Spring at CCSP

by Alexa Kruse, Student Life Coordinator on 29th November, 2018

Hello again! Here’s what we’ve yet to cover in order to catch you up…

  • 1 week of Environmental Literature courses
  • 1 week of God and Nature courses
  • 1 week-long field trip to the West Coast
  • 2 weeks of Marine Ecology

Alright, here we go!

We jumped right in to Environmental Literature II with Loren and Mary-Ruth Wilkinson when we got back from break (mid-October). The Wilkinson’s had a different flair from Dr. Amy Wicks, so the students covered different readings and dug into environmental literature in a new and different way. During the week Kyle got the plants into the ground at our garden plot at the Marae so the roots would have more space to spread out. At the end of the week we celebrated Nate’s (belated) birthday, which happened during the break. The celebrations included a variety of “field day” games, such as “run to the chair and pop the balloon,” “move an Oreo from your forehead into your mouth without using your hands,” and “potato sack races.” The students (and staff) had a lot of fun competing against each other and celebrated afterward with mixed berry pie and ice cream.

Laughing at Nora trying to eat an Oreo without her hands.
Potato sack racing during Nate’s birthday celebration

Then there was a week of God and Nature II. Again, the Wilkinsons provided a different perspective and things to ponder than Dr. Andrew Shepherd. Their class also connected back to both of the environmental literature courses—CCSP is all for integrative learning. Near the end of the week, students shared a gift with the class. Gifts ranged from pieces of art and song, to shared meals, to creating music together. Students were able to showcase their creativity and connect what they learned in their course to God and his creation. This week we also did a bit of birding to prepare the students for terrestrial ecology. The female students also dressed up as the male students for Halloween, causing fits of giggles throughout class. 

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Halloween at CCSP!
Celebrating Nora’s belated birthday with two kinds of cake and ice cream
Charity made pavlova!

Before we knew it, the West Coast field trip and Terrestrial Ecology with Dr. Aaron Sullivan were upon us and we left the sunny east coast for the drizzly west. On the 4th of November we set out west and stopped at Castle Rock, and nice stretch away from the vans and quite the playground. After many, “Are we there yet’s?” and a few bathroom breaks, we made it to Arthur’s Pass where we were greeted by Kea. We spent the late afternoon at Bealey track identifying plants and hiking through a bog. Everyone had the option of hiking up to Devil’s Punchbowl, too, and a couple of our students even got in to the frigid waters. In the evening we celebrated my birthday with spaghetti (my favourite meal), and had a time of prayer and worship in the chapel. 

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In a bog

The next day students learned about the geology of Zealandia, went on the Dobson Valley walk and identified a myriad of alpine vegetation, and had a birding stop in Hokitika before finishing our drive for the day in Bruce Bay. We were welcomed to the Marae with a Powhiri and had a lecture in the evening. Tuesday morning we headed to Monroe Beach where we saw a Fjordland crested penguin and were nibbled on by the sand flies. We took our time walking on the way back and enjoyed the scenery and all of the new vegetation. Students were starting to call out the names of plants they recognised, and we were all pretty pumped to have so much field time. Sunshine, Aaron’s wife, was a fantastic addition to the crew—just as excited as the students were to learn. The afternoon was rounded out with a walk at Lake Matheson and a lecture in the evening.

On Wednesday we packed up and headed for the West Coast Wildlife Centre at Franz Josef where students were able to observe juvenile Rowi Kiwi in a nocturnal room—the rarest kiwi with a current population of only about 350 individuals. We also visited Franz Josef glacier where we could witness succession with our own eyes, as well has how the glacier had receded throughout the years. The afternoon was spent traveling to Punakaiki (pancake rocks) and Te Nikau Logde, which would be our home base for three nights. Thursday morning brought on another informative lecture, then a walk on Truman Track. We had relatively good luck with the rain up until this point, but then the “WEsT coast” showed her true nature. We even learned that one of the bridges was out, stranding some people in Arthur’s Pass. Thankfully, we were long gone from there! Students reviewed for their field exam (identifying plants, birds, and ecological processes we had witnessed) throughout the afternoon, and the written exam in the evening. Everyone enjoyed the relaxed space at Nikau Lodge and all of the students went tidepooling at the beach in the pouring rain, a really cool experience!

