The Elwing "Outdoor Adventure" Youth Grants

Please note that, due to Covid, 2021 courses have been cancelled

Due to Arthur White's ill health it is unlikely that courses will
proceed in the foreseeable future.





An outstanding initiative for the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust (OMCT) and one that has had a measurable positive effect on those who attend, has been the creation and organisation of The Elwing Discoveries Outdoor Adventure Course.  Set against the wonderous beauty of Stewart Island, it is an outdoor adventure/learning course that is open to ALL Year-13 school leavers in Otago.


Begun in 2008, the ‘Elwing’ adventure takes place in December and is specifically tailored to cater for those young adults who have recently left school and/or who have completed their Year-13 studies.  It is timed to start shortly after the school year has finished, yet before these now ex-students begin a new phase in their lives.  For one week their ‘home’ is the sleek, live-aboard, yacht ‘Elwing’, yet at 14 metres (46 foot) bow to stern, the sailing vessel is really a small ship.  The week-long adventure course would normally cost $850-dollars per person, but this special course is heavily subsidised by our Trust, with each participant (or ‘voyagee’ as they are also termed when aboard the ‘Elwing’), being automatically granted NZ$750 toward their total participation fee (of $850 dollars), leaving the potential sailor-to-be having to find only $100 to take part in the adventure of a lifetime.  In some deserving cases, it has also been known for local Mason Lodges to sponsor a candidate to make up this 100-dollar deficit.

Once selected, the week-long journey allows the participants to involve themselves in a range of challenges, many of which may be entirely unfamiliar to them, and others in which they may be reasonably accomplished.  The overall and accumulative result, however, is to imbue the participants, in a positive, active and exciting way, with more confidence and to provide them with new life-skills.  There are even recognised NCEA qualifications to be gained simply by being involved.


Once aboard, the ‘voyagees’ can expect to experience something of life aboard ship, including the basics of seamanship and boat handling skills, all the while under the tutelage of the yacht’s vastly experienced skipper and outdoor educator, Arthur White.  The attendees will learn how to raise and lower the sails, and to observe the procedures for weighing anchor and casting off, prior to sailing to new anchorages each night.

Named after Princess Elwing from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the elegant ‘Elwing’ is equipped with kayaks, rubber inflatables and snorkels, and the adventurers will travel from bay to bay, exploring rivers and hideaway coves, remote reefs and sandy shores.  They will paddle kayaks up hidden creeks camouflaged by lush native bush, all the while developing their teamwork and leadership skills during each of the many varied activities.  They will also extend their ‘safe boating knowledge’ by completing the CBES (Coastguard Boating Education Service) Day-skipper Certificate that, by default, will add to the participant’s academic qualifications with six Unit Standard credits at NCEA Level 2.  

Each voyager keeps his or her own Logbook in which, after dinner during the evening, they record the day’s activities.  The whole event is a challenging undertaking and there is little doubt that, for some people, ‘Elwing’ has had a life changing outcome.  It has certainly elicited some extremely positive feedback from participants and parents alike. 


Download a letter from the captain

  Download an application form  
Download Guidelines Download Course Poster






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