By Tim Lucas | Posted: Wednesday March 24, 2021

Tēnā koutou katoa i Tāhuna - Greetings everyone from Glenorchy

This year's leadership camp is based around the kaupapa of ngā ara pounamu (greenstone trails). Over the course of this term students from Year 10 Te reo Māori have been learning about this subject and in a beautiful place such as Tāhuna (Glenorchy) this subject comes to life. The Dart River or Te Awa Whakatipu at the head of Lake Wakatipu is a rich area of Māori and European history. There are many greenstone trails that begin from this place which follow rivers into the heart of Kā Tiritiri o te Moana (Southern Alps) to the West Coast - where precious pounamu is found. Yesterday, our students retraced the ancient footsteps of tīpuna (ancestors) as we walked an old trail that followed a river called Te Kōmama (Route Burn). At day break we were walking and the goal was to reach Tarahaka Whakatipu (Harris Saddle) which is the highest point on the Routeburn Track (1255m) and return the same way - a distance of 26kms. As the clouds lifted, we arrived at the saddle and were greeted with incredible views of Fiordland National Park including the mighty Darren Mountains. On the return journey we enjoyed a refreshing swim and bombing competition at Forge Flat on the Route Burn. After a very long day we arrived back to the school vans at about 6pm. A huge effort indeed from staff and students!

Highlights of the wānanga (camp) have been riding the gondola, luging and visiting Fear Factory in Queenstown, teaching the students of Glenorchy Primary School haka, waiata and traditional Māori games for the morning on Thursday, walking an ancient greenstone trail, Year 13 mentor student, Melina Lam Cheung's Samoan ghost stories and roasting marshmallows around the campfire, swimming and fishing in Ōturu (Diamond Lake), spotlight, performing the school haka overlooking the Dart River and having good old-fashioned fun with each other!

We have had a very special camp and my sincere thanks to our Year 13s who have been amazing (Hannah Larson, Melina Lam Cheung, Keisha Su'a, Liana Paerata, Jess Evans and Siobhan Stevenson) and thank you also to kaiako Maya Tate-Manning and super camp dad, Mr Rob Lodge. Lastly to the Year 10s (Isaac Tili, Oliver Lodge, Jeremy Meikle, Emma Sharkey, Bella Devereux, Cate Whelan, Layla Pawsey, Chloe Hardie, Anahera Lewis, Sienna Lewis, Ruby de Graaf, Arna van de Klundert, Aila Armstrong, Danny Botting, Joseph Brennan, Jordy Sherriff, Levi Tainui, Elliot Blair, Neveah Aitcheson, Rebekah Vigers, Reihana Kiri and Isabel Castillo, who have been absolutely wonderful - ngā mihi nui ki a koutou! (thank you all!).

Kia hora te marino, kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere te kārohirohi i mua i tō huarahi.

May peace be widespread, may the sea glisten like greenstone, and may the shimmer of light guide you on your way.

A karakia / blessing on all who travel.