Twenty five students spent the weekend of 6-8 May in the Karangahake Gorge to undertake their Bronze level journey for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award. A week later 25 students completed their practice Silver adventurous journey, tramping 30km through the Waitakere Ranges.

The Bronze group were accompanied by teachers Mr Andy Belson, Ms Natalie Absolum and Ms Nadine Mackinnon. They were lucky to strike fine weather for their tramp through the gorge and up and down Karangahake Mountain. The campsite at Dickey’s Flat was ideal to learn about living in the outdoors and cooking with limited facilities, although some of the meals were almost gourmet cuisine.

The students learned how to navigate, manage their team and be safe in the outdoors. They were all enthusiastic and tackled their respective journeys in an energetic manner. They now need to continue to complete the remaining three sections of the Bronze Award before continuing onto Silver.

The Year 11 and 12 students on the Silver journey carried their own food, tents, clothing and cooking gear through the Waitakere Ranges. The variable weather and slippery downhill sections made for some testing times while carrying a heavy pack. Students were self-sufficient, cooked some interesting meals, worked together as a team and often showed good interpersonal skills. It was a great three days enjoyed by both staff and students. My thanks to Mr Richard Fullerton, Miss Natalie Absolum and Mr Max Denisov for giving up their time to help out.

Mr Andy Belson, Teacher in Charge of MAGS’ Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award programme