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Kyle ID-ing a plant at Franz Josef Glacier
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Students at a waterfall at Truman Track

Friday morning we headed out to the Pororari River and the students had their field exam. I think they were a little disappointed that they couldn’t shout out the names of the plants they recognized! After the exam we headed to Punakaiki, or pancake rocks. As you can imagine, Punakaiki was named for the impressive, old, flat columns of rock gracing the ocean shore. In the evening, students completed their written exam and afterward visited a glow worm cave. It was such an moving experience to sing in the dark! Saturday brought us back home to Kaikoura and in the evening we watched An Unnatural History of the Kakapo, which was pretty funny and informative.

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The students taking their Field Exam at the Pororari River

On Sunday we celebrated Courtnay’s Ordination as a Deacon of the Anglican Church! I am so glad we all got to share that special time with her.

The next day we plunged straight into Marine Ecology with Dr. Jody Weir. The next two weeks were absolutely chockers with lectures, field trips, and research. After the whirlwind, when asked, students said their favourite parts of marine ecology were…

  • Getting to do actual research with Jody on Hector’s dolphins
  • Completing research projects of their own with real data
  • Swimming with Dusky dolphins on Dolphin Encounter
  • Visiting the Hutton’s Shearwater colony on the peninsula
  • Visiting the penguin colony in South Bay

other amazing field-trips included…

  • Tidepooling and watching fur seals at the peninsula
  • Watching Hector’s dolphins from the shore near Hapuku river
  • Visiting Fyffe House and learning about Kaikoura’s whaling history

During the first week of marine ecology, the students and I also traveled to Blenheim to see the premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Gotta keep the Harry Potter fans happy!

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At the movie premiere

Now, we’re into Integration Week. This week is all about students reflecting on their time at CCSP. We’ve had a lot of good group discussions about what is means to care for creation, live in a community, and what changes students want to make in their lives moving forward. We’ve also watched documentaries (Cowspiracy, Gasland II, and Thin Ice to name a few), and learned “What’s Next” from students—where they research a nonprofit organisation that they might give a season of their lives to in the future. At the end of this week students will complete a paper that weaves together everything they’ve learned this semester. We’re getting close to the end, and I think we’re all a little sad about it.

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The Prime Minister speaking in Kaikoura when the first passenger train since the earthquake came through. 

That’s the beauty of community at CCSP, though. We get to live, work, and learn together, and in the process form wonderful relationships—with people who, at the end of it, are hard to say, “goodbye,” to.


Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

by Alexa Kruse, Student Life Coordinator on 20th November, 2018

Hello, we’re back after 10 weeks! Time flies when you’re having fun. Here are the stats…

  • 2 weeks of Sustainable Community Development
  • 1 week of Te Reo Maori and reading for upcoming courses
  • 2 week-long field trips (one to Wellington, one to the West Coast)
  • 2 weeks of God and Nature courses
  • 2 weeks of Environmental Literature courses
  • 1 week of Mid-term break

Let’s get to it!

After the first week of Sustainable Community Development students jumped into reading week and Te Reo Maori with Brett Cowan. During the mornings and afternoons of reading week, students got a jump start on assigned readings for their upcoming courses. Against the Tide, Towards the Kingdom, The Sixth Extinction, and Potiki were some of the texts processed.

brenda’s breakfast club

Te Reo Maori classes took place every evening, and on the final day of Te Reo staff were treated to a presentation of all the students had learned during that week. Students shared their mihi (a formal greeting including pepeha (tells where you come from) and whakapapa (tells about your lineage)), sang several fun songs in Maori, and did a haka (instead of threats of war they chanted the names of fruits!). We also celebrated Mark’s birthday with a plant-based-riddle hike, Tim Tam Slam, and chocolate ice cream cake while doing (terrible, inaccurate and fun) Lord of the Rings trivia in the evening.

