UVHS orienteering club are travelling around New Zealand for three weeks as part of an overseas tour. We were invited over by Havelock North High School who we met in Scotland at the World Schools O Champs in 2008. We will experience the culture, nature, geography and adventure that NZ has to offer as well as taking part in the NZ O Champs and N Island Schools O Champs.
Our group of 11 pupils and 5 adults left on Friday 26th March. After an eventful flight(s) we arrived 24 hours late! Travelling straight to Havelock N, we missed the day in Rotorua. Everyone was billeted with families and went into school on Tuesday. There we were welcomed with a Maori powhiri which involved singing and a ‘haka’. After a Maori lesson where the pupils learnt to count, together with the arm gestures of the Maori dance, UVHS took part in a technology challenge. They had to launch a table tennis ball, build a paper tower to support a water bottle, and accurately weigh 100g. Five teams took part in each challenge and UV recorded a 2nd and two 1st places. Mr Dixon will be delighted to learn that all his hard work has paid off as we thrashed the Havelock teams.
The next day both schools travelled down to Wellington with UV exploring the National (Te Papa) Museum. This gave them a good insight into the geology, nature and culture of NZ. After the ferry crossing to S Island we spent Thursday driving down to Dunedin. The early start meant that we saw sunrise over the Pacific Ocean and, as we approached Kaikoura, fur seals basking on the rocks. The day ended with sunset at the Moeraki Boulders. These huge spherical boulders were great fun with the pupils trying to climb up as the high tide washed around their feet.
Friday was spent in Dunedin. A city tour saw some of the keener pupils racing up and down Baldwin Street (the steepest in the world). They then raced down the sand dunes at Sandfly Beach to find sealions resting on the shore. They also visited the Royal Albatross Centre, followed by a tour of the Yellow Eyed Penguin Centre.
The end of the first week sees the group travelling to Cromwell (near Queenstown) to take part in the NZ O Champs.