Little Brown Kiwi | LBK Chat – Wrapping up 2017
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A number of significant initiatives and relationships were built towards the end of 2017 which finished the calendar year on a real high for the LBK team. It is an exciting time to be working with so many fantastic international schools as we partner with New Zealand based groups and communities who are really making a difference.

Going on big adventures will always be a staple feature of Little Brown Kiwi. We invite all of our students and schools to embrace physical challenges as they venture into the beautiful back country of New Zealand.

However, to balance out the pure adventure component, some other events and happenings have been keeping us busy over recent months which are worth mentioning.

Specifically: Little Brown Kiwi has established a connection with Ngai Tuhoe and Te Kura Whenua in Te Urewera; the very first ‘Marae DIY’ project was initiated; and a strong working relationship with Project Tongariro has been created.

The connections featured above appear in the reflections from the different schools who worked with Little Brown Kiwi in the later months of the year.

Independent Schools Foundation Academy (August)

With a T10 Typhoon bearing down on Hong Kong, New Zealand would appear to be quite a safe place be, right? Not so if you are a member of the ISF 2017 ELP!

This courageous bunch were thrown head first into challenging activities and were pushed well outside there comfort zones, so much so that the T10 might have seemed more inviting in comparison!! Freezing morning swims, bungy, luge, paintball, rafting , sea kayaking… it was all in there! The foot came off the gas momentarily as the group got to grips with the Aotearoa art form of bone carving and created their very own piece of NZ to take home with them. The overnight at Papa O Te Aroha marae was another cultural highlight, too. The entire experience proved an escape for some, as big events such as University exams, placements and offers were on the horizon. Great to reflect on the way in which taking on challenges can prove restorative and bring into focus the ‘real’. Great to have ISF here in NZ and looking forward to 2018 already!

Woodford House (September)

The Woodford House Year 12 cohort visited the Central Plateau in September. Day 1 of their ‘Adventurous Journey’ was with the team at Little Brown Kiwi.

Bright blue skies were ordered, but didn’t eventuate – NZ is green for a reason! The girls took to the vertical challenges of the indoor rock wall at Turangi like a Whio to water and quickly forgot the rain as they hiked the beautiful Tongariro River trail. The afternoon saw the group donning wetsuits, helmets and life jackets for a blast down the Grade 3 white water of the Tongariro river – refreshing as! The Tokaanu hotpools provided a welcome thermal recovery and thoughts soon focused on the following day, and the forecast for ‘riding the mountain’! (btw; the weather the following day was ‘Bluebird’… better late than never!)

Thanks, Woodford… see you again next year!

STC (September)

Sha Tin College made the trip South again in 2017. The best thing about a Sha Tin College trip is that the itineraries are always different. Every year the lead teachers are keen as to try new experiences and activities. 2017 was no different.

Expertly led by Ms Thurbon (whose surname is particularly difficult to pronounce with a heavy kiwi accent… apparently?) and accompanied by the repeat offenders of Mr Thornton and Mr Andrews, the 36 strong contingent got stuck right in to all NZ has to offer. The unfortunate closing of the Pinnacles access road, due to flood damaged a month earlier, meant the group went bush… Grylls style! No flash tents with spacious vestibules or accommodating ‘foot-prints’, accommodation just consisted of a fly sheet, a ground sheet and two well selected trees. The theme of ruggedness continued throughout the week with participation in activities like surfing, mountain biking, Ogoing, and eating rugged NZ pies.

The culminating event, and true test of grit, came in the form of the underground challenge in Waitomo. Dark, wet, fast flowing water – guaranteed to get you thinking twice about life as a troll. Looking forward to next year already STC!! I wonder what is on the cards for us?

Kellett School (October)

In direct collaboration with Kellett School, the very first ‘DIY Marae’ initiative was established.

The general idea was to get a whole lot of people getting busy to achieve a whole lot of work in a relatively short period of time. The relationship with Papa o te Aroha marae spans over 10 years and tangata whenua (our hosts) have provided warm hospitality and rich cultural exchange to hundreds of visitors over the years. As the marae is run on a voluntary basis, any additional help is greatly received.

Kellett School were warmly welcomed on to Papa o te Aroha, experienced an introduction to tikanga Maori and feasted on a generous hangi in the evening, followed by stories of the wharenui and carvings before bed. In the morning, the students got busy on jobs ranging from preparing and painting walls, to water blasting concrete to gardening. Some baking work also featured as part of the morning’s mahi.

Further to this ‘grunty’ aspect of Kellett School’s adventure; the students started their trip with a zip line journey, spent a hard core night in tent flies in the back country, got busy bone carving, shooting each other with paintballs, learnt about the environmental work happening at Whenuakite Kiwi Care, threw themselves into adrenaline action at Agroventures and also went deep underground on a caving mission in Waitomo.

During the overnight expedition, we had a good yarn with the students, who are not far from leaving school, about their future plans and studies. It would seem that our future is in pretty good hands!

As well as the planned adventures, it would seem that the LBK crew is not immune to having to work outside of their own comfort zones on occasion… On this trip, we had the triple threat of a small ‘external combustion’ issue with the bus, the not insignificant matter of a crunched LBK support van and another vehicle issue which meant a small scramble on our part. The upshot of all of this is that the systems in place meant a minimum of disruption to the group, who were superbly serene throughout! Was it a coincidence that these issues occurred on Friday 13th…?!