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Celebrating Mark’s birthday by identifying plants to solve a riddle

The Kaikoura Hop was on for the weekend, so students were reminded of home with all of the old cars driving around, fair food, and people in Harley-Davidson T-shirts.

Alexa, Jenn, Morgan, and Rachel at the Kaikoura Hop.

After a short, relaxing weekend, students headed to Wellington. When they left on Sunday (the 16th of September) it was Courtnay’s birthday! They celebrated with chocolate cake and positive words towards CCSP’s director. Students enjoyed the ferry ride over to Wellington through the Marlborough Sounds that day, too. We didn’t want to take a second van to Wellington when all of the students could fit into one (saving fuel, caring for creation!), so I stayed behind and volunteered with the Department of Conservation doing counts of Hutton’s shearwaters. So, I’ll let the students tell you their favourite parts of that week…

  • Jenn loved Zealandia!
  • Charity said…
    • “I just love being in a city! So all the times we spent in the city (Wellington) were my favourite memories of the Wellington trip. Not that I don’t like other activities we did (and some were really awesome) I just felt more comfortable and at home when I walk down the busy streets in downtown Wellington! I really miss being connected with the city folks and lifestyle.”
  • Schuyler said…
    • “Going to parliament, I think it’s really interesting to see how other countries govern and the strengths and weaknesses of other governments to see how we can improve ours back home.”
  • Mark said…
    • For sure, my favourite part was the liturgical worship services at Ngatiawa River Monestary. I loved the candlelights and the quiet contemplativeness in each service.

When students returned from their trip to Wellington, Dayton (our intern) had a traditional Middle Eastern meal prepared for them. It was fun to sit as a community and experience a meal in a special and different way.

Enjoying Middle Eastern Food

Then, another week of Sustainable Community Development with Dr. Mick Duncan. Mick’s second week allowed students to reflect on their experiences in Wellington and tie in examples of real-world sustainability that are occurring there.*

*After mid-term break, I asked students what their favourite course was so far (Sustainable Community Development, God and Nature I, or Environmental Literature I) and they all said SCD was their favourite! Here’s why…

  • “It challenges me to think about the life I want to live and who I am as a person. I think learning about the difference between being good and being nice was something that I enjoyed and it challenged me as well.” —Schuyler
  • “—taught us great values needed in life. Mick is an amazing teacher. His lessons challenged all our social issue beliefs.” —Jenn
  • “Mick (Dr. Duncan) has such an affinity for telling stories, being incredibly enthusiastic, and supportive yet criticising. I really value Mick’s idea of being consistently Pro-life, Pro-people, Pro-places, and Pro-earth.
  • “In Mick’s class we got to hear his hands-on life experience in living out Sustainable Development! I love how the class functioned more like an interactive discussion based class.” —Charity
    • Charity also mentioned that she liked Environmental Literature I, “Environmental Literature was also really awesome. Amy’s passions for literature and poetry inspired me to give out more appreciation to this class.”
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Kyle and Schuyler… Didn’t you know? Playing the guitar can be a team effort!

This weekend, most students left for their home-stays. The home-stay experience allowed them to experience kiwi culture more deeply and develop a relationship with some of the people in Kaikoura. When students returned, we celebrated Morgan’s birthday with “Mocktails and Canvas.” I led students in a painting of footprints on a seashore and they rose to the challenge! We enjoyed sparkling grape juice as we painted, and Morgan’s favourite dessert, Kuchen (a type of bread-like cake—we had nectarine and cottage cheese flavours!).

