Year 8’s enjoy a few days in the outdoors
By Amelia Mephan
The Year 8 students at Mapua School have been testing their leadership skills on a course out at Whenua Iti about 15 minutes from the Mapua Community.
Whenua Iti is an outdoor education centre, established in the early 90’s, used for building people’s leadership skills, confidence and teamwork within their group. There are many obstacles that challenge them and push their comfort zones.
To start a it off, the Year 8’s were challenged by conquering their fear of heights. They had to walk across the high ropes, which is 8 meters off the ground. Walking along a wooden pole, a scared Emma said, “ I was really scared at the time and it didn’t help that I had just injured myself while belaying a friend.” The other team was using their communication skills and teamwork to solve tricky problems and other interesting games.“ I felt like my group worked really well together and it was a great to see everyone sharing ideas,” said a proud Wills.
A few days later, the Year 8’s were back again. They were still getting used to being up high by doing the Flying Kiore and the trapeze. The Year 8 students were put into groups and set off to do the different activities. The Flying Kiore is a 12 meter high obstacle and is where the kids were harnessed in and the other kids would pull on a rope, attached to the harness and they would go flying into the air. Lochie was the first to go up, “ It was really fun. Alex was supposed to go up first but she didn’t want to go first, but I did.” The other group were facing the trapeze, which involved climbing up a 6 meter pole and jumping to the bar about 1-2 meters away. “I didn’t stand up and jump but I sat on the top and jumped off. I felt really embarrassed, but I’m happy I did it,” said a worried Jacob.
Day 3 was a bit different. The Year 8 students were to present a skill or game to their group. There were lots of different ideas throughout both groups. “ When I had planned it out, I thought it was going to be easy but only about 2 people knew how to make flax flowers but in the end, most people had a flax flower or some other thing,” said Emmie. As well as that, a guest speaker, local MP Damien O’Connor, came to talk to them about leadership. Dan said, “ It was great the he came in and answered our questions and I got his autograph.”
For the fourth and final day, it was based on community service. The whole group were planting, weeding and had a tour around the areas. They worked at the Mapua Wetlands with David Mitchell and at the Dominion flats with Neville and Helen Bibby and Gillian Bishop. The Year 8 teacher, Simon, said, “The leadership course is a fantastic way for the students to learn fundamental elements required to become a leader. It is great to see that the community association paid for the cost of the course so all members of the year 8 class could attend. I know they will use these leadership skills to carry on the school motto ‘To be all they can‘ in this life beyond Mapua School. It is great to see the school children being all they can be.”
The Flying Kiore
Leading by example
by Tom Parke
On Monday the 9th of March, 27 Year 8 children from Mapua School went to Whenua Iti for their leadership course. Whenua Iti is an outdoor education centre for kids and adults where they can develop their outdoor skills, learn to manage risks safely, work cooperatively and learn to be a good leader.
On the first day of the course the kids did the High Ropes course and while one group did that, the other other group did some activities. “Scared? I was, I couldn’t go on to the high ropes at first but I eventually did it,” said Jacob E.
One of the activities was that you had to get all of the group from one side of an imaginary ravine to the other. You have to stay on the platforms, you can not touch the ground and if one person from your team touches the ground, they are out.
The next day the kids went to Whenua Iti they did the Trapeze and the Flying Kiore (the Flying Rat)
. “I was scared going up the ladder of the trapeze but when I got up I was fine. It was shame that I missed the bar when I jumped, ” said Wills M.
The flying kiore is at the base of an abseiling tower, 15m high. The ‘flying rat’, a student, is harnessed and attached to a rope that goes through a pulley and down to the team of students waiting to pull the rat into the air. The students are wearing harnesses with clips for the rope to go through. On the signal, they all run backwards, pulling the rope as they go, making the ‘rat’ fly into the air. The view from 15m up is awesome!
On the third day, the kids had to present something to their group for 5 or 6 minutes like how to play a game or teach you how to tie a knot. Teaching people something is like being a good leader. Then after lunch Damian O’Connor came and the kids got to ask him some questions about how he became a member of parliament. Damian O’Connor’s job requires him to be a leader in many different ways and so it was good to hear what he had to say.
To finish the Whenua Iti leadership course, off the kids went to the wetlands to help plants some seeds for community service. Then they went to Ruby Bay to have lunch and to have a discussion about their goals and if they had achieved them.
After that they went to Dominion Flat to help out with the weeding. Some people did some hammering to repair the bridge. After all the weeding and the hammering they got on the Whenua Iti bus and they all went back to Mapua School.
“The Leadership course was fantastic way for the students to learn the fundamental elements required to becoming A leader. It is great that the community association paid for the cost of the course so all members of the Year 8 class could attend. I know they will carry on the school motto, ‘To be all they can’, in their lives beyond Mapua School” said Simon Clearwater, the Year 8 teacher.