History and philosophy

Aug11&13

Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand was established in 1962.  In the last 50 years, over 52,000 students have been through the Anakiwa based school.  

Outward Bound at Anakiwa

One of the first all male watches in 1962 with a caught pig. Instructor, John Hebron, is at the very left of the group.

In 1962, the Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand purchased a guest house built in 1927 by the Beauchamp family who had farmed Anakiwa since 1863, and the J R McKenzie Trust donated 8.9 acres of adjoining land.
Fundraising of £100,000 from throughout New Zealand enabled the Trust to restore and upgrade the guesthouse. Hamish Thomas was appointed the first Warden, and Governor-General Lord Cobham opened the Outward Bound School on 1st September 1962. Thirty-six young men were welcomed to the first course seven weeks later. Over the years the School has grown, the original guest house was demolished and replaced with new buildings in 1980.

Today Outward Bound offers courses for men and women from all backgrounds and has touched the lives of well over 50,000 New Zealanders. Courses involve expeditions at sea, in the mountains, and on rivers, as well as community service and solo experiences. Outward Bound offers a unique blend of physical, mental, emotional and social challenge. The courses provide opportunities for personal awareness and development. They enable participants to develop empathy for others, to examine their own beliefs and values and to improve their skills as members of a team. Outward Bound strives to provide a safe and supportive course environment. Outward Bound is a not for profit trust and is funded and supported entirely by charitable donations and participant course fees.

Outward Bound Worldwide

international logo
The Outward Bound International logo with the motto: 'To Serve, To Strive and Not To Yield', from Ulysses by Lord Tennyson.

Outward Bound New Zealand is part of an international network of over 30 Outward Bound schools originating in Britain. Early in the Second World War, British merchant ships were torpedoed by submarines; survivors who escaped on lifeboats often had to endure weeks in the open sea before rescue. Lawrence Holt, owner of the Blue Funnel Shipping Line (the British merchant ships) was alarmed that younger, fitter seamen in the lifeboats were dying at a greater rate than older, more experienced sailors. He discussed the matter with Dr Kurt Hahn, philosopher, educator, and principal of Gordonstoun School. They decided that a short, intensive course offering difficulties and challenges would provide young seamen with the equivalent of a lifetime of experience to help them survive such challenges.

The first Outward Bound School opened at Aberdovey in North Wales in 1941. Realising that the Aberdovey experience would benefit all young adults, Outward Bound’s mission quickly grew to include people from all backgrounds. After the war new schools following the same philosophy were developed in Britain and overseas.

Outward Bound courses world-wide deliver four components:

  • Physical challenge
  • Expeditions that provide adventure and physical, mental and social challenges 
  • Opportunities for developing self-reliance, self-discipline and self-knowledge 
  • Experience of compassion through service.

These values are reflected in the Outward Bound motto “to serve, to strive and not to yield”, adapted by Captain Freddie Fuller of the Aberdovey School, from the final line of Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses. Outward Bound’s philosophy and practice are designed to give participants greater insights into their own abilities and tenacity, summed up in Kurt Hahn’s favourite expression “Plus est en vous – There is more in you”. The name ‘Outward Bound’ is a nautical term to denote a ship about to head out of port to open sea and is traditionally indicated by flying the Blue Peter flag.

Outward Bound Anakiwa Today

Today Outward Bound New Zealand’s vision is “Better People, Better Communities, Better World.” We believe that by helping people understand their full potential we can help make our communities and the world a better place.

Our Vision

Helping to create 'better people, better communities, better world.'

Our Mission

Outward Bound New Zealand's mission is inspiring personal and social development through value based experiential learning in an outdoor environment.

Our Values

Outward Bound is founded on universal values: Compassion, Greatness, Responsibility and Integrity. These values form the basis of all our courses. 


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