GBI Centre Update – A winter in shorts


Great Barrier Island Centre Manager Gemma Parkin (pictured left) asked instructor Susy Stokes to talk about a recent visit from Hillcrest High School…


With an average daily temperature of 12 degrees and the water sitting at an average of 14 degrees, it’s a double-take to think that we have been through the deepest darkest parts of winter. Not to worry, we have all been in the classic ‘Barrier outfit’ of shorts, gummies and fleece, an outfit that will take you from the farm, sea kayak and boat, straight out for dinner. No need to change, it’s the Barrier.

Hillary Outdoors_GBIAccustomed to the Barrier style and now hopefully rocking it back on the mainland, are ninety Hillcrest High School students who lapped up winter with us in this paradise. Life wasn’t all a dream, we had enough wind for the America’s Cup Regatta and enough rain to turn our baby creeks into white-water action, but no worries, we did not blow nor float away. We dug deep and did what only comes naturally; having fun and exploring hard!

The Barrier has a special way of leaving an imprint on all that spend some time getting to know her. I’m sure the tales of enduring adventures, epic failures, newfound independence and appreciation for natural beauty are still being told back in Hamilton.
Some say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, well, I believe it’s been the small island community of Northern Barrier that we have to thank for making the world a better place for ninety young students this winter. Together we can sleep easy at night knowing we have done our part in growing another group of more resilient, empathetic and Hillary spirited youth that are forever changed from their five week stay on Great Barrier Island.

I feel incredibly grateful to live and work in this beautiful pocket of paradise, but it’s the people who make the biggest difference to a place.

He aha te mea nui o te ao, He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
What is the most important thing in the world, It is the people, it is the people, it is the people