2022 MERC Taupo Camp

Our Year 6 students challenged themselves to brave the weather and explore what is in our backyard for the annual Year 6 Camp. We changed things up this year with MERC bringing camp to Wairakei Primary School – right to our backyard. 

Tackling the Taupo environment over three days, in three groups, we set off to the challenges. Station one was a day-long hike at Opepe Track with Soul and Sam. Some tried the hot pepper plant leaves.

We learnt how to read maps, navigate and use a compass. Discovering that things such as cell phones will interrupt and give false readings. 

Maxwell: I learnt how to use a compass to go in the right direction in the bush.

Nathan: I discovered it is okay to get muddy, and I won't die.

Alun: Nature is beautiful in so many ways

Amelia: Compasses are great at using to find your way around.

Before lunch, we had a hut building challenge using natural resources to construct a hut that fits at least one or two people. The variety in the creations was outstanding.

Quade: We can have fun in the bush. I didn’t expect that. Making huts with mates was the best.

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Station 2 was a day learning the art of kayaking and archery. This was a hit for all. The weather did not deter many who decided to jump into our cold, refreshing Taupo- Nui- a-Tia at the end of our lesson. We sang, answered trivia questions about our area, and even raced the kayaks. Turning two kayaks into catamarans was a challenge we all achieved, with one group creating a triple kayak craft to paddle out into the great waters of Whakaipo Bay.

Anna: It is important to never give up. You will be surprised and enjoy it.

Blake: Skimming stones is a talent that, with practice, you get better.

Lilia: I learnt that it is freezing cold in the lake and that I am made the better choice not to jump in.

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Archery was a new skill mastered by many. The lessons of safety and fun all rolled into one. The students achieved multiple scores as they harnessed their newfound skills.

Sofie: I discovered I have a great bow and arrow shooting talent.

Eva: I learnt how to shoot and aim a bow and arrow. Hanne was beneficial in teaching me.

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Station 3 was in Kinloch, where the focus was on leadership and working as a team. The first port was mountain biking, unlocking leadership skills many didn’t know they had in them as they led the group to find different landmarks along our way without getting lost while keeping the group together. 

Exploring our water wheel history, finding fat trout and then stumbling onto a giant fairy grotto were highlights of this station. It is said to house over 128 different fairy houses. Here we picked fairy houses and fairy names. Most of the students' names were way more creative than the teachers.

Dane: Camp helped me learn that I can go for longer canoe and bike rides than I thought I could.

Lexi: Falling off is the first step to learning something new.

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Bush Survival was a challenge to communicate and work as a team to create a dry, safe and comfortable place to hunker down if needed. The students learnt how to put up tents – new learning for many – build bivouacs with string and tarps. Then the challenges of mastering flint and steel with the “Dad's belly button lint” began. 

Taylor: I learnt that I am a pro at flint and steel by making fires.

Pippa: I discovered I could bike fast, and I would die in the bush without Sam cause I can not light a fire.

Bella: I am great at communicating and working through challenges. To get the tent up, we could have somewhere to sleep eventually.

Zoe B: There is a correct way to make a shelter using a tarp and rope. If you fall on your bike, you are doing it right.

Adam: Discovered there is a tithing called a paracord bracelet and then learnt how to make one.

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Every group spent the night in the Wairakei Primary School hall. Games of spotlight were played, much food was consumed, a movie was watched, and memories were made with friends. This change to our original overnight plan provided an excellent experience for all.

Caleb: Asking for seconds of ice cream can result in an Olympic sport.

Harry: Playing spotlight at school was super fun. We found the best hiding places.

Our students learnt new skills and discovered things, especially around their ability to be leaders in unknown environments. 

View our extensive photo gallery here.

Keywords;  Leadership, EOCT, MERC, Camp, Physical Education, Taupo, Canoeing, Mountain Biking, Bush Survival, Archery, Tramping

Attributed to: Sir Peter Blake MERC, Wairakei Primary School, Bluelight, Wairakei Camp

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