Celebrating Morgan’s birthday with “Mocktails and Canvas”

Then we were into the first week in October, and spring! We kicked off October with God and Nature with Dr. Andrew Shepherd. Throughout the week, students were challenged to think in different ways by Andrew’s content. Sadly, this week we also celebrated the life of Willie, husband to Inga and friend of CCSP. Some students participated in the funeral services and we have been able to help support and bless Inga moving forward. 

The weekend of the 13th-14th of October the ladies and I hiked Mt. Fyffe. We had a lot of fun hiking to the top, spending the night in the hut, then waking up early (really early) the next day to watch sunrise from the summit.

Morgan, Jenn, Charity, Rachel, and Alexa at the summit of Mt. Fyffe overlooking the Kaikoura Peninsula

Week two in October also brought with it a new course, Environmental Literature with Dr. Amy Wicks. Students made claims by writing an essay on Potiki and read many short works and poems. Throughout the week students were also challenged to become poets. Although some were hesitant at first, by the end of the week all of the students agreed that it was a great emotional exercise to do “Check-ins” (taking just 7 minutes to write about anything, as long as the pen keeps moving) every day.

The faces of people who just saw 3 orcas!

Then students were off on their exciting Mid-Term break trips! From October 13th-21st, students traveled all around New Zealand, and even Australia! When everyone returned, they shared where they went and what they did. Here’s a snapshot of their trips…

  • Jenn and Charity flew up to Auckland. They shared a fun video of their travels with us! They also had us do a spicy ramen noodle challenge and try mochi. Some highlights included…
    • Visiting Charity’s family in Auckland
    • Hot springs
    • Glow-worm cave
    • Hobbitton
    • All the Asian food!
  • Mark, Schuyler, and Rachel traveled around the South Island and spent a lot of time out-of-doors. They also shared a nice video of their trip, and had us play a “Who said it?” (quotes out of context) game. Some of their favourite places/activities were…
    • Hooker Valley Pass
    • Lake Tekapo
    • Wanaka
    • Meeting up with Lisa at Fergburger in Queenstown
    • Milford Sound
    • Ambushing someone who they thought was Kyle (another student), but was not Kyle (and the car wasn’t even a Mitsubishi)
  • Kyle and Nate spent their time on the South Island, too. They drove (a lot), surfed (quite a bit), and took amazing photos that they shared with us (lots of them). They also shared some fun stories…
    • Nate got a fantastic photo of a seal who tried to charge him—dangerous by too cool
    • They say a Fjordland Crested penguin, New Zealand’s rarest penguin. Kyle described it cinematically—the penguin even had a funny fall as it hopped across rocks to get to the water
    • Kyle won a limbo competition (and a jetboat ride that he gave away) in Queenstown
  • Morgan was lucky enough to have her friend Sierra, from the US, come and visit her over break. They traveled in New Zealand and Australia. Morgan shared cool post cards she purchased, ticket stubs, and other small memorabilia from her trip. I asked Morgan to write a bit about her trip and here is what she shared…
    • “I loved how many penguins we saw. We saw little blue penguins at the Oamaru Penguin Colony (184 of them came in from the ocean to their nests that night) and at both the Meblourne Zoo and the International Antartic Center in Christchurch we also saw King and Gentoo penguins at the Melbourne SeaLife Aquarium. There were 3 baby King penguin chicks that were super adorable and fluffy and brown!”
    • “Another favourite part of the trip was going to the circus. The few days we were in Melbourne coincided with the Melbourne International Arts Festival, and the Nofit State Circus from somewhere in the UK (I think) were there doing their lexicon performance. We saw a billboard for it and decided to go, and that was probably one of our best decisions. The performers were crazy talented and strong, doing incredible acrobatics on ropes, on trapezes, with each other, and more. There was a funny juggler and there was also a unicyclist who kept appearing throughout the show like during the breaks he had gained more skills, starting with being teased by others and proving himself by riding on wheel to dressing himself on the unicycle to riding the unicycle across a line of elevated wine glasses.”
  • I (Alexa) went to Fiji and spent a lot of time reading, soaked up the sunshine, and enjoyed “Fiji time.”
  • Nora (another SLC) and Stephen (her husband) traveled around the South Island to the Moeraki boulders and Dunedin (which they thoroughly enjoyed).
  • Courtnay (CCSP’s director) enjoyed her sister and nephew visiting.
  • brenda (CCSP’s health and safety officer) held down the fort and had a relaxing time (thanks, brenda!).
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Home again, home again.

