Saint Kentigern College has a long history of giving students the opportunity to be challenged in many settings away from College.

Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) takes many forms from the traditional Orientation Camps at Year 7 and 9 to field trips associated with particular curriculum subjects such as geography and biology; organised trips to art galleries or museums for our visual arts students; workshops for performing arts students; university lectures at the Liggins Institute; theatre visits; service opportunities in many guises; and the opportunity for small groups of students to represent the College at events such as MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly) and Young Global Enterprise. 

However, the experience that most students recall, long after leaving College, is the annual Field Centre for all Year 10 students, undertaken in November each year. This week-long trip to Tongariro National Park is both challenging and exhilarating as students gain independence and discover personal strengths.

Other outdoor learning opportunities include the opportunity for some to attend OPC (Outdoor Pursuits Centre), to sail on the Spirit of New Zealand, to join the very active Tramping Club and to become involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

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Each year there are further opportunities for groups of students to travel abroad either to give Service, such as with Habitat for Humanity in Fiji, or to extend their personal horizons on trips such as the Pipe Band Trip to Scotland or the Classics Tour to Europe.


Year 9 undertake a three day camp held at Totara Springs in Matamata, with help from our Year 13 Peer Support Leaders, whilst Year 7 enjoy a five day camp experience at Hidden Valley in the Bombay Hills with support from our Prefect team.

The aim behind taking students away on a school camp is to offer them opportunities they may not otherwise have the chance to experience; to develop independence; discover self confidence; and to help them find success in the face of new challenges.



Early each year, separate camp experiences are organised for all students in Years 7 and 9.

As these two year levels are the main intake years for new students at the College, these experiences beyond the classroom offer the ideal opportunity for new friendships to be formed and House bonds to be created in settings that challenge students …and provide a lot of fun and laughter!



These challenges are many and varied, from the obvious challenge of attempting new physical activities; to the social challenges of being away from home, sharing bunk houses or tents, mixing with other students and forming new friendships and the other challenges that some students may not have to consider in their day to day lives, such as washing their own dishes and being part of a cleaning roster that may just include learning to use a vacuum cleaner and how best to clean a loo!



No matter what the challenge, the students leave for camp full of excitement and, maybe, a little nervous anticipation, but return knowing that they have succeeded, even if not in the way they may have expected.

Field Centre

For over 40 years, the College has run ‘Field Centre’ in the Tongariro National Park, for the 270 or so students in Year 10, giving them a unique opportunity to gain independence and explore personal strengths in an exciting, spectacular and challenging environment. And it is challenging! It challenges the physical being and it challenges the spirit. It is also tiring! There is no question that it is hard work to tramp with a pack on your back and sometimes the students are required to dig deep to find those reserves of energy. But above all it is exhilarating and many discover hidden strengths and a resilience they never knew they had. 



Little wonder that our graduating students recall Field Centre amongst the most memorable experiences of their time at College.

Tongariro is unpredictable with no two years in a row ever the same. The mountain environment can be benign one moment and harsh the next and with this in mind, safety on the mountain is about being well prepared. Our students come away from this experience with a heightened sense of appreciation for both the great outdoors, and the logistical work it took to get them there and back safely.

Each student contributes to camping and cooking teams and takes part in communal living in a lodge group of approximately twenty students, whilst under the supervision of experienced staff.

The National Park provides an exciting, spectacular and challenging environment for a programme which includes a three day tramp on and around the mountains, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu; camping and cooking out in the open; white water rafting; mountain biking; an expedition to the summit of Mount Ruapehu and exploration of a hidden river valley.


In an environment where both the senses and physical being are challenged, students discover much about themselves, their friends and the many staff who accompany them.

Through shared experience, many new friendships and lasting bonds are formed that last well beyond their College years.

Outdoor Pursuit Centre

Each October holidays, a group of Year 12 students are given the opportunity to be challenged both mentally and physically at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuit Centre (OPC) in the Tongariro National Park. The week is full on, testing their endurance, nerves, fitness levels and leadership skills, all the while having some team building fun.Training in the outdoors seeks to prepare students for all eventualities, the most notable being unpredictable changes in weather conditions - tramps that may start in the sun but finish in appalling conditions. Or to understand and be ready to cope with an emergency situation far from help. Last year’s group, were faced with a true emergency procedure when one of their group needed medical evacuation from the mountainside - adding a real life learning experience to the many new skills they learned that week. Two of our students report on their adventure.

Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme has seen a revival in recent years at the College with growing numbers of students registered at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.

We are proud that so many of our students have persevered to achieve the highest accolade, the Gold Award.

The College has a unique history as it was the first school in New Zealand to offer the award. In 1961 the first group of nine boys started at Bronze level, now we have well over 100 students enrolled in the scheme each year.


The Awards are tough and not easily achieved. They entail a huge amount of individual challenge and personal commitment.

At Bronze and Silver level there are four sections to complete. These sections are balanced to provide a framework that encourages physical activity, mental challenge, individual perseverance, teamwork and interaction with other people. A fifth section is added at Gold level, a residential project that requires participants to spend five or more days on a purposeful project with new companions.


The Sections are:

  • Service - giving help in the local community
  • Skills - covering almost any non physical hobby, skill or interest
  • Adventurous Journey - training for, practising, planning and completing a journey on foot, horseback or by boat or cycle
  • Physical Recreation - sport, dance and fitness
  • Residential Project - for the Gold level only - spending 5 or more days on a purposeful project with new companions
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The ‘Adventurous Journey’ section sees groups of our students set out to the ranges in the Waitakeres, Hunua or Coromandel or further afield to Great Barrier Island, the Hauraki Gulf or Marlborough Sounds, on both practice and assessment expeditions. Throughout the year, the Gold students travel far and wide to complete their residential projects.

This requires them to spend five days in an unfamiliar environment undertaking activities that are of benefit to themselves or others. Over the years, students have been to Nepal, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the South Island to complete this. More about these trips can be read in our Service section.