Farewell Aotea Great Barrier Island: A Night of Stories, Song, and Reflection 

A couple of weeks ago, we gathered on Aotea Great Barrier Island for a poignant farewell event that celebrated our time and experiences on this beautiful island. The event was a heartfelt tribute to the 18 years we spent here, fostering outdoor education, adventure, and community. 

We invited community members who had been part of Hillary Outdoors programmes over the years—staff, students, neighbours, and supporters. The evening was filled with familiar faces, all coming together to honour the unique bond we shared with the island and each other. 

As the sun set, stories began to flow. Tales of adventure, camaraderie, and growth were shared over a drink or two. Each story was a testament to Hillary Outdoors’s impact on countless lives and our profound connection with Aotea Great Barrier Island. 

The night was not just about looking back but also about celebrating the spirit of the island through waiata.  The harmonious voices lifted our spirits and brought a sense of unity and closure to the gathering.  

Reflecting on our wonderful time on the island, we were reminded of the many adventures we’ve embarked on, the skills we’ve developed, and the friendships we’ve formed. Aotea Great Barrier Island will always hold a special place in our hearts, and its legacy will continue to inspire our future endeavours. 

As we bid farewell, we are grateful for the support and warmth from the Aotea community. While this chapter ends, the spirit of the island and the lessons learned here will forever be a part of Hillary Outdoors. 

Thank you, Aotea Great Barrier Island, for the memories, the adventures, and the lifelong friendships. Your beauty and spirit will always be with us as we embark on new adventures.