Boys Vs Wild Service Camp

November 26, 2018 at 11:47 AM

With thanks to Year 8 student reporter, Ferguson Muthu

Recently, the year eight boys who had earned their Silver Award for Service went on a service camp.

We were accompanied by some Year 6 boys from Wymondley Road School who had been identified by their school as future leaders. 

This camp was a step up from previous school camps we had been on with the boys taking on more responsibility. Tasks such as making breakfast, lunch and dinner with a $100 shopping budget in a six-member food group gave us a glimpse into adult life. 

The main reason we were at camp was to help the DOC (Department of Conservation) maintain the Tawharanui Regional Park. Our job was simple but important; to carry buckets of gravel and line the border fence to prevent any pests from digging underneath the fence. The Ranger explained to us the importance of the job and how long it would take him to do it by himself so he was really grateful for the extra hands. 

We formed a chain gang and shifted buckets of gravel down the line, raking them into place.

While we were working, I noticed some holes which were situated on the side of a grass bank. I checked for inhabitants, but to no avail. Maybe they were kiwi nests. I thought little of it.

About fifteen minutes from the end of our three-hour shift, something amazing happened. I caught sight of a fluffy brown shape, about the size of a human head, sprinting through the bush. It ran toward holes that I had seen earlier in the day. 

‘It’s a pest,’ I shouted, ‘Let’s catch it.’  A group of about a dozen boys and one of the teachers came quietly. We circled around the animal. That was when it looked up. I remember its black eyes staring into me, as if penetrating. Around its eyes were a yellow, bumpy texture. And it’s feathers. They were so well coated. It was our native bird – a kiwi! 

The kiwi furrowed into its nest, apparently scared by its new spectators. We backed away wary of scaring it. The grass above the nest was rustling. Then it stopped. Silence. 

All of a sudden it shot out of its nest, as fast as a bullet. It used Ethan’s leg as a launch pad. Everyone shouted with fright. It was traveling at least 5 metres per second as it tore up the bank. We lost sight of it shortly thereafter. 

After some research on the internet, I identified the species of kiwi as the nationally venerable New Zealand brown kiwi. Descriptions of its appearance and how it makes its nest were a match. This is an experience none of the fortunate boys will forget in a hurry. 

After the sighting, we went back to camp and grabbed our togs for a crisp swim in the ocean. We enjoyed some free time and then embarked on the challenge of making dinner. This consisted of trying make the ultimate burger - as judged by the teachers. 

We played ‘king of the hill’ and ‘go home stay home’ as the darkness crept in. We then spent some time staring up at the sky reflecting on the day and some questions about leadership. We then headed off to bed. 

When we woke we made breakfast, tidied up the camp site and headed up to the beach where we travelled past dotterel and seagull nests to some rock pools and blowholes. Some of the boys, myself included, took the plunge into a crystal-clear rock pool, about 3 metres deep.

Overall the Boys Vs Wild Camp was a blast and was topped off by the fact that we saw our national bird in broad daylight!

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