Boys' School Year 7 Camp

May 17, 2021 at 1:53 PM

With thanks to Year 7 teacher, Mr Oliver Barlow

A tale of two camps

After the disappointment of missing camp in Term 1, when Auckland went into Lockdown, the Year 7 camp to Whangarei Heads got the go ahead in week one of Term 2. Year 7 camp is a unique experience encompassing sleeping under the stars, fishing, making flax weapons, learning to create fire in the wild and conquering the mighty Mount Manaia at Whangarei Heads. Going later in the year, added the extra spice of colder nights in hammocks and tents. This didn’t faze the boys or the staff as spirits were high as we departed to the heat of Northland in beautiful weather.  

On arrival at camp, the boys were split into two groups. One stays in the relative luxury of Camp Manaia with its access to dorm rooms and tents. The other walks over lush farmland to the beach camp where they are greeted with tents, hammocks, tepees and very little else. Paradise. After lunch the boys said their goodbyes and the camp commenced.   


The boys began by developing relationships with each other and their instructors. Creating an identity for their group was crucial. ‘Sticky Joe’ was an instant hit with the boys. He gained legendary status with the boys, and he developed the camp dance, ‘Peel the Mango’. One of the big lessons the boys took from this camp was that we are all part of a big whanau. At mealtimes we made sure everyone had enough. We took turns to set up and clean the eating space. We appreciated the effort that people went to, to help us. The boys embraced this magnificently.

As you stand at the camp, the imposing peak of Mount Manaia towers above. The boys know they need to scale the 420 metres. Gulp! After lots of debate about whether it was better to do water sports first or walk Mount Manaia first, the day began.

The boys demonstrated great resilience and teamwork on the walk. It was fabulous to witness boys carrying each other’s bags and encouraging their teammates. The views at the top of this mountain are remarkable and we could also make out Jagger camp down near the beach.

Even though it was May, the boys were itching to get into what turned out to be very pleasant water temperatures. Paddle boarding and kayaking around High Island in the crystal-clear waters, the boys discovered wildlife and developed water safety skills. The rafts made from bamboo, rope and inflatable tubes actually floated and carried a team of adventurous boys out onto the water. The inevitable ‘manu’ competition off the pontoon rounded off a very successful day on the water.

On the Wednesday, the boys returned from Jagger and were greeted by a fierce but welcoming rendition of ‘Peel the mango’ led by Sticky Joe. Enjoying lunch on the grass next to the water’s edge, regaling each other with stories from the other camp, was the perfect way to complete each day of the camp.


Getting to Jagger is the first challenge. After the shared lunch the boys took on the 5km walk to the beach camp. ‘Om’, the camp leader led the way. The boys got the chance to make shell whistles. In the hands of an expert, these sound fabulous. The noise made by 70 ‘amateur whistlers’ over the next hour, was a sound never to be forgotten!

Walking over the dunes onto Ocean Beach as the sun was starting to go down was breath-taking. The boys made camp and got ready for the pizza party that night. The pace of life is slower over at Jagger. Boys are encouraged to spend time together, play the instruments and help out where needed in the camp. With ‘Sea Dog’ in control, the boys made their own pizzas to be cooked in the pizza oven, created music and danced. There were even a few teachers spotted dancing to the music composed by the boys. There was a buzz created that will never be forgotten.

After an unusually mild night sleeping in hammocks, tepees and tents, the boys had an exciting day ahead. Shooting flax arrows, making fire, rope making, the Jagger Band and fishing. The boys worked hard on these activities throughout the day and they were rewarded with an evening camp curry and chocolate cake made by a group of the boys on the open fire. The evening was rounded off with a trip to the beach to star gaze and reflect on what had been an awesome week.

The boys were a delight to take away. Great manners, enthusiasm and teamwork were demonstrated on a daily basis. Year 7 bought into all of the activities, built new friendships and developed resilience. They lived our values of respect, integrity, service, excellence and love.


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