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Opening their eyes to opportunuty

Posted on 04/07/2012 by

ITC classes 12CTT01A, 12CTT01B, and 12CTT02 and tutor Catherine O’Dea went on a famil trip and packed a huge amount of activity into their four-day adventure.

DAY ONE – 29 May 2012
The students and Catherine hopped aboard their Stray bus at 7am.

“Our driver was really friendly and passionate about New Zealand tourism,” said the students of 12CTT01A.  The spacious and comfortable Stray bus got the tick of approval from students, too.

The first stop was Blue Duck Station. The station is located in the Whakahoro Valley in the Ruapehu District on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers, and surrounded by Whanganui National Park.

The station’s mission statement is focused on the conservation of endangered wild life (including the New Zealand blue duck, for which it is named) and the health of the native bush and rivers.

“Dan from Blue Duck Station gave us an insight into how the station is run and its relevance to tourism,” said Catherine. “He also had a little chuckle to himself when I got out of the bus wearing a white trench coat and high-heeled boots to a working farm!”

After being settled in their rooms (and changing into more appropriate attire), the group headed off to explore the station on 4WD vehicles.

“All of the students got well and truly dirty. Mud was everywhere!” said Catherine.

The group also had the opportunity to kayak and ride horses.

In the first of two water-related mishaps, tutor Catherine fell into the river fully clothed while kayaking: “It was freezing and the students were very quick to point out the large eels and watch as I squealed in complete terror!”

Everyone headed back to the lodge for a hot shower, dinner and the chance to warm up around the fire.

“We also learnt the ways of the people who lived without technology,” joked the students from 12CTT02, as Blue Duck Station doesn’t have cell phone coverage.

DAY TWO – 30 May 2012
The group headed off early the following day for Rotorua via Tongariro National Park, Tawhai Falls, and Taupo.

“We had a breakfast stop at The Park Travellers Lodge in Tongariro, where the general manager Jason spoke to the students about his business and the area while we enjoyed our meal and coffee by the fire,” said Catherine.

“During our short visit to Taupo we got to see the sheer power of the Huka Falls as they drained Lake Taupo and dropped off a five-metre waterfall,” said impressed students from 12CTT01A.

The students spent some time settling in at Base Backpacking Hostel in Rotorua before heading out to meet Doug Tamaki, founder and owner of Tamaki Maori Village.

“Doug was truly inspirational and a great public speaker,” said Catherine. “He spoke to the students about how he started in the industry, his struggles and his triumphs.”

It was certainly a highlight for many of the students.

“It was the best part of the trip,” said Marylee Mala’e from 12CTT01B. “Most of us had no idea about how the Maori had lived. We all went back to the hostel with so much more knowledge about Maori culture.”

Student Rehan Tata from 12CTT02 was elected to represent the ITC group as chief and took on his role with great enthusiasm and respect, said Catherine.

“We received a thrilling powhiri welcome,” said Rehan. “Then we were able to explore the beautiful Maori village and do some fun activities and games. After that we were all invited to attend a big amazing hangi feast.”
DAY THREE – 31 May 2012
Day three was another action-packed one. Students were split into two groups – one went to Kaitiaki Rafting and the other to Agroventures, where they could choose from four extreme adventure activities. The two groups then switched activities later in the day.

“The guys from Kaitiaki Rafting were great,” said Catherine. “They put the students at ease and were extremely encouraging and supportive.” 

“I just happened to be in the raft that capsized down the seven-metre waterfall,” she continues. “Yes, the second time on this trip I got myself soaking wet, but I loved it!”

The students from 12CTT01A sum up the day at Agroventures: “We got to swoop 40 metres at a speed of 130kmph, jet from 0 – 100kmph in the blink of an eye, bungy from 43 metres high and experience a minute and a half of free fall above a giant wind column!”

“I think it’s safe to say the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Catherine. “We were all encouraged to take part and do something we normally wouldn’t do. I did the Swoop super swing with two students and we came off feeling alive!”
DAY FOUR – 1 June 2012
“Forty-six tired students and one tired tutor piled onto the bus and headed for Auckland where we arrived just after 1pm,” said Catherine. “I had an unbelievable time and would do a famil again in a heartbeat. I have a different relationship with these students now, as we have shared this amazing experience together.”
The students agree with Catherine’s sentiment. “The trip brought us closer to our classmates and students from the other classes, and we even got our awesome tutor Catherine to kick back and hang with us,” said Rehan.

And amidst all the excitement, the point of it all wasn’t lost on the students either.

“Before this trip we didn’t realize all the job opportunities there were available to us in the industry,” said a representative of class 12CTT01A. “It was a great way to open our eyes to the real world of tourism in New Zealand.”



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