At 18, sponsored by Paeroa’s only doctor, Dr Bartrum, Dick made the two hour bus trip from Paeroa to Hamilton.
“Then it was an overnight trip travelling second class on the Limited Express to Wellington. Who can forget that mad refreshment stop in Tauramanui at midnight! Then if that was not enough to finish one off, it was on to the 10am once-daily sailing to Picton on a very new and the very first roll-on-roll-off Wellington to Picton ferry called the Aramoana. Then the small boat trip to Anakiwa arriving bleary eyed, travel jaded and not a little apprehensive as a nervous 18 year old.
“I have the clearest memory of arriving in Anakiwa. It was raining. I was ready for a rest. No way! Thirty minutes later we were on the quad and into the work. Twenty two days later I was able to slow down. That full-on experience right from the moment of arrival is signature Outward Bound even today.”
In 1964 Outward Bound had been running two years out of an old guest house that had been converted to its new base. Dick recalls a disused bar in one corner (“Dry I might add - we checked it!”). He says back then the hills were twice as high as of now, the rivers twice as swift and the sea twice as cold.
“But I am pleased to report the open cutters that we so joyously sailed on the Queen Charlotte Sound are the same today as they were then.
“Anakiwa is a very special place where the soul of the Outward Bound experience resides. It is important that we are appropriate guardians of this special site and that includes looking after the very hard working physical assets on site. As we go into 2019 and beyond, we need to raise the money to not only maintain but appropriately future proof the facilities at Anakiwa.”
In 2004 Dick’s wife Diana completed an Outward Bound adult course.
“It had just as big an effect on her as me and also gave her a love of adventure. Some six years ago we started riding around the world on our motorbike and we have now travelled about 180,000 km two-up - Diana as pillion passenger - visiting 63 countries. We believe we are the oldest couple in the world to have travelled two-up around the world on a motorbike. Next year we travel by motorbike from Japan to London via Russia and the Silk Route countries. We do it as over 70 year olds. So the love of adventure, once seeded, never stops growing.
“You are never too old to have adventures. Outward Bound of course does not guarantee or even promise eternal youth. But it certainly fosters it, encourages it and helps fulfill it. I have so many thanks to Outward Bound for what it has done for me and my life.”