knowledge and understanding in young teachers heading to the coalface is a privilege.
The Massey B-SpEx experience in 2018 consisted of a 2 day residential style camp in which the students rotated through a series of contrasting activities that amplified different personal skill sets, abilities and knowledge. A component of these rotations was the students themselves delivering a short Adventure Based Learning sequence, for their peers. The groups deconstructed each sequence and provided feedback for each other.
Prior to camp, the group was divided into areas of responsibility, the most important of which being the food group. In true LBK style, the BBQ was well utilized as was the growing socially responsible ground swell of ‘Nose to Tail’ eating in which the more choicer cuts of meat and produce were discarded in favor of the lesser known (or talked about) examples.
Salmonella and Botulism successfully avoided, it was into Day 3 which saw the group hike to a summit, solo in the bush and set-up a bivvy camp complete with roaring bonfire!!
The final debrief and share session threw up some fantastic reflections and thoughts on the meaning and purpose of Adventure Education. In particular was the common theme of experiences like these facilitating group cohesion and that sense of ‘belonging’.
Looking forward to next years’ experience already… I might volunteer for the food group!
Independent Schools Foundation Academy
The change of seasons, especially going into Winter, always has the LBK team ready to action the ‘Plan B’ at any given moment. However, this wasn’t an issue for the 52 strong team from ISf Hong Kong, this year.
They brought with them the HK sunshine – all we had to do was get our adventure on! Starting in the trees of west Auckland the team clipped, swung, hung and zipped through a glorious plantation of Pinus Radiata at Tree Adventures. After what is fast becoming a compulsory component of any trip, the LBK BBQ, the group got in the bus and headed off to Miranda for their first night in NZ. Morning came bright and clear and the hot-pools were soon filled with ISFers soaking up the rejuvenating thermal properties.
This North Island adventure got us to Coromandel and saw the group carving taonga, shooting each other up at Paintball and hiking into the world famous Cathedral Cove.
Whangamata surf wasn’t exactly going off but there was enough of a wave for the group to get an intro into the basics of paddling onto, getting up and riding a wave. The Whanga forest was shredded by a group of keen ones who benefitted from some expert instruction from LBK’s newest guide, Ash (Ash likes bikes!)
Papa o te Aroha marae noho gave time for us to catch our breath. It is always a time to power-down, at least for a night. The stories of the intricate and expertly carved taonga provide us with thoughts and messages that we can take with us on the rest of our journey and beyond.
‘Early as breakfasts’ usually mean that there is a day of action ahead and Day 5 was no exception. There were a few people who wanted to test the human body’s response to extreme stress and throw themselves off a high structure (Taupo Bungy) and then the others who thought that combining high speed with class 4 pressure waves was a good idea (Rapids Jet). Needless to say, no ISF students were harmed in the completion of either of these science experiments – but all comfort zones were stretched! The final two days saw the group racing nightfall down the Tongariro River with Rafting New Zealand and Lugeing, Ogoing, Schwooping and Schweebing – and then eating!! I was definitely put out of my comfort zone at Stratos-phare restaurant at Skyline Rotorua….!
Great to have the ISF Hong Kong hardcore back in 2018. If the final night of reflections and ‘Hip Hop’ was anything to go by, NZ has left some scars (of the good kind!) See you again soon!!
Hong Kong, Singapore and more local news
It is a bit of an annual tradition to head to Hong Kong and Singapore around the early part of the year and it is also one of the directors’ favourite times. It is a chance to connect with valued schools and also to meet other schools to discuss adventure education options for their schools.
One of the highlights is getting teachers together for a little social gathering, where we usually present a few prizes from different organisations that we work with in New Zealand.
Arohanui to Real Journeys, Cactus Clothing, Skyline Enterprizes, AJ Hackett Bungy, Shotover Jet, Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, Waitomo Black Water Rafting, Cathedral Cove Sea Kayaks, The Playground Queenstown, Taupo Bungy and The Ogo for generously donating prizes for our social event. We are stoked to work with such amazing operators in New Zealand.
Some LBK merchandise was also up for grabs, such as T-shirts, Icebreakers, Jandals, safety whistles, the occasional bottle of wine and a solid amount of New Zealand made chocolate and confectionery.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to those who made the effort to get to the annual LBK social gathering and we hope to see all of you again next time!
Occasionally the LBK team is able to help out at the local schools that our kids go to. It is a great pleasure to be able to take teams to sporting tournaments and other local events when time allows.
Here are a couple of photos from local 5-a side beach rugby and also a barefoot 7 aside rugby tournament in Hawkes Bay.
Spread the word!
Little Brown Kiwi’s trips are overwhelmingly recommended via word of mouth.
We love seeing schools year after year and we also love to work with new schools who are coming to New Zealand with Little Brown Kiwi for the very first time. So, if you enjoyed your LBK adventure and think another school would too, pass on our details and ask them to get in touch.
Bookings for 2018 are already looking strong, but try us to see if we can fit you in. Alternatively you can get in early for the 2019 year!
To all of the schools who work with Little Brown Kiwi in
Yours in adventure,
The team at Little Brown Kiwi