Little Brown Kiwi | LBK Chat – June 2016
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Little Brown Kiwi is 10 years old this year!

We’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank every student, teacher, parent, all those in school communities and also everyone who has supported LBK in some way in the first ten years.

We’d also like to thank our own families, whom without their support, none of this would be possible.

At this moment, a special mention goes to James Lovegrove, who had the tenacity and sense of adventure to found Little Brown Kiwi back in 2006. With James’ indomitable attitude and persuasive nature, he had an idea that became a reality and has now reached its 10th year of existence. JLo, thanks for your ongoing interest and support of LBK.

Getting Amongst It – Kiwi Culture and what it is to be a Kiwi.

Little Brown Kiwi has introduced many schools and thousands of students to New Zealand adventure education.

All of these people have been immersed in Kiwi culture throughout their time here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Kiwi culture is at the heart of what we do. During your time in New Zealand, we love to introduce you to the unique aspects of what it is to be a Kiwi, so that you can enjoy a genuine and fun New Zealand adventure.

Over the years, so many of you have kicked a footy ball around in a park, felt the sand beneath your toes, smashed a steak and cheese pie OR fish and chips OR enjoyed a traditional hangi, or experienced some bad jokes and occasionally laughed at some funny ones dealt out by our guides.

Each itinerary is designed so that students can dig a little into the ‘New Zealand way of things’. The activities themselves, while very important, are also a vehicle for you to get amongst what it is to be a Kiwi.

This includes a tangible and authentic connection with Maori culture, real contributions to service projects to help the hard working locals achieve a difference in their communities, and also allows each student to achieve personal challenges across a range of adventurous and sometimes demanding activities.

All of this is set amidst the mountains, rivers, beaches, open spaces, ocean and the natural environment that is Aotearoa New Zealand.

Thanks for embracing our unique culture!


SAS – In search of the inner ‘Wild Man or Wild Woman’.

They came to get wild and some positively bordered on going feral during this challenging and educational time in New Zealand’s backcountry.

Elements of this adventure were designed to test even the ‘wildest’ of students. Teaching modules included building your own bivvy (shelter), learning about butchering animals, handling firearms, lighting fires, back country navigation, outdoor first aid and also practising your best ‘bomb or staple’ in the cool waters of a remote river.

The group was treated to blazing sunshine for most of the Wildman wilderness modules and the weather broke spectacularly in time for the mountain bike journey to our final campsite. There is no doubt that tent-erecting skills made the difference between a dry and comfortable or a soggy and partly miserable night under nylon. There were some solid moments of learning here to be sure!

Due to the extreme amount of rain, the rafting expedition had to be switched due to swollen rivers, but nonetheless, the group was able to complete both sections of the Tongariro River as planned.

When the sun came out, it was time to get amongst a final game of Paintball before heading North to Rotorua for a big meal a shower and a comfortable bed.

Once again, the warriors of SAS, strongly supported by their teachers JG and Zevens, showed the tenacity and camaraderie that is required to not only survive by thrive during this challenging back country adventure.



An intrepid bunch of 21 ticked the ‘New Zealand Adventure’ box at HKIS earlier this year.

The group touched down in Auckland with an enthusiastic and ‘go get ‘em’ attitude that remained for the duration of the 7 day epic North Island experience – that is for sure! We kicked things off straight away, no rest for the wicked, with a trip out to Boundary Rd and the Tree Adventures experience. The lack of sleep and jetlag was not an issue at all for this crew as they climbed, dangled, swung and zip-lined through the forest.

With a Pinnacles expedition looming it was all hands to packing that evening as we prepared our gear for the two days ahead. The hike itself saw the re-emergence of the ‘Snake’. Paddy (again) assumed the role of snake-butt and found himself delving deep into the memory banks of motivational quotes in order to get the butt of the HKIS snake moving! From the summit, the sites for the next days’ kayaking, carving, paintball and surfing were all visible in a stunning and breath-taking vista.

Papa o te Aroha Marae welcomed the group in the customary manner and the Forest View High School Kapa Haka group certainly entertained, as well as gave a snapshot into the lives of New Zealand teenagers. The usual heartaches associated with visits too brief, set in during the early start for Turangi the following morning as we got onto, and well amongst, the mighty Tongariro River in whitewater rafts.

