The ‘Elwing’ Outdoor Adventure
At 14 metres (46 feet) in length, the well-equipped yacht Elwing is actually a small ship.
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.
Laden with kayaks and all manner of paraphernalia for exploring a coast line, the sailing vessel ‘Elwing’ heads for Stewart Island.
The ‘Elwing’ drops anchor off one of Stewart Island’s secluded sandy beaches.
One participant wrote:
“Note to any other groups who actually get the chance to read this. If you are starting – Yes, the trip really is that great!
“If you are at the end – I hope that you managed to enjoy this journey as much as I did.”
Another was prompted to note:
“Hey Dude! It is [Person’s Name] here. I have had a blast over the days aboard Elwing and in the waters off Stewart Island. I really enjoyed being at the bottom of New Zealand to experience what Stewart Island has to offer, and how pleasing it is on the eyeballs.
“Also meeting new people, getting to know them and making new friendships, and spinning yarns together.
“Thank you. Cheers Brother.”
The start of another day of discovery and the ‘Elwing’ enters a hidden cove on Stewart Island.
One parent (who for reasons of privacy we cannot name) told us that she had seen her daughter “go through tough times within herself, over recent years” and that her daughter was “angry at the world” and “a sad, mixed up teenager.” Yet, when her daughter returned from the ‘Elwing’ experience (although she was very tired), she was “a more considerate, happy, bubbly 18-year-old.”
Just think about it … for those who are eligible, the ‘Elwing’ Outdoor Adventure journey might be an experience that is simply too good to miss.
Kitting herself out for an hour of snorkelling
in a cove on Stewart Island, a ‘voyagee’
prepares to take the plunge.
For more information, please contact:
Grant Watson, Secretary, Otago Masonic Charitable Trust
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (03) 454 2533
or contact your local Freemasons’ Lodge.
Alternatively, school leavers may wish to contact their Year-13 Dean or Form Teacher.
For the regions and schools, a directory of contacts throughout Otago is listed below.
Otago Girls’ High School
41 Tennyson Street, Dunedin 9016
Telephone: (03) 474 0496
Ms. Tiffany Holmes – Year-13 Dean – Email: email@example.com
Otago Boys’ High School
2 Arthur Street, Central Dunedin 9016
Telephone: (03) 477 5527
Wet towels take the place of Elwing’s sails as
the adventurers dry themselves off after a
day’s kayaking, snorkelling and swimming.
When one has been ‘exploring’ all day the
on-board dining has at least got to
match up with the day’s fun.
St. Hilda’s Collegiate School
2 Cobden Street, Dunedin 9016
Telephone: (03) 477 0989
Mr. Alan West – HOD PD
John McGlashan College
2 Pilkington Street, Maori Hill, Dunedin 9010
Telephone: (03) 467 6620
Glen Clark – Senior Dean – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachael Gardiner – Careers – Email: Rachael.email@example.com
399 Highgate, Private Bag 1911, Dunedin 9010
Telephone: (03) 467 5188
Mr. Neil Mains – Careers Advisor – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Cohen School
44 Rutherford St, Caversham, Dunedin 9012
Telephone: (03) 455 8347
Logan Park High School
74 Butts Road, North Dunedin 9016
Telephone: (03) 477 3586
Dr. Murray Thomson – Careers – Email: email@example.com
Mr. David Pirie – Gateway – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bayfield High School
2 Shore Street, Anderson’s Bay, Dunedin 9013
Telephone: (03) 455 0113
Assistant Principal/Senior School Coordinator – Anna King
King’s High School
270 Bay View Road, South Dunedin 9012
Telephone: (03) 455 7547
Aaron Everett – Senior School Year-13 – Email: email@example.com
Queen’s High School
195 Surrey Street, St Clair, Dunedin 9012
Telephone: (03) 455 7212
Ms Megan Ellis – Year-13 Dean – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
340 Rattray Street, Dunedin 9001
Telephone: (03) 477 3408
Jean Allibone – Year-13 Dean – Email: email@example.com
3 Green St, Mosgiel 9024
Telephone: (03) 489 3823
Nicky Mortimer – Year-13 Dean – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaikorai Valley College
500 Kaikorai Valley Road, Bradford, Dunedin 9011
Telephone: (03) 453 6035
Margaret Beagley – Gateway Teacher – Email: email@example.com
Catlins Area School
1 Stuart Street, Owaka 9535, South Otago
Telephone: (03) 415 8036
Blue Mountain College
State Highway 90, Tapanui 9522, West Otago
Telephone: (03) 204 8358
Mrs. K. Pritchard – Gateway & Careers
Tokomairiro High School
238 Union Street, Milton 9220, Otago
Telephone: (03) 417 8620
Gemma Cowie – Dean – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Otago High School
Frances Street, Rosebank, Balclutha 9239, South Otago
Telephone: (03) 418 0517
Mrs. Cath Bloxham – Year-13 Dean/Guidance Councillor –
Wakatipu High School
47-49 Red Oaks Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 442 7370
Linda Richards – Head of Careers – Email: Irichards@wakatipu.school.nz
Mount Aspiring College
101 Plantation Road, Wanaka 9305, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 443 0499
Mr. Hamish Crosbie – Assistant Principal –
Ms. Charlotte Lucas – Year-13 Dean/Careers Advisor –
Maniototo Area School
15 Caulfeild Street, Ranfurly 9332, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 444 9341
Ms. Nikki Meyer – HOD Science –
Roxburgh Area School
78 Scotland St, Roxburgh 9000, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 446 8460
Lynda Walsh-Pasco – Careers/Life-Skills/Gateway –
9 Barry Avenue, Cromwell 9310, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 445 1121
Kate Borrie – Careers/Gateway – Email: email@example.com
Dunstan High School
12 Enterprise Street, Alexandra 9320, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 448 8595
Waitaki Boys’ High School
10 Waitaki Avenue, Oamaru North, Oamaru 9400, North Otago
Telephone: (03) 437 0529
Nigel Ryburn – Year-13 Dean – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Waitaki Girls’ High School
44 Trent Street, Oamaru 9400, North Otago
Telephone: (03) 434 8429
Ms J. Sinclair – Year-13 Dean – Email: email@example.com
St. Kevin’s College
57 Taward Street, Oamaru 9400, North Otago
Telephone: (03) 437 1665
East Otago High School
3 Stour Street, Palmerston, North Otago
Telephone: (03) 465 1513
Mr. Brent Ford – Year-13 Form Teacher – firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss Erin Kempthorne – Senior Dean – Email: email@example.com
Lawrence Area School
18 Harrington Street, Lawrence 9532, Central Otago
Telephone: (03) 485 9906
Linda Howell – Senior Careers Advisor /Gateway – Email: Lindah@las.school.nz