Impact Report 2020-2021
Just 40 minutes out of Kawerau is Lake Okataina, a secluded lake with calm, clear water, surrounded by a huge range of native flora and fauna, and many walking tracks ready to be explored. For several students from the local school, Tarawera High School, POET’s year 9 camp is the first time they have experienced this natural gem.
By making our camps local, we are not only giving youth the opportunity to explore the wonders of their own back yard but strengthening their connections to their community and to the land itself. It is also more economically sustainable for the school than a camp further afield and encourages students to be environmentally sustainable through their connection with and care for the land. This connection was also clear on Tarawera High School’s year 10 camp, where students were given the opportunity to have a solo experience – spending time alone in the bush to reflect and appreciate the natural environment.
“The concept behind the solo is powerful” – Tarawera High School teacher.
Our camps are also socially sustainable, encouraging a sense of community between the students and their teachers through shared outdoor experiences. For example, at Forest View High School’s year 13 camp to Papamoa, students walked up Mount Maunganui together carrying flags with their values on them and were responsible for planning and creating meals together. A student commented “Before this camp, I felt detached from my Year level and school. I was thinking about leaving schools. This camp has made me stay and connected me with my Year 13 mates again. I feel like I’m going to have a good year now.” Another of our schools, Huntly College’s year 13 camp ends with a waka journey from Ngaruawahia to Huntly. This was an incredible bonding experience for the students, as one student comments:
“When I think about the school identity and culture, I specifically want to talk about the waka home. It was my first ever time being on a waka and I enjoyed it very much. Being able to see the river be connected to us in a whaanau was very pleasing and lovely. I would love to do it all again.”
POET is always looking for ways to make our camps more sustainable and to develop actively involved citizen who contribute to the well-being of New Zealand, in line with the Ministry of Education’s Education for Sustainability vision.