High ropes course upgrade - Outward Bound

High ropes course upgrade

News from Anakiwa

The high ropes scheme is an integral part of any Outward Bound course. The high ropes challenges participants mentally and emotionally, giving them the opportunity to build courage and resilience, to gain leadership skills and experience success as a member of a team.

“The course has been able to push me outside my comfort zone, particularly in the high ropes course. Getting up there and walking up there was easy, but the challenges the instructors gave to push me outside of my comfort zone really did push me out.” –  Joshua Hansen, Tangaroa Regional Schools Course, Kupe 701


The Ankiwa high ropes course is now over 23 years old and is one of the oldest systems of its type still being used in New Zealand. The Kahikatea trees where the high ropes are set are 100 - 150 years old and the only grove left in Marlborough. This makes the high ropes course truly unique and special, and the maintenance of this course is vital.

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of Michael and Kate Sidey, David Levene Foundation, and Lion Foundation, a new ropes course will be built in the existing Kahikatea grove in June 2024. We are so grateful to these longtime supporters for creating this lasting legacy for many future generations of Outward Bound students.

At Outward Bound we use modern, well-maintained safety and emergency equipment appropriate to each activity. Critical safety equipment is subject to pre-use checks, monthly inspections, and scheduled replacement to ensure it is fit for purpose. All our schemes, including the high ropes, are independently safety audited.

A safety check report by Dynamic Access and Adventure conducted in July 2022 recommended upgrading the high ropes system to a newer / more comprehensive system to allow for less participant error and ease of instruction by the instructors. Dynamic Access and Adventure commented:

“A credit to the challenge course managers and instructors that the participant climbing gear and elements are in such good conditions and run to such a high standard.”

Zipline Technologies Limited (ZIP TECH) is our chosen supplier for the upgrade as they are a unique provider who can cater for all aspects of the required upgrade. They also meet our rigorous standards of safety and compliance.

ZIP TECH have a deep understanding of the needs of our organisation and of the build itself, specifically the Kahikatea trees. ZIP TECH were the only company experienced in working with these trees and the type of system we have in place.

“All contractors agree that this special project must be approached with clear alignment and understanding so that we create a ropes course that will provide challenge and adventure, respect the beautiful Kahikatea trees, and stand for many years to come.” Karl Ratahi, ZIP TECH

We look forward to sharing more updates on the new ropes course with you throughout 2024!

L to R: Matthew Spooner (Novare Engineering), Karl Ratahi (ZIP TECH), and Manu Schijf (Outward Bound Health & Safety Manager)