Field Centre 2020

December 09, 2020 at 8:58 AM

With thanks to Head of EOTC, Mr Will Gage-Brown

Well, 2020 has bought its challenges for us all and there were numerous occasions when I thought Field Centre would not being going ahead at all!

Challenge, resilience and connection were the key themes for Field Centre this year. Even prior to arrival at Field Centre, the students and staff had already been challenged, and already shown resilience through the Covid-19 Lockdowns and distance learning. Field Centre provided the opportunity for staff and students to connect with each other, and enjoy the amazing environment of Tongariro National Park at the end of a difficult year.

This year, the programme consisted of a 3-day expedition in the Tongariro National Park or the Kaimanawa Forest Park; the Tongariro Alpine Crossing; the addition of the Adventure Day - which consisted of rock climbing on Meads Wall, rope skills or completing a Tyrolean Traverse, or caving; white water rafting and completing environmental service with Project Tongariro.

The weather once again provided us with a wide range of conditions, from torrential rain, 90km/hr Southerly winds, to warm sunshine and rainbows. The students and staff were incredibly flexible with the changes made to the programme due to weather conditions.

Our students really were the stars of the show! It was so pleasing to see so many smiling faces and hear their stories of the adventures conquered daily.

Hearing the students’ reflections during Badge ceremonies was very pleasing. The shared experiences of overcoming challenges together, pushing their comfort zones, forming new friendships and overcoming the times when they have had to ‘grit their teeth and push through tough times’ was all part of the experience.

I would like to thank Tom Batts and his team from Adventure Specialties Trust for their energy and expertise leading our troops through their 3-day expeditions and the Adventure Days. Also a huge thank you to Jo Horgan (Food Chief) for all the time, effort and love put into organising the food needed to feed over 400 people over two weeks - you are a star!

To the Lodge Officers (Cooks), thanks for keeping the Lodges running like clockwork and fuelling our students and staff with delicious meals. To our team of Lodge Leaders and all the staff out in the Field with our students - you are legends! You experienced exactly what the students went through, the emotional, physical and mental highs and lows. You kept our students safe, had the difficult task of balancing boosting morale and keeping behaviours in check. I'm sure the students greatly appreciate the time and effort you put into Field Centre, maybe not right now, but in years to come.

It is also important to acknowledge the Senior Management Team members who came down to Field Centre. Thanks to Mr Brooke, Rev Smith, Mr McQueen and Mrs Baird. It is great to know Field Centre has your support and the students and staff appreciated your visits.

Lastly Field Centre would not happen without my close support network of Mr McQueen, Mrs Meek and Mr Duncan - your time, patience and experience is irreplaceable.
Onwards and upwards for 2021!

The Last Word goes to two of our Year 10 students, Jade Nomani and Callum Cruickshank as they reflect on their experiences:

Field Centre. Two very daunting words that made a reoccurring appearance in the day to day life of a Year 10. Two words that summed up pooping in a bag, long, painful walks and new experiences. Two words that I believed would be the most painful thing I would ever have to endure in my life. Turns out that Field Centre was the complete opposite. Not only did I have a fun experience but one of the greatest in my life! Yes, I do have to admit that the walks were very challenging and somewhat painful. But with the support and encouragement from fellow students and amazing lodge leaders, we successfully conquered the Tongariro Crossing, a two-night expedition and Field Centre itself. One of the best highlights of Field Centre was getting to know my lodge group. Throughout the week I got very close with girls who I never believed that I would. New friendships blossomed and existing friendships grew closer and stronger. I also found that Field Centre changed my perspective on how I go about my life and how my mindset changes the way I think about certain situations. I came out of the week adventure with a new mindset, new friendships, and a great feeling of appreciation for all the work and effort that has gone into preparing such an awesome week. On behalf of the Tongariro Lodge and I am sure most of the Year 10 cohort, Field Centre was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience and opportunity that we are all very grateful to have been given.’
Jade Nomani, Year 10

‘My highlight of the trip was seeing everyone complete the three day tramp, whether they found it hard or not, and seeing everybody come together to help those who were struggling. Another highlight was seeing people branch out of their comfort zones and do so with a great attitude. My lowlight of the trip was the Wednesday, as we were kept inside the Lodge all day due to bad weather. My takeaways were getting to know people that I normally wouldn’t and my learnings were seeing different people enjoying different activities.’
Callum Cruickshank, Year 10


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