Great Barrier Island Update

James Macmillan

James McMillan, Acting Centre Manager, Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier Island

October saw the departure of our Centre Manager, Simon Graney and in the interim transition period, prior to the arrival of Gemma Parkin (our new Centre Manager) in January, James McMillan is Acting Centre Manager.

Below James updates us on some of the latest news from the Centre

Storm Recovery Update 

Trident High school help clean up beach

Trident High School help clean up beach

Looking back on the winter months, the storm of June 10th seems a distant memory however many of the effects still remain in the form of large earth slips.  One of the local D.O.C. staff informed us of recording 382mm of rain that night.  While it is business as usual here at Hillary Outdoors, mounds of mud and bio debris still surround the shed and can be found along the foreshore.  Plan has been put in place and grant applied for to fund the removal of the waste.  The post storm work conducted by Orama staff, volunteers, trust members and supporters was exceptional and one of the key reasons why business did not cease for Hillary outdoors on GBI.  Hillary Outdoors recognises their efforts and thanks them.

Get 2 Go Approaches

With Get 2 Go approaching, the return of Callum Harris occurs.  It is always great to have Callum back on the island and his efforts combined with Tom Denley’s creative challenges will be applied to set up the national adventure race final.  Callum is a keen adventure racer and has been a competitive athlete in both the Hillary Challenge and Get 2 Go.  Callum’s team from Whangarei was triumphant in 2006 and his enthusiasm for the sport brings new and interesting ideas.

Long Programmes

Wetland restoration as part of long programme on Great Barrier Island

Wetland restoration as part of long programme on Great Barrier Island

Our Long programmes have proven very successful.  Working in conjunction with schools to determine the content and focus creates the potential for a life changing experience for a student on as five week programme.  Hillcrest High School return in 2015 for the 4th year running.  The boys and girls come in two separate groups of 30 and become part of the islands North Barrier community for the time they are here.  In 2014 Trident brought 30 students for their first five week programme.  The group arrived well prepared as the students attending were a form class who have spent much of the academic year preparing for the trip.  They return again in 2015.  Otumoetai also return in 2015 with 40 students for an action packed 2.5 weeks.

 Goodbye to our Centre Manager, hello to our new one

The Graney family on a kayaking trip

The Graney family on a kayaking trip

As mentioned earlier, Simon Graney finished up at the Centre in October. Simon worked for Hillary Outdoors for eleven years (six of which were on Great Barrier Island as Centre Manager).  Much of the staff culture and retention, centre facilities, programmes and safety systems were created through the hard work of Simon.  Simon could not have achieved this without the support of Brigid and familly.  In loosing Simon as centre manager the community at Orama also recognises the loss of the Graneys.  Bridgid’s input to the environmental development and education of our Great Barrier Centre was exceptional.  The departure of the Graney family is a great loss to the North Barrier community and Hillary Outdoors.  Outward Bound have gained a great staff member.  We wish them only the very best for the future.

Gemma Parkin, our new Centre Manager that is due to join us in January, comes to us from Horizons in Christchurch with a solid managerial skill set.  Her passion for the outdoors is strong and this, combined with her enthusiasm to inspire others, will be a great asset to our Great Barrier Centre.  Her arrival is eagerly anticipated and I am sure Gemma and her husband Tony will fit into island life well.

James McMillan

Acting Centre Manager, Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier Island