Papatoetoe High School Students thrive in the outdoors

Papatoetoe High School students recently came back buzzing from their time at Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier Island where 10 students took part in a 5 day Outdoor Education programme. These students were able to attend the programme thanks to a community partnership between Hillary Outdoors and Torpedo7. The partnership involves fundraising in Torpedo7 stores and via the Torpedo7 website to help students in challenging financial circumstances have the outdoor experience of a lifetime.


Hillary Outodoors_PapatoetoeThroughout the week on Great Barrier Island, the students participated in a variety of different activities designed to challenge them mentally and physically, help them work together as a team and grow as individuals. They also took part in an overnight tramp near the end of the week where they put all the skills they learnt previously to use.


The benefits of the week were particularly obvious once the students settled back at school and had a chance to reflect on their journeys of growth and development, both as a team and individuals. Papatoetoe High School student Zoe had hoped that the experience would challenge her and help develop leadership and teamwork skills. She knew that it would be a physically challenging programme and as predicted, the week turned out to be “a great opportunity to push myself and prove what I could do.”


Fellow classmate Spencer now knows that he took a lot for granted before his time on the island, including living in a city, “it was much rougher on the island. It’s not until you don’t have something that you realise how much you appreciate it,” he said. He found a new sense of appreciation for everything, he remarked “I never knew a sandwich could taste so good until I had been hiking for a few hours. Everything is better once you feel you’ve earned it.”


Jackie “learnt about the significance of team work, specifically how a lack of it can be detrimental to the whole group.” Rebecca says she will now “apply what I have learnt about perseverance and patience into my school work, being patient and persevering with long, tedious assignments and tasks, knowing that I will enjoy the end result.” This reinforces the notion that the important life skills students gained on their week away are transferrable into their everyday lives and will remain with them forever.


Teacher in charge, Keith Francis enjoyed observing how the studentsHillary_Outdoors_Papatoetoe developed throughout the week. Looking back, Keith believes that “some students have become emotionally and mentally stronger. Students developed a better appreciation of the environment around them. Some overcame their fear of water and heights. As a group, they developed a truer sense of the word teamwork. They associated with students that they do not normally hang out with.”


He overheard a student say “don’t give up, no matter how long it takes, you will eventually arrive at your destination” a statement, that he adds “all students acknowledged by the end of the week”. Keith also notes “I believe the funding and opportunity to attend this programme has allowed each individual student to explore their own values and potential. This will enable them as individuals and members of a community to contribute to developing a stronger, vibrant local community in the future.”


Torpedo7 Brand Manager, Michelle Macdiarmid is delighted with the partnerships progression “it’s going from strength to strength. The crew relish the opportunity to get behind Hillary Outdoors and help more students attend these incredible programmes. We look forward to supporting more schools going forward.”