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Wises liaison teachers; Ada Wong, Jared Hockly, Deb Thompson and Marie Hickey, had the pleasure of spending a productive and inspirational camp with a great group of student leaders and representatives from the four Wises groups; Digiwise, Healthwise, Travelwise and Wastewise. 

Wastewise camp team: Zylah Vivace, Daisy Nalder, Lucian Martin, Alexandra Fleming, Jessica Nguyen
Healthwise camp team: Alex De Castro, Beza Habtemariam, Henri Woodley
Travelwise camp team: Jeffery Liu,Theo Head, Radha Patel, Christopher Tjong
Digiwise camp team: Tobias Beaumont, Iona WIlson, Max Blackmore, Seraphine Rive

The group departed for camp on the outskirts of Auckland determined to plan events for the year ahead, and to team-build as one larger group that can support each other’s activities.

The Wises camp was organised by Deputy Principal Geraldine Victor, who helps guide the Wises teams on their individual and yet shared journey to inform and motivate our school community to become increasingly sustainable and responsible global citizens. Thank you Ms. Victor! 

Set on a large grassy property, fringed by native bush, the Scout camp was a perfect home base for one night. We departed school before most students and staff arrived, and began our camp with a stomach-warming breakfast cooked by Wastewise. 

The first item on the agenda was  guest speakers, Sean Winterbottom, our liaison person from Auckland Council Sustainable Schools team and two members of Urban Ark, Paul Whitfield and Siân Buley. We were informed about a new initiative from the Sustainable Schools team and Urban Ark as well as a rat trapping presentation. We could not help feeling a little sad for the stuffed-sock rats, but believe in preventing the demise of our native birds and encouraging the increase of the species to be worthwhile reasons. We hope to encourage more students to join Paula Marx and her student team who set peanut-butter baited traps around WSCW.

A number of team building activities were next on the camp schedule. The most tricky task was untangling human knots, of which the first was possible, but the second proved far too challenging. Mercifully, a feisty group of bees decided to cause havoc. So it was with huge signs of sadness that we were forced to break our human chain – sorry Ms Wong we had to let go for health and safety reasons. 


The Wises teams began to chart their individual team courses for 2023, while enjoying a chocolate reward for their enthusiastic team-building efforts. A tasty lunch, cooked by Travelwise, was enjoyed before formulating how the teams would assist Ms. Bourgeois with the Kāhui Ako environmental initiatives in the school. 

A sweet-treat afternoon tea provided the sustenance for the plant and bird identification walk down the steep track to Lucas Creek, and the strenuous climb back up to camp. The track was dry, but the damage caused by the recent huge water flows was evident, and our thoughts returned to our recent inundations and cyclone, and one of the main contributors; Climate Change. On the walk we were surrounded by native bush, and pleasingly very few invasive plants. With identification sheets in our hands we were on the lookout for both types of plants and native birds. We could hear the delightful birdsong, and those who were quiet enough, saw pīwakawaka/fantails and tauhou/waxeyes. 

Before dinner the groups came together in the outside classroom. Each group presented their ideas from the vantage point of the outdoor campfire – unlit of course. A delicious dinner was cooked by Healthwise. After dinner the teams worked on promotion of their individual groups for their respective Instagram pages coordinated by Ms. Thompson before a light supper and free time to bond over games and chatting.

The multiple bunkrooms proved to be ideal accommodation for the night. Before the teams departed camp and returned to WSCW, Digiwise rustled up a delightful batch of pancakes for twenty hungry people, complete with maple syrup and honey.

The camp officially ended with morning tea at Vinnie’s and a debrief. The four Wises groups, with many events now on the calendar, are sure that 2023 will be amazing. A year where students can take up opportunities and be fully involved in all the activities available to them.

Marie Hickey

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