Mike Moka faced the toughest test of his life when he spent eight days at Outward Bound.
Mike is a trustee of the Life Education Trust - Auckland Central, which sent him on the Outward Bound experience alongside 12 others who work with youth.
“The people I met are amazing people with big hearts, and we all had our roles as a whanau.”
Mike became the team alarm clock, responsible for waking everyone up at 5.45am each day for a run and swim. He decided to wake even earlier to practise and perform on the guitar his own dawn chorus, rousing his team mates with a different Māori song each morning, which proved popular.
Throughout the week, Mike skippered a sail boat, completed a high ropes course and tramped for 12 hours through mountain terrain.
One of his toughest challenges was rock climbing, where he spent more than half an hour clinging to the side of a cliff figuring out how, with his “embarrassingly weak upper body strength”, he would make it to the end.
“There was hardly anything to grip onto but I stayed there for 40 minutes, too stubborn to go back down. I was asked what happens when I’m faced with a situation where I feel I can’t get past a barrier, and I said I usually have my friends and whanau to help me. So the rest of the team got involved and pulled me up that last part and I proudly completed the climb.”
At 120kg, running is not Mike’s specialty so his biggest challenge was the final task - a 12km mountain run.
“They said if we weren’t at the half way mark at one hour and ten minutes everyone had to turn around. I made it in one hour and five minutes.
“The truly honourable moment was when I was sluggishly making my way back down the mountain, and my team mate who runs a boxing academy – he’d finished first out of everyone - came back to find me and ran with me back to the finish line. My whole team, most of them showered already, were waiting at the 500m mark and they all ran with me back to the finish line. I’m really grateful that although I finished last, I finished.”
Mike says Outward Bound pushed him to new heights he didn’t know he was capable of - physically, mentally and spiritually.
He has already referred about six people for the course, and says the less they know about Outward Bound before they go the better.
“The clearer your canvas the more surprise and delight you will gain from this experience.”