Selwyn College

The experience for our Year 13 student leaders gives them huge opportunities into the outdoors, communication and leadership that we are unable to offer in a central Auckland school. Our students have benefited hugely through the experience. They will be able to stamp their mark on the world with the skills that they have learnt.

Sheryll Ofner


Greg Smith
Teacher in Charge



Hastings Boys’ High School

We feel it is important for our students to experience activities where teamwork is involved, decisions need to be made, instructions followed and difficulties overcome.

What they learnt that week will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. The programme extends them both physically and mentally and they left exhausted but excited at all they had learnt and achieved. It was encouraging to see how these activities not only helped their self-confidence but they had a good time being with their peers and meeting new people.

GL Barrett

Deputy Principal

Hastings Boys’ high School


South Canterbury Home Educators

“The instructors and the course provided by Hillary Outdoors were superb. The activities were well planned to assist student’s learning in team work, communication and leadership. The outdoor challenges managed risks well while extending students to achieve more than they thought they were capable of achieving. Student’s gained confidence in their abilities as they experienced success.The instructors took every opportunity to teach the students about safety, and respect for the environment as well as foster a love for our country.”
Kay Paterson
South Canterbury Home Educators Co-ordinator

Student thoughts about their participation in the programme…

“My time at Great Barrier Island was awesome! We did so many cool activities. I learnt a heap of new things about the sea and the bush. It really helped with my confidence with people and I was able to do stuff that I never would have done before. “

“I learnt new skills that I hadn’t tried before as well as learning things like having a positive attitude even when we were doing things that didn’t seem so exciting like cleaning the toilets!  We did a lot of team building activities which really helped me to become more thoughtful in thinking of others and just better at working in a team.  Normally at home I prefer to spend time indoors but this trip as really got me to have a much greater love for the outdoors as well. I loved seeing the beauty of another part of New Zealand that I had never seen before. I have made long lasting friends this week and had a blast, this week has been such an incredible experience that I feel so blessed to have been able to go on this trip.”

“Our instructors were great, giving us team building and problem solving activities and encouraging us to enjoy ourselves even when we were tired or out of our comfort zone. Over the week I learnt to push my self, because if you don’t you’ll probably end up regretting not doing it, and also how to work in a team.”

“I want to thank you for the incredible opportunity you gave us all I’m so grateful. A big way that going to GBI has benefited me in a way that will have a huge impact on me would have to be learning to communicate idea’s with a whole group and listening to everyone else’s. I felt the way the leaders orchestrated trust building exercises very helpful yet fun, also having to completely depend on people was a really stretching and an awesome way of learning to take responsibilities seriously!”

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I’m so grateful for being able to have such an amazing adventure! I am a shy introvert and was so thrilled to have been able to open up and be myself in such a safe environment, challenging myself and helping me to become more confident in myself and others. I’ve learnt so much about this wonderful country we live in and how to work in a team. I’m so thankful for being able to go on such an amazing trip ,it has been one of the best weeks of my life and one. I won’t ever forget! Forever grateful.”

“As a result of this week away I have come a different on view on life and how i want to live it.One thing I have learned over my time at the island is the ability to listen and heed instruction. The trip has also helped build my confidence in myself and others and it has helped me to want to get out and do some more activities similar to that of what we did on GBI.I have made many friends and also made current friendships stronger while on the Island. It also made it self very clear to me that it’s all about the team and you need each other to stand strong (and win raft races down long rivers).”

“I personally found GBI an awesome experience in which I learnt how to work as a team and get out and push myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do.  I used to be the kind of person who liked to do things by myself/alone but now I feel that I would rather be in a group or team and help and support my colleagues. GBI has really benefitted me and grateful for everything I did and learnt there.”

“It was altogether an amazing week!  A few of my highlights were the rafting, coasteering, and high elements.  I learned lots about trusting other people, working as a team, and it was definitely good for me to step out of my comfort zone, and do activities that I never would have wanted to do.  I found that if I pushed myself and did something I didn’t feel comfortable doing, in the end I actually had a lot of fun, and really enjoyed it.  I came home with a sun burn, and very beat-up legs, but I have so many stories, and great memories which I will never forget.”

“Thank you very much for sponsoring our trip, and helping to pay for the costs involved. I learnt it’s hard to listen to someone yelling their idea at you at the same time as 4 others and then yelling back doesn’t help. I learnt that waiting for your turn to speak means you don’t always get a turn to share your ideas. It’s a Balance between listening and talking, compromising and  negotiating, and the ability to keep your cool. Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy, and I was certainly challenged several times during the week! Standing on the edge of a cliff shaking, working up the courage to jump into the ocean, I had to control my doubt and fear. With the encouragement from everyone else I completed the jump! The encouragement from all the team members helped me become more confident to try new things that I never thought I was able to do. Thank you once again for your contribution, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have participated!!”

“Thank you so much for the funding to enable us to do this awesome trip. The activities we did really helped me make positive decisions and work better in a team.  My favourite activity was kayaking and it was so cool to see all the native bush around the whole island.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Great Barrier Island and I’m so grateful I received the awesome opportunity. One thing especially that I increased my knowledge in was working in a team. Although I have done teamwork before, because of the environment it was  something I was constantly engaging in and it provided me with a new, helpful perspective on it. As for the social part, I really enjoyed being surrounded by people with so diverse personalities and getting to know them and also seeing the ways they relate and interact with other people and things. The trip boosted my enthralment and love for the outdoors as well as opened my eyes to the things we can do to take care of the beautiful country we live in.”


