Saint Kentigern has a proud history of giving students the opportunity to be challenged in many different environments away from campus.


Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) takes many forms at Saint Kentigern, including orientation camps, field trips associated with particular curriculum subjects such as Geography, Biology or Outdoor Education; organised trips to art galleries or museums for our visual arts students; workshops for performing arts students; university lectures; theatre visits; Service opportunities; and the opportunity for small groups of students to represent the College at events such as MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly) and Young 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.


Orientation Camps

Early each year, separate camps 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 Middle School, 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. Most importantly, they return having a better understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a member of our Saint Kentigern family.


Field Centre

For over 40 years, the College has run ‘Field Centre’ in the Tongariro National Park, for the 360 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 and will power. 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. The National Park is unpredictable with no two years in a row ever being 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. 

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 in the field; white water rafting; mountain biking; an expedition to the summit of Mount Ruapehu, and completing the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. 

Each student contributes to camping and cooking teams and takes part in communal living in a lodge group of around 24 students, whilst under the supervision of experienced staff. 

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.


Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards

The Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Awards scheme has large numbers of students registered at Bronze (beginning in Year 10), Silver and Gold level. We are proud that so many of our students have persevered to achieve the highest accolade, the Gold Award by the time they reach their Senior School years. 

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 400 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 level (Year 10) 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.  

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

Overseas Trips

Each year, there are opportunities for groups of students, mainly seniors, to travel abroad either to give Service, such as house building in Vanuatu, or to extend their personal horizons on trips such as the Pipe Band Trip to Scotland or Switzerland, the Classics Tours to Europe, and Music, Media Studies and Performing Arts tours to the USA. 

There are possibilities for Middle School students to join a number of these trips if they meet the criteria for selection, for example, young musicians may take part in performance tours. 

In addition, each year, groups of Year 10 students are selected to travel on a three week expedition in a joint partnership with an International Organisation called World Challenge, to another country, such as Cambodia, where they experience a different culture first hand, trek in a unique environment and participate in a community service activity.