Thank you Kellett School! We can’t wait to see you in 2018.

CDNIS (October)

It was very cool to work with CDNIS on their adventure, as it involved breaking new ground.

Te Urerwera is a special part of New Zealand which is now fully governed and managed by Ngai Tuhoe, after the treaty settlement in 2014. Contact was made with the tribal authority to gain access to Te Urewera and before their three day expedition, CDNIS was fortunate to be given an overview of Te Urewera from the perspective of Ngai Tuhoe. From a cultural and environmental perspective, the overview allowed the students to think deeper than ‘leave no trace’ and provided a thought-provoking sense of context for where the group was to spend the next three days.

It is a beautiful journey into the area from Rotorua and the groups were lucky to enjoy three fine days in this temperate rain-forest.

In addition to the expedition, which was the main thrust of the adventure, CDNIS also went zip lining, jet boated, mountain biked, bungy-swung, went to Agroventures and the OGO and then finished up their punchy New Zealand adventure with a combination of White Water Rafting New Zealand’s highest commercially rafted waterfall, and Hobbiton…or shopping (for the non-Hobbit-heads in the group!)

CDNIS, we salute you for your grit and willingness to venture into lesser travelled regions. We trust that you were justly rewarded for your efforts! We look forward to a return from the good people at CDNIS next year.

West Island School (November)

After a few years in the ‘wilderness’, it is our pleasure to let you know of the return of West Island School! True, the build-up has been long and thwart with hiccups, but this is all soon forgotten after touch down in Aotearoa. 

Mr Harding, and his minder Ms Craig, put in the ‘mahi to get the treats’ in 2017. It was great to work alongside two professionals so keen to see their students benefit from the wide range of challenge presented to them over the course of the week. Surfing, hiking, sea kayaking, rafting and camping all presented challenge in their different forms. The school chose to take on the challenge of an authentic environmental service activity which prompted reflection and thinking on sustainable practices and transfer of that home to Hong Kong. The bus journeys (expertly steered by Jeff! – he came out of retirement especially for this WIS trip!) were made pleasurable and seemed to fly by due to the expertly mixed tunes from the backseat, via a UE Boom – nothing like a sound track to an adventure!

It was an epic 2017 trip team WIS… looking forward to getting you back in 2018!!

Island School (November)

One word… ’wowee’! The Island School 2017 adventure was ‘unbelieveable’.

In ratings of ‘hardcore-ness’, this trip was right up there. From the physical challenges provided by the double overnights of hiking and rafting, to negotiating the locals at the buffet at the Turangi Tavern, this trip had real consequence and real reward. After lead in days at Rotorua and Taupo blasting away jet lag through early morning swims, luge, Ogo, jet boating, swinging and kayaking, it was down to business. The group hiked across the Tongariro National Park to camp streamside, and then backed this up with the overnight rafting challenge on the Tongariro River. The weather through in challenge too, but this only added to the enjoyment for this group. The appreciation of the natural surrounds was only enhanced by the schools choice to get down and dirty with some real, authentic environmental Service work with the legends at Project Tongariro. This community environmental action group, expertly led by Shirley Potter, provided opportunity for IS students to contribute. Providing ‘direct and honest feedback’ on performance and the following of instructions, Shirley and her team expertly guided our group in planting/restoration and ‘killing’ activity.

It was great to see the IS kids on the end of saws, loppers and toxic paint… accompanied by an evil look in their eye! Massive thank you to Ms Leung and the ‘Koros’ (Mr ??????? and Mr???????) for their support and enthusiasm for this truly challenging experience. Interesting to think about 2018 – If we have to step things up, it might need to be ‘triple overnights and chainsaws’??! Wowee!!

NZI Sustainable Business Network awards (November)

Little Brown Kiwi was delighted to attend a large function at Auckland’s Shed 10 venue, as a finalist for the NZI Sustainable Business Network awards.

Usually, the LBK team is accustomed to wearing boardies and jandals, but Henry and Paddy each donned the required black tie dress code to represent LBK in the appropriate manner!

It was an inspiring night, with the Prime Minister providing an opening address and wall to wall tables of businesses who are committed to a sustainable approach to conducting business in New Zealand.

The winner of the restoring nature category went to Zealandia in Wellington, for their outstanding efforts in nurturing native wildlife in the region. It was a pleasure to be selected alongside businesses such as Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari, Agrissentials NZ, Green Cabs, Real Journeys, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and Te Whangai Trust who were also represented at this celebration.

LBK would like to thank and acknowledge all of the hard-working groups whom we partner with. All of the environmental groups, mostly made up of volunteers, provide a hands-on form of education to all of the students who visit New Zealand with LBK. Our students gain an appreciation of the passion and also the hard work that goes on in every corner of New Zealand, in the name of conservation.

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Thank you!

To all of the schools who work with Little Brown Kiwi in New Zealand.

Yours in adventure,
The team at Little Brown Kiwi

Find us on WhatsApp!

Henry: +64 274 525 494
Paddy: +64 278 525 494

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!