That’s all for now, we hope you’ll check back in a couple of days to see our next post detailing our courses with Loren and Mary-Ruth Wilkinson, our Terrestrial Ecology/West Coast Field trip, and our Marine Ecology course. Cheers!

Remember to follow our adventures on Instagram @creationcsp, and check out our website at creationcsp.org!


Kia ora, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted! I’m one of CCSP’s new Student Life Coordinators, Alexa. CCSP is still in Kaikoura but has moved into Sky Hi as our new home for the next few years, and the students have settled in for the next few months of learning.

Since everyone’s arrived we’ve enjoyed a comfortably full week of orientation, a long weekend away, and a week of class. During orientation week the students…

  • Went on a photo scavenger hunt around Kaikoura
  • Participated in reflective turituri (hush, be quiet)
  • Visited Kaikoura’s museum
  • Were welcomed into Takahanga Marae via pōwhiri ceremony
  • Took a trip to Hanmer Springs to relax in the hot pools
  • Visited a Permaculture farm and met Potamus the pig
    • Rachel said, “I personally really liked going to the permaculture farm. I really just appreciated seeing the way that they innovated having different plants that were not just the end product, but that helped the plants they were trying to grow. It lent a sort of chaotic feel, but in a good and wild way. It was really beautiful.”
  • Ate a delicious Iconic Tea by Lisa, complete with Pavlova
  • Helped harvest carrots and weed thyme at the Hislop’s farm
  • Watched the movie Whale Rider
  • Walked the Kaikoura Peninsula with guide Simon
    • When I asked Morgan about her favourite activity she said, “Maybe the Peninsula Walk. It was cool to see all the views and have Simon tell us about the area.”
Students on the Kaikoura Peninsula walk
  • Visited the Resource Recovery Center
  • Walked the Palmer Fyffe track with guide Barry Dunnett
    • Schuyler, “My favourite was probably the Mt. Fyffe walk. It was a blast and a half.”
Students on the Palmer Fyffe walk guided by Barry Dunnett, who has written a book about tramping around Kaikoura and been quoted multiple times in Wilderness Magazine NZ
  • Enjoyed lunch with their small groups
  • And learned about living with less with Ralph and Allie Hogan.

Jenn’s favourite activity was one I had forgotten. When I asked her, she said, “The bonfire was pretty fun,” which it absolutely was. Thanks to Jenn and Schuyler, we were serenaded by the sounds of ukulele and guitar at a beach bonfire while we appreciated the ocean, moon, and stars.

While enjoying planned (and unplanned) orientation week activities the students were deciding where to go on their first weekend away from Kaikoura. The long weekend trip allows students to get a bit of New Zealand exploring in early on in the semester. Charity, Jenn, Mark, Morgan, and Rachel spent the weekend up North in Picton while Kyle, Nate, and Schuyler went up to Picton and then chased the surf Southward. Mark relayed his group’s story to me.

The Picton Crew (Rachel, Jenn, Mark, Morgan, and Charity) is all smiles on a hike

“We took the bus up there and had a kind of funny coincidence. On the bus there were only us and one other lady with her three kids. We saw her once in Picton and she rode back on the same bus as us. We rode on the bus then had to walk two miles to our hostel, and when we got there we got chocolate pudding and ice cream.

The next day we went on our day hike and I fell in the mud, but it was fun and we saw some seals.

The next day we went sea kayaking and several times found ourselves in a pod of dolphins and a gaggle of seals who were feeding on the fish below. They were going under the kayaks and jumping out of the water and it was kind of scary but cool. Eddie the one eyed seal poked his head out of the water only five feet away from my kayak—he stared at me and started coming towards my kayak and I freaked out but then he left.

