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One Big Whanau – ITC Famil Trip June 2013

Posted on 13/07/2013 by

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ITC’s CTT01 and CTT02B recently experienced the famil trip to Rotorua’s Tamaki Maori Village, the Kaitiaki River for whitewater rafting, the Agrodome for some adrenaline-fuelled adventure, and Whanganui National Park’s Blue Duck Station.

Also along on the trip for the first time was ITC tutor Geraldine. Nicknamed “Mama G” by the students, Geraldine had at first been nervous about going; but she soon realised it was best decision she could have made.

“It confirmed to me that I am in the right place helping students achieve their dreams,” says Geraldine. And she appreciated the opportunity to get to know better the students she has been working with for the past 6 months.

“Most of these students have had it rough,” she says, “They have been through so much throughout their lives. This experience opened my eyes and my heart to all of my students. It has taught me that I have to do all that I can to help make a difference so that they too can make a difference within the travel and tourism industry.”

As always on the famil trip, the Tamaki Brothers’ Maori village experience was popular with the students and had a real impact on some.

“I never understood how beautiful Maori culture is until I saw this,” says Neharika.

Mohammed was nominated chief for the evening: “I think that was the most amazing thing I did,” he says. “I was a little bit scared, but it was something I will never forget and the people there were really kind.”

Tonu says he enjoyed learning about the history of the Maori people and the Treaty of Waitangi and was extremely impressed by meeting “people who are actively involved with keeping their culture alive.”

Judith also enjoyed experiencing a place she thought she knew well: “I’ve been to Rotorua, but never explored it like we did at the famil.”

Jessica says that she relished the opportunity “to get to know more about my Maori side; it’s something that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”

The adventurous nature of the white water rafting and the activities at the Agrodome required courage, and many of the students took the opportunity to challenge their fears.

“I’d never in my whole entire life thought I’d do some of the things I did in Rotorua such as white water rafting,” says Tonu.

“That was the best activity,” says Manpreet, “even though I was really scared and thought I am just about to die, just before the big waterfall!”

Audrey said that the guides were “calming and funny. They made you feel safe. Loved it!”

“I want to thank ITC for this opportunity that got me to experience things that I’ve never done before,” says Loia.

Perhaps most impressive of all was Jessica, who had had a previous accident on the water and didn’t think she would ever do something like that again. “But I had an amazing time white water rafting,” she says. “I also never thought I’d do the Swoop at Agroventures, as I’m really scared of heights, but again I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it.”

And tutor Geraldine also had to confront her fears: “I’m always in front of my class teaching and constantly telling them to take risks. On this famil I had to follow my own preaching. I took a leap faith, which reminded me that I too need to take risks in helping my students be successful in all that they do.”

The beauty of Blue Duck Lodge also made an impression on the students.

“I never knew places like that even existed in New Zealand,” says Phillomina.

“I was blown away by the amazing hidden wonders of New Zealand,” says Neharika.

But what really stood out for the students and their tutor was the way that travel creates a bond between people.

“It was fun going through all the activities together as a group and it was a great opportunity for both classes to get to know one another,” says Siala.

The two groups came together over the course of the trip and shared many stories.

Telesia says that the famil trip changed “a lot of the things I look at in life. I realised that you have no right to judge someone before you have walked through their past. Getting to know each and every one of my classmates brought tears to my eyes – all I can say is you are all very strong and your story can change someone’s life.”

“They all motivate me in some way,” says Jessica. “It’s the encouragement and perseverance that has made me become who I am today. I’m so grateful to have met them all in my life. They are all amazing.”

“God bless each soul that came on this trip!” says Neharika “You’ve all made a space in my heart.”

Or, as Audrey puts it: “We went down as two classes and came back as one big whanau!”

For tutor Geraldine, it has confirmed that she has made the right career choice and that she is where she should be. Thank you ITC for continuing to make a difference in the lives of our students, our community and our country,” she says. “And thank you for this golden opportunity that you give our students to have this amazing experience.”

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