A quick shower and change saw us heading over to Waitomo and underground into the extensive caving systems, right below our feet. Amazing how the sunshine warms the core after time underground. A late international departure meant time for more adventure as we headed North to Piha Beach. The Blue Canyon provided plenty of challenge for everyone as abseiling, cliff jumping and ‘squeezing’ became the name of the game. A quick bite to eat at ‘The Foodtruck Garage’ and before we knew it we were re-arranging bags in the dark of the Auckland International Airport car park, ready for the trip home to HK. Massive thanks goes out to Mr U and Dr D who competently and enthusiastically kept the ball rolling from start to finish. Even bigger ‘ups’ goes out to the HKIS NZ Adventure Crew 2016 – you leeeeegends you!!!!



Round 2 kicked off for Harrow School, Hong Kong, in Queenstown during March.

Once again the charismatic and charming Mr Reece Hamon lead the charge, competently support by a team of equally attractive and adventurous staff; Mr and Mrs Finch, Ms McMillan and Ms Campbell (technically a local!). 21 ‘Harrow Hardcore’ students made the trip and hit the ground running, ready to immerse themselves in kiwi culture and adventure.

A ‘right into it from the start’ attitude saw the group split into Choice Bro activities. The ‘shredders’ took to Rabbit Ridge like Mountain Biking ducks to water. However, it was skin and clothing that took the brunt of the shredding rather than the hill as some of us got up close and personal with the infamous New Zealand ‘prickle bush’!

The weather Gods decided on rain, which was perfect for the group who headed out to ‘The Mule’ – a purpose built military team building course that put a muddy smile on everyone’s dial – especially that of Mr F (took him back to the good ole days!)

The Military theme continues as we mobilised ourselves into the alpine village of Wanaka and the nearby Paintball activity. Stand Up Paddle boarding, Puzzle World and another opportunity to Mountain Bike, this time around the shores of Lake Wanaka, filled the day before making the short trip to our campsite out in Hawea. Deano, Driver extraordinaire, showed another of his talents by busting out the bagpipes and blasting a hearty rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’ which reverberated around the hills of Lake Hawea. Rather appropriate considering the history of Scottish colonisation associated with this area.

Helicopters and Hiking were the order of day five as we weighed ourselves, loaded packs and made the short ‘hop’ into the back blocks of Nokomai Station. The rest of the day involved navigating and negotiating our way to camp. Dinner on, tent up and relaxing after a hard hike was the order of the evening, but not before a few marsh mellows and bad jokes around two roaring fires.

Back into Queenstown via Te Anau and probably the highlight of the trip for Mr H – a PIE (or two)! A short steamboat trip over to Walter Peak Station and the BBBQDE (Best BBQ Dinner Ever) before some farewells and thank ewes – including the handing out of All Black jerseys for all (when in NZ!) The final day saw us luging, swinging and eating lunch from a restaurant with a truly 100% pure NZ view. After a final game of touch rugby (bare feet of course!) it was onto the plane and home.

Big thank ewes to the Harrow staff who supported the students throughout, pushing them to challenge themselves and getting right in there beside them. Until next year – North!!


UWC – Nature, wildlife, physical challenge and good times!

Our good friends at UWC decided to take on the top of the South Island during their 10-day trip.

Some of the many highlights included whale watching in Kaikoura, the Abel Tasman National Park, rafting on the Buller River, staying overnight at a special marae, swimming with dolphins in Akaroa and riding the Skywire at Happy Valley in Nelson.

The energy and enthusiasm from the full team was outstanding and the group mixed well across the three grades that were represented.

The scenery throughout the adventure was jaw-dropping, due to many days of sunshine, as was the temperature of the water when you jumped off (or were pushed) off the raft. The kayaking and walking in the Abel Tasman National Park was completed on a balmy two days in April and it was great to see so many Singapore-based students take the opportunity for a swim in these refreshing waters.

As well as the many adventurous pursuits, the cultural exchange experience allowed students the chance to really engage with Maori culture. They spent time with local students, played traditional games and also enjoyed the massive expanse of Pohara beach at the top of the Golden Bay area. Once again, our group was lucky to be treated to the manaakitanga of the generous people of Onetahua Marae.