Morgan and Charity sea kayaking

The next day was annoyingly rainy so we just walked around, looked at the shops, and played games in cafes until we had to get on the bus again.”

Jenn also told me that they went to the aquarium after kayaking and were the only visitors at the time. The employee on duty took out a tuatara just for them and they got to pet it. They learned that tuataras have one heartbeat only every 15min or so.

The tuatara that the Picton crew met

Kyle told me about their group’s trip which was all about the surf.

The Surf Crew (Nate, Kyle, and Schuyler–not pictured here but photo creds @Schuyler)

“We started out going to Whites Bay, then up to Picton, and then drove Port Underwood road that went around the NE corner down to Robin’s Hood bay where we stayed the night and surfed.

We went to Ward’s beach, Awatere River, and finally Mungamanu and then stayed in that area. We surfed at Kahutara and then it was time to come back to Kaikoura. It was pretty awesome. The best waves were at Kahutara Sunday evening. I would say 5ft or 6ft.

We saw a kinkajou and lots of wekas. Other than going to the amazing bays and surfing and camping there, the best part was driving Port Underwood road. The road was on the coast and it was high up above the water, and it was just amazing that they were able to get a road there. It was a really scenic drive.”

Nate added, “I think my favourite part was grabbing fresh mussels and eating them for dinner.”

All staff and students had Sunday tea together and participated in foot-washing during community night.

The students just completed their first week of class—Sustainable Community Development with Dr. Michael Duncan. Mick’s life story and faith journey are intertwined with his course. The difficult topics addressed and new ideas presented can be emotionally heavy for students; but if they approach the topics with open minds and hearts it can be very rewarding.

When asked about her favourite part of the course Charity said, “I like how he talked about how his life applied to what we were learning. I liked that he talked a lot about going to places of disorder and establishing order.”

And when asked about his Mark said, “I loved his openness to telling difficult stories. He has such a passion for the poor and it really shows through his personality.”

Mick will return during the last week in September for week two of SCD and to debrief the students’ Wellington field trip.

It’s a sunny, late-Sunday arvo as I write this, and I am happy to report that although students did not have a long weekend to travel, they still took advantage of and enjoyed their time off. Yesterday Rachel, Mark, and I ran a water station for the Whale Run, a 10k and half-marathon run that had over 500 entrants. Schuyler ran the half-marathon at an impressive pace, coming in 49th with no prior serious training. We all spent the afternoon in cafes or otherwise relaxing, except for Nate, Kyle, and our intern, Dayton, who climbed Mount Fyffe together. Nate relayed a funny story of their tramp to me…

Mt. Fyffe Crew (Nate, Dayton, and Kyle)

…they made it up to the hut where they would be sleeping for the night and got comfortable, but when they went to make tea realised they had too few utensils, a proper knife for cutting steak (they were attempting to use a butter knife), and too few pans. A man named Ben who was making himself a nice ramen-looking dinner of noodles and meat, “did everything he could to make their lives easy,” Kyle said (Ben gave them utensils, a knife, and a pan). Ben’s made-up bowl was sitting on the floor and Nate needed to go outside but accidentally clipped the edge of the bowl with his foot, ruining most of Ben’s dinner. The consolation? They shared their tea meal with Ben.

Above the clouds

This morning I dropped Mark off at Mount Fyffe—he planned to summit and climb back down the other side today. However, a rock slip cut his hike short. While the other students and I attended New Life church, the other guys made it back from their hike without issue. This afternoon naps were had by most. And, what do you know… Ben rocked up for tea!

I think we’re all enjoying the pace of life here in Kaikoura.

Sunrise over the Kaikoura Esplanade


All of the photos in this post were provided by this semester’s CCSP students. Remember to follow our adventures on Instagram @creationcsp, and check out our website at creationcsp.org!

