Laura’s Wāhine Journey

An update from Laura’s girls’ programme (a pilot programme which is aimed at supporting and encouraging Year 11-13 students to discover their strengths, increase their social skills, practice leadership, find physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and connect with nature).


The girls gathered, packed, chatted, packed some more and then hit the road! Thanks so much to all the parents for coming and seeing them off. It was good to see them all well-prepared before they left.

The group headed down towards the Kaimanawa Ranges, stopping at Taupō for a late lunch and then at Tūrangi for a chat with their shuttle driver. The weather is looking good for a couple of days and the river level is lower than average, so they have a great starting posiition even if the rain does get there by Wednesday.

Communication will be pretty limited while they are at the bottom end of the river valley, but they have good conditions and a capable group!


The girls continued their walk up the Waipakihi river valley with about 50 river crossings! It was a huge day and they ended up camping about 500m upstream of the urchin track intersection.


The plan for today was going to be continuing up to the Waipakihi hut and then coming out over the Umakarikari Range on Thursday. However, with rain forecast for Thursday (making that option a potentially bleak trudge), they have opted to come up and over the Urchin today.

So, the team decided to come out by heading up and over the Urchin track to avoid Thursday’s rain. As it was, it rained all day Wednesday, so it was a good idea to get out of the river valley early. They were completely drenched by the time they made it out to the road end, only to find their van missing! A few phone calls to the shuttle company and some cleared-up miscommunication, and they were on their way to somewhere dry for the night, rather than camping out in their tents again.


Today the girls are going to go exploring the underground as they set themselves a new type of challenge, supporting each other to stretch their comfort zones a little and have some adventure.

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