Otahuhu College Testimonial

“The Hillary Outdoors Centre was an extraordinary experience. It was a first hands-on experience for many of us, and of course without pain there’s no gain. One of the highlights of the week for me was crawling and scrambling through nooks and crannies of a cave with a fresh river running through it. This pushed me because the team couldn’t go on with the trail if I didn’t go through.”


Otahuhu College


Hamilton West Testimonial

“Many of the students overcame personal challenges to meet the camp requirements and the combined efforts of the supportive staff, robust and well-organised programme, and brilliant setting helped achieve this.”

Keith O’Donnell

Deputy Principal

Hamilton West School


Birkenhead College Testimonial

“Hillary Outdoors is one of the highlights of the year for our students and it gives them a valuable opportunity to try new activities, challenge themselves, cement and create new friendships and experience New Zealand beyond Auckland.”

David Alderman

HOD Physical Education

Birkenhead College


Rotorua Boys’ Testimonial

“We were all able to develop our leadership skills further and work through problems as a developing group. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The activities that we did were amongst some of the most challenging and life changing things we have ever done and may ever do!”

Ryan Beamish, Deputy Head Boy

Rotorua Boys’ High School


Whangarei Intermediate School experience

Take a look at what Whangarei Intermediate School got up to during their time at the Great Barrier Island Centre earlier this year…

Whangarei Intermediate School


Massey High School Testimonial

For some of our students this experience was their first trip out of West Auckland, thus making what they did and learned that much more valuable to them…their time with Hillary Outdoors is such a platform for building resilience, gaining new knowledge and setting future goals…For one of our students, a sense of confidence and passion for outdoor education was sparked. She has not stopped talking about her week away, and has started researching the qualifications she can gain over the next few years to pursue a career in Outdoor Education. Prior to his camp, this student had exceptional leadership potential, but was at-risk of not even returning to school next year. She now intends to pursue the academic goals necessary to achieve success as an instructor and inspire others in a similar way. As a teacher it is a fantastic moment when a student finds their potential right before your eyes. We are so grateful to Hillary Outdoors and our funders for allowing opportunities like this to trigger passion for achievement, success and life in our students.

Laura Swan

Gifted and Talented Programme Co-ordinator

Massey High School


Auckland Cricket Testimonial

While being challenged on a physical and mental level, we were put through various team activities which required leadership skills, effective communication and trust from your team mates. This one week presented challenges which forced each individual outside of their comfort zones, while depending on fellow team mates for support. This is particularly important in relation to cricket as we face situations where we experience both good and bad days. The team building skills we have gained over this week will help us support each other through the challenges that we face in every day cricket. We strive for the best as a team, but we also understand that our losses are a learning experience, not only for the individual in question, but also for the team as a whole.
Jeet Raval
Mondiale Auckland Aces and NZ ‘A’ player 2015-16


Chilton Saint James School testimonial

“Another key benefit that we value from Hillary Outdoors is the emphasis they place on environmental awareness and care”

Jude Tungatt
EOTC co-ordinator
Chilton Saint James School


Chilton Saint James School testimonial

“We like the way that students who may not always stand out at school can come into their own in this different environment…The girls definitely learn a lot about themselves and what they are capable of as well as learning more about their peer group. The memories they forge on this trip endure for many years.”

Gemma Lowther
Year 12 form teacher
Chilton Saint James School


Melville High School student testimonial

Overall it was easily the BEST EVER TIME OF MY LIFE! Keelin Tahere, student, Melville High School


Tongariro School testimonial

Over the week the students are at OPC it is amazing to watch the team work develop where students took on chores and supported one another, this was another huge benefit of the students being on the OPC course.Nik Lewis, Year 9 and 10 Dean, Tongariro School, supported by Genesis Energy


Hastings Boys High School testimonial

The students were able to grow in experience and gain valuable leadership skills. They all returned as far better leaders. Without your help this would have been impossible for us to achieve.Graeme Barrett, Deputy Principal, Hastings Boys’ High School, supported by First Light Foundation


James Cook High School student testimonial

It felt like we were strangers when we arrived, but when we left we were like a family

Chanel Tuato, student, James Cook High School, supported by Auckland Council


Royal Road School testimonial

It is not putting it too strongly to say that the experience the children have at this camp is literally life changing The Year 7 children who went last year are showing greatly increased confidence and maturity this year, and the Year 8 students who attended have really been set up for success at High School

Wayne Leighton, Principal,
Royal Road School, Supported by ASB Community Trust


Events testimonials

…because Hillary Outdoors events are designed for effective team work that I have seen all students make strides with their confidence and inter-personal skills.
Nigel Rowland, teacher
Trident High School


Events testimonials

…There are no other events (and I’ve been to many!) which offer a challenge like these do, build team spirit, teach students the value of social responsibility, all the while learning about the incredible environment we are privileged to live in and the importance of taking care of it!… The events are life changing, every student I have taken to an event identifies it as the highlight of their high school years!
Jenny Bloom, teacher
Thames High School


Melville High School student testimonial

We would recommend this trip to anyone because it really is a golden moment of your high school lives. Great Barrier is a memory that is unforgettable in every single way

Alyssa Year, student
Melville High School