A fond farewell

It’s hard for me to believe that ten months ago, I (Lex, SLC) was on a plane headed for my new home in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Now, with my responsibilities as a CCSP staff member wrapping up, I’m getting ready to say goodbye to not only the people here and the memories I’ve made, but also the plants, land, and animals here in town. I haven’t always liked goodbyes, but this one in particular will be hard.

I think I’ve gotten to know the earth and soil in this little corner of the planet so much more than any other place I’ve ever lived. I’ve learned how to harvest kale, what it feels like to lose 5 games of Rummikub in a row to the one and only Willie van Hoof, and how to cook. I’ve learned to appreciate both the easy and tough things about living in an intentional community, and how to take time to myself when I need it. The past two semesters have been so influential to me, and have definitely shaped me as an individual, but also as an earthling.



These are some of the things I will deeply miss from the past few months:

  • sharing a French press with Courtnay (and Arin, Sabrina, Teri, Katie, Ellie, Lilly, and sometimes Laura)
  • peanut butter & budlet toast with Laura
  • painting in the craft room with Teri
  • watching movies on Friday nights
  • eating endless amounts of popcorn
  • joking with Adriannea about when the sun is out and when the moon is out
  • School of Rock, Nacho Libre and Monty Python: the Holy Grail at the church
  • trips to the beach or Seal colony to look for cateyes, sea glass and paua
  • coffee dates with Emma Jane
  • listening to Pentatonix, J. Bieber and Beyonce on car rides with Arin riding shotgun
  • taunting Landon with Arin and Ryan as we drop him off for a run
  • swimming at the beach when the weather got too hot
  • seeing Dusky dolphins from our porch
  • trips to Ngatiawa
  • walking to Hislops for a chai latte
  • Riverdale episodes with Adriannea
  • watching Downton Abbey with Lisa, Cat Pat and Nicki
  • playing ukulele with Matthew Lee
  • going to Thai Siam with Teri, Katie and Landon and watching LOTR over takeout
  • popcorn dates with Katie on the steps of the Presbyterian church
  • reading upstairs with a cup of tea
  • Ethiopian night (thanks Ellie, Sabrina and Laura!)
  • morning prayers with Court, Arin, Laura, Sabrina and Landon
  • going to the penguin colony with Jody
  • homemade forts with games and treats
  • listening to Kelly play the piano
  • sitting in the coffee-tea kitchen in the sun
  • petting our neighborhood cat, Felipa/Penelope
  • sitting on the beach talking with Kelsey and Karoline
  • cooking chickpea burgers for 15 people
  • sitting around the fire for breakfast
  • going to the Lookout
  • Saturday morning breakfasts with Lisa
  • kayaking and paddle boarding
  • taking trips back to the Convent with Landon
  • meals with the Churnsides, the van Hoofs, the Hursts, Repekah, Bronwyn and Ezra
  • cups of tea/coffee and biscuits after church






Farewell for now, friends, family, animals, soil, garden at the marae, neighbors, Anglican Church, the beach, sleeping on surfing beaches. I bid you all a very fond farewell…

-Lex Draut

Reading Week Spring ’18

It’s reading week here at Dolphin Lodge. I love to read, and so the idea of spending an entire week reading ahead in our school books excites me. We haven’t spent all our time reading, though. There are also assignments to be written, and fun to be had. They told us in the pre-arrival letters to be prepared to re-learn how to “recreate” without technology, but I wasn’t prepared for how much fun it is to spend time together without electronics (except for music, which is always a good thing to have).

