Feeding the Good Taniwha - Outward Bound

Feeding the Good Taniwha

Inspirational, Life after OB

The lives of hundreds of Auckland secondary school students have been transformed after attending ‘Hiringa’, an Outward Bound course designed to help the region’s young people reach their full potential through outdoor adventures.

Over 21 days, students challenge their beliefs and push themselves to their physical and mental limits through a variety of activities held in the Outward Bound school in Anakiwa and surrounding Queen Charlotte Sound.

The Hiringa course has been offered to Year 12 students in the region since 2013 and this year, as a result of the demand from Auckland schools, a second Hiringa course was added. Each course gives 14 students, selected for their potential and commitment at school, the opportunity to discover their full potential.

For the students, the experience is transformational. Mary Solovi, a Year 12 student at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate says “keeping the good taniwha fed” was her biggest learning.

“What you put in is what you get out, it’s that simple,” she says. “Embracing pain and using it as fuel to ignite the fire within ourselves and believing that we are capable of doing more and being more."

Thanks to Outward Bound I know what I am capable of and I’m more confident in being who I am. I now know the real me!

It was a similar reaction from Manurewa High’s Luke Orbell, who says Outward Bound taught him how to live in the present and enjoy life in the moment.

“I focused on myself in each moment and tried to sustain good hauora (the Māori philosophy of health and well-being) to constantly better myself.”

Teachers and parents also report transformations in the students after returning home from Anakiwa.

The impact of Outward Bound on the students is enormous, 

says Kathy Miln, Tamaki College’s Gateway/Student Incentives Co-ordinator.

Hiringa 1

Hiringa Course - Batten 655 



Hiringa 2

Hiringa Course - Huriwhenua 656


“We have been sending students to Outward Bound for the past 17 years and see them return to school with a new self-belief. Overcoming fears and meeting challenges gives them confidence and they’re more driven and more focused.”

Luke says his time at Outward Bound has given him clarity about his future and an understanding of what is important in his life.

“Outward Bound came at the perfect time when I needed guidance and the experiences I had, all the things I learned and the people I met, have definitely helped me in setting my future plans.  Mary agrees.

I don't think my time or experiences at Outward Bound have helped my future plans, I KNOW they have!

The Hiringa Outward Bound courses are made possible through the generous support of the Friedlander Foundation, Orion Plastics Ltd, Robin and Bill Kermode, ICIB, the Duncan Charitable Trust, Constellation Trust, FINDEX Community Fund, Pip Duncalf, Macpac and individuals who believe in young Aucklanders.

Kathy adds that Outward Bound gives young people a broader perspective on life.

“Many students discover there is a bigger world outside of their immediate community. Pushing themselves outside their comfort zone mentally and physically with strangers are challenges, as is getting on a plane and leaving family for three weeks. But getting to know other people and facing challenges together is invaluable.”

Hosting school students in Anakiwa is a “highlight” for Outward Bound school director Simon Graney.

“It’s wonderful to watch the students who arrive as strangers quickly become a family, supporting each other and working together to build courage and resilience. They learn to work as a team, identify their own values, develop an appreciation for the natural environment and experience being of service. It can be life-changing.”

After they arrive home, the students’ families also notice newly acquired independence and confidence at home.

“They tell us their children are more motivated and help out more. I see them stepping up and taking leadership roles. Not all of them are superstars but they have all come a long way in their own right,” says Kathy.

Outward Bound teaches our young people that anything is possible.

"We will send our students to Hiringa for as long as we are fortunate enough to have funding – it is definitely making a difference to their lives.”


Hiringa Sept19

Hiringa students celebrating the success of their courses with Outward Bound funders and donors.