UWC, you rock! Thanks for choosing LBK and we are excited about planning your next New Zealand adventure in 2017.


Links with Massey University.

Massey University Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science (BSpEx) crew took on their expedition with both hands this year.

After weeks of logistical planning, physical preparation and skill development, the group were ready to depart on their 4-day hiking-kayaking-biking expedition through the Manawatu province of New Zealand. Named the ‘Source to Sea’ expedition, the experience is designed to provide a context within which key learning’s associated with integrated curriculum design and implementation can be emphasised.

Day one involved a 7-hour hike that followed the Mangahau-Makahika track through the Tararua Forest Park. Highpoint views took in all of the Manawatu flood plains. The history associated with the power scheme, forestry and Te Ao Maori provided numerous opportunities for learning and reflection.

After several instances of ‘geographical embarrassment’, the group nailed their final checkpoint and busied themselves setting up camp. The headwaters of the Makahika stream is considered taonga (treasure) to the local people and is kept as free as possible from pollutants etc. The purity of the water is evident in the abundant eel population, which we later learnt that they migrated from Tonga to New Zealand! (made out 7-hour hike look easy?!)

Day two saw the group take to two wheels and pedal themselves 35 kms to Foxton Beach. Again, ‘geographical embarrassment’ set in for some, but the majority made sound decisions to arrive at the beach – shattered! Here we were able to reflect on the journey so far and look back into the hills from where we had started.

The Foxton area once supported a thriving Harakeke (Native Flax) industry. Paola Hapeta joined the group to instruct on weaving techniques and associated practices, protocols and traditions. Paola taught us one pattern in particular, a ‘putiputi’ (flower) of which the group made several each and donated them to local ANZAC Day celebrations in the nearby city of Palmerston North. The afternoon was spent in the surf and sand of the beach, resting up for the next day’s paddle.

An early start saw us departing camp for the put-in on the Manawatu River. For many, this was to be a challenging proposition, and the prospect of an incoming tide, headwind and fatigue only added to the challenge. Having recently learned the essentials of kayaking, for many, this was the opportunity to put it all into practice. The Manawatu River also provided an opportunity for us to ponder the impact we have on the environment. The Manawatu River, due to intensive Dairy Farming along its banks, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world and, as a result, has the classification of only ‘wade-able’ – adds to the importance of keeping your kayak upright!

The following day saw the final big challenge of the trip – 50km return bike ride to Massey University. The wind decided it was going to blow into our faces, not cool, and coupling this with 3 previous days of activity – it certainly was a challenge. After much mental imagery and internal motivational self-talk, the group rolled into the Massey University car park. The debrief was great in that it highlighted heaps of ‘moments of integration’ that were experienced. Perhaps the biggest ‘positive’ we all took, though, was the way in which this shared experience brought us closer together and bonded us as a group. These shared ‘hardships’ and ‘challenges’ have definitely allowed the group to get to know each other a lot better.

Now to write the essays……!


What else has been happening?

Some of the LBK team have been involved in some endurance events in the past couple of months.

In March, Annette, Henry and Karl got involved in the Triple Peaks Challenge – a mountain run across three highest peaks closest to Havelock North – Mt Erin, Mt Kahuranaki and Te Mata Peak.

The Hawkes Bay inaugural Air New Zealand Marathon. On Saturday 14th May, Henry was keen to see what 42.2km felt like, 15 years after his first marathon attempt in London back in 2001. It was a great day out, running down Marine Parade, winding through vineyards and olive groves and ending up at one of Hawkes Bay’s premier vineyards – Sileni Estate. A successful finish and a fantastic event all round.

Thanks to the support crew!


Thank you!

To all students, teachers, parents and school management who choose to work with Little Brown Kiwi for their New Zealand adventures. Planning is well underway for 2017, so please contact Little Brown Kiwi to register your interest for your next New Zealand trip of a lifetime.


Kia Ora!

Little Brown Kiwi is proud to be associated with Whenuakite Kiwi Care, sponsor an acre with SIRCET (Stewart Island) and also DOC for service conservation projects.

Also proudly associated with Learning Hawkes Bay, member of TIA and a Qualmark accredited operator.
Yours in adventure,

Henry, Paddy and the LBK team