Bernie's Goal to Fund 14 Students - Outward Bound

Bernie's Goal to Fund 14 Students


In March 2023, former Outward Bound Instructor, Bernie Gunn, will take on a 14-hour solo waka ama adventure starting from Māhia crossing Hawke Bay to Napier.

Bernie knows firsthand the transformational power of an Outward Bound course and has set a goal of raising $63,000 to send 14 Hawke's Bay rangatahi to Outward Bound.

We caught up with Bernie to ask him why he's fundraising for this cause and what he learned during his time at Outward Bound.

When did you start working at OB? And what was your motivation for moving to Anakiwa?

I started at OB in 2016 with the intention of helping others realise their own potential, while at the same time being immersed in a beautiful natural environment. When I found out there was a job involving helping others grow, push themselves and explore wild surroundings, I was sold.  


From your time at OB, what were some of the highlights and key bits of learning for you? What did you learn about young people in the process? 

I learned from my colleagues at OB that there are certain traits, habits, beliefs and attitudes which tend to serve people well in any life. At any age and stage, I found this to be the case. Whether people thought they were too young or too old to do things it's always the same, whatever you believe is the truth. OB helps people question things or perspectives in their own lives that aren't serving them and those around them.


Why do you think young people need experiences such as Outward Bound?

There are so many reasons why. We all need to learn to take risks. Outward Bound is a safe place to practice taking risks. Social risks, physical risks and emotional risks. It is real and course participants are all in it together and this creates shared experiences, shared hardship, shared success, and often lifelong friendships form. 


Why is something like the Outward Bound Regional Schools Programme and Kaweka course important for communities?

The Kaweka course and the rest of the regional schools courses are super important because it enables a group of young people from the same community to share an experience of how capable they are and brings them together through shared challenge. They are then able to go back and contribute to their community either as a group or as individuals empowered by a network of their peers. 


What will you be doing to fundraise for this Kaweka course? What does the training involve?

The actual physical challenge is paddling a Waka-ama solo from Mahia to Napier across Hawke Bay. This is around 100km and will likely take me 12-16 hours to complete. I am planning to do this in March 2023.

Training at this stage looks like 1 x shorter 2 hour paddle per week and 1 x longer paddle each week. As of mid-December, I am at 5.5 hours for my long paddle, doing 35km. I am adding 1/2 an hour each week to this long paddle all the way through to the end of February. I am also doing some strength and conditioning training at the gym and at home with the help of Nir Har-Paz (ex OB instructor & friend).

My mum and her partner are planning to come along on their boat as a support vessel which will be awesome having their support. I have been speaking at Rotary clubs and other community groups and I am planning to contact local radio stations as well as calling all my old contacts to drum up support. The fundraising part is definitely less easy than the training but that's part of the challenge for me. 


Help Bernie by donating here

Bernie Gunn in Anakiwa


Bernie instructing teens at Outward Bound


Bernie sailing a cutter during instructor training


Bernie on his waka ama