Rafting the Wairoa River!

March 04, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Adrenalin was pumping last weekend when our Year 13 Outdoor Education students took on the challenge of ‘Grade 5’ white water rafting on the Wairoa River between Matamata and Tauranga.

The river is hydro-controlled and on every second Sunday during the year, the water is released causing a white water frenzy down river. This fantastic rafting adventure offers a stunning rock and tree lined gorge that combines turbulent rapids with stomach-clenching drops to gain its Grade 5 rating.

The first one metre drop the students encountered is called ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and is used as the ‘warm-up’ to give a taste to first time rafters of what is to come. No sooner had they caught their breath than they entered the first major rapid –‘Mother's Nightmare’- a long Grade 4 rapid finishing with a two metre drop. A few Grade 3 rapids followed in quick succession with names such as ‘Double Trouble’ and ‘Washing Machine’ – the names leaving little to the imagination! The action picked up with two Grade 4 sections which included a three metre drop! The final bursts of Grade 3 rapids to finish felt quite tame to the now seasoned rafters!

The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience and left the river with a huge sense of accomplishment!

Opportunities such as this, beyond the College gates, are vital for extending our students and putting their learning into context. Outdoor Education is a relatively new course at the College and is offered at NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) and Level 3 (Year 13). It is not for the faint hearted and prospective students must demonstrate a real passion for the outdoors and be prepared to meet the many challenges! The course aims for students to become actively knowledgeable, skilled and safe in selected activities, with care for the environment a paramount focus. The modules provide a range of outdoor challenges as diverse as sea and white water kayaking, bushcraft, mountaineering skills, mountain biking and SCUBA diving, along with the added challenge of a solo overnight experience. The students examine the concept of outdoor education as a worthwhile, life-long interest as well as its potential for future employment.

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