Inspiring Alumni - Tyler and Jim Hireme - Outward Bound

Inspiring Alumni - Tyler and Jim Hireme

For the Hireme whānau of Bay of Plenty, attending Outward Bound is part of their family kaupapa, so much so that koro James (Jim) has a plaque he hands down to his mokopuna. We talk to James and his grandson Tyler, who recently did a 21 day MBS course, why OB is so important to their whānau.

Kia ora Jim. When did you attend Outward Bound?
It was in April 1976 and I was in Rutherford 138.

How did you come to do the Outward Bound course?
I was sponsored by the Department of Maori Affairs. My first job after leaving school was as an office clerk there.

What is your strongest memory from doing the course?
Everything. A truly life-changing experience. Wonderful people, environment, and experiences.

Are you still in touch with any of your watchmates?
No, but I still have my Watch photo and OB plaque. Every glance brings back those wonderful memories.

What skills or lessons have stayed with you from your OB experience?
‘Granny’s Gulch’! At a point in the rock climb there was a choice – either take the ‘hard’ way or go up ‘Granny’s Gulch’. I took the easy way. I got to the top but with a lesser sense of achievement. I’ve always thought of ‘Granny’s Gulch’ with many of the choices I have had to make since then. Perhaps it’s also why I chose being a professional firefighter, a territorial force army officer, and a university and wananga lecturer as careers. They were hard but very satisfying! Thank you OB…. and Granny’s Gulch!

Why were you supportive of your grandson Tyler attending OB?
I know how attending OB can be such a very positive influence on the choices you make in life….. and how to go about achieving them in the most satisfying way.

Since catching up with Tyler after his course, what have you talked about? Have you seen any changes in Tyler? What stories did you enjoy sharing?
Everything! Sadly because of Covid and the need to quarantine, his Watch missed out on the rock-climbing. But the sense of achievement he displays, and his aspirations and goals he has planned, leads me to think he might have found his own ‘Granny’s Gulch’ during the course. It’s wonderful to see in him a realisation that ‘mediocrity is not an option’!

What would be your advice for anyone thinking about attending an OB course?
Do it! Even the ‘failures’ can be very positive!

Kia ora Tyler. What had your koro Jim told you about OB before you decided to enrol on a course?
He told me that OB is a life-changing experience and said that it will help me develop as a person. 

Did the course match your expectations from what your koro had told you?
Yes indeed and so much more!

What watch were you part of and what course did you do?
I was in Blake 670, and I did the 21 day Hiringa course.

What was a highlight from your course?
There were many, but probably the biggest highlight in terms of the feeling of achievement was running a half-marathon as I never thought that I could run 21 km.  A special mention would have to be sailing on the cutter and a whole pod of dolphins swimming alongside us.

What part of the course did you find most challenging?
Running the half-marathon was definitely the biggest challenge and hiking up a steep hill off track after already hiking for a day.

After completing your course, what goals to you have in place for yourself?
To push myself harder both physically and mentally, and to learn to live in the moment.

On returning from course, what aspect did you most want to share with your koro?
How much the course taught me about myself, as well as sharing the many moments and memories knowing he knew what I was referring to.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of attending OB?
Definitely do it!  Go with an open mind and give it your best.  Trust your instructors, and also take in the special moments while you’re there.

Is there anyone else in your whānau who might do a course following in the footsteps of you and your koro?
Koro has passed his OB plaque on to me to pass down to my children and/or mokopuna, so it looks like we will be looking for the next Hireme to take on the Outward Bound experience in the years to come.

Jim (back row, far left) and his watch


Tyler and Jim


Jim's OB plaque