John's OB art rehabilitation - Outward Bound

John's OB art rehabilitation

Life after OB

John has been reflecting back on his course in 1994 and combining his OB learnings with his art talent as a form of rehabilitation from his previous struggles. 

John recently shared his memories of OB with his parole officer Linda and some of the philosophies he continues to draw from today.

Kia ora John, can you please share with us a little bit about your OB experience – when you attended, highlight, lowlight and if it influenced your life pathway in any way?

Linda (John's Parole Officer): John recalls winning his OB course as a prize after entering a competition and his name was drawn out. He went to Anakiwa with a mixture of excitement and nervousness as a 17 year old. He remembers thinking “this is real” when he was told to drop his bags and get into his running gear upon arrival.

Asked about the highlights, there seemed to be many. He talked about being in the outdoors, and gaining a lot of confidence. Especially learning how to treat people who may be not so good at something, and finding they may be really good at other things. The help that participants gave to others and the benefit of working as a team. He said that he struggled in the water-based activities but the help from others got him through.

Experiencing flooding while there was both a lowlight and a highlight – as his watch were able to give help to others by rescuing those who were camping. It was a source of sadness to John to have his bag stolen when he got to Christchurch, as he lost all the contacts he had made and has not been able to keep in touch with watchmates.

What aspects of the Outward Bound philosophy do you still draw on in your life today?

Linda: Some of the philosophy that he draws on the most is that it is okay to ask for help, and it’s good to help out. To plan ahead, to put things into action, to stay focussed and how to work in a team environment. He said he finds himself re-assessing a lot.

You’ve recently taken a new direction – following your passion for art by studying at Ara Polytechnic. Can you tell us what motivated/inspired you to make this change and how is it going for you?

Linda: John said he’d had art in his background, on the backburner for many years, but decided he was going to treat himself after ‘chasing the pay packet’ for many years and not having time to pursue his dream. He said it’s been great as he enjoys learning new things, but it's not easy. It has opened up a ‘big mixture’ of art from the works of famous artists in museums to cave art.

He has personally found it rewarding to bring in his culture (Ngāi Tahu) and look deeper into the history of Māori art and ask himself “what can I do to add to this story”?

We love the assignment you shared with us that depicts your Outward Bound journey. Can you tell us why you decided to choose Outward Bound for this assignment and does it reflect your clear memories of your course?

Linda: The assignment was one where students were asked to depict an adventure or journey and John said the memories came flooding back to him of his time at Outward Bound, and the feelings of pride and energy he had while there and afterwards. He said he is always recommending it to others.

Have you done any of those activities again since your course?

Linda: Has had the opportunity to do more rock climbing, kayaking and jogging. John recalled that OB taught him how to be prepared for anything in life.


John's sketches of OB

John's sketch of sailing a cutter


John (sitting, far right) and McKenzie 361


John's carving