Before I jump into reading week, I would like to recap the weekend. CCSP arranges it so that we don’t have assignments over the weekends, which means that a lot of us students are enjoying “real” weekends for the first time in a long time. Landon, Heather, Teri, and I kicked off our Saturday with some surfing on the point. It was Teri and I’s first time surfing, and it was so exciting to be out in the waves with the other surfers pretending we knew what we were doing. We got back from surfing just in time to head to mini golf with the whole crew! I spent a lot of vacation time growing up playing putt-putt, and so it was great to get a chance to play again. Everyone ended up doing quite well, despite a couple balls hitting the nearby shrubs. 😉

My favorite part of the weekend has to be Saturday night, when Lex, Landon, and all of the students were all hanging out in the living room. We did a variety of things, like coloring, journaling, talking, and doing a puzzle. I just can’t get over how much fun it was to relax and be creative all together. We laughed so much that night, and I went to bed full of thankfulness for the opportunity to live in community with such great people, in such a beautiful place.

I have a tendency to go into too much detail, so I won’t recount every detail about Sunday, but my favorite parts of Sunday were leading worship at the Anglican church (a hilarious experience) and reading The Fellowship of the Ring on the window seat upstairs.

On to the actual week, finally! After we had our reading week debriefing on Monday, we all went separate ways to begin reading. We went to the marae garden to work after lunch and had our first Te Reo Maori class after dinner. Tuesday, I went to poetry class with Lex, went with Landon, Jonathan, Teri, Lex and Heather to read on the beach at the point while others surfed, and then we had Te Reo again. On Wednesday, some of us had a Valentine’s Day sunrise picnic before coming back and doing more school work. Then, we celebrated Jonathan and Kat’s Birthdays with burgers, games, headstands, handmade icecream (with homemade hot fudge and candied almonds), and Pavlova! It was so much fun celebrating them and eating good food. On Thursday we spent most of our time doing school work and then had Te Reo again in the evening. Friday was spent preparing (with a brief beach break) for our Te Reo Exam and presentations in the evening.

So, you could say it’s been a good week. One full of learning about the Maori culture and language, fun times, and reading. A week of further bonding as a community and of learning how to balance school time with fun time in this beautiful location. I can honestly say that so far this experience a student with CCSP has been one of the best in my life. Here’s to more growing in our wisdom, our faith, and our friendships.

A Weekend Away

Greetings from Kaikoura, New Zealand! We’ve just gotten back from a long weekend of tramping. (That’s Kiwi for backpacking.) One group went to Lake Angelus and the other group, the one I was a part of, had planned to go to Mount Owen in Kaharungi National Park. When we got to the information center, however, they informed us that the impending weather meant that we should consider changing our plants. We also didn’t rent a four-wheeled vehicle which meant that we would have had to walk an extra eight miles that afternoon in order to get to the trailhead, so that was a no go. Instead, we decided to stay in Nelson National Park and do a tramp there. New Zealand has this awesome network of tramping huts all over the country that only cost $5-$15 a night and they’re right on the trail, so it makes it a bit more accessible to people and certainly made things a bit easier for us. We bought some hut passes, took a picture of the map on the wall because we didn’t want to buy a paper map, and headed on our way. Overall, the trails were gorgeous. We walked through forests covered in ferns, mosses, and mushrooms in many colors. Here’s a picture of what some of the trail looked like:


The change of plans turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however. On our way to our second hut, we met a couple from France who said that they had just stayed at that hut and that there was an amazing waterfall only an hour’s hike from the hut. Once we got to the hut, we warmed up by the fireplace, dried our socks, and decided to go find that waterfall. Despite being pretty tired from a long day’s hike, the thought of a pretty cool waterfall pushed us forward and once we got there, we were certainly glad that we had. Not only was there a waterfall tumbling down and weaving its way between rocks, surround by lush greenery, but directly opposite was the biggest, most impressive valley I had ever seen. We were all speechless. Standing in between that waterfall and the mountains towering ahead of me, I felt small. There aren’t adequate words in the English language to try and describe the experience of being there, but in an effort to, I will say that it was a manifestation of the grandeur of God, played out in His creation. It reminded me just how small I am and just how grand and majestic my God is. It is the kind of experience you impress upon every corner of your brain, hoping it will never leave you. Following are a couple of pictures I took in an attempt to capture this beauty:





Besides the amazing views, the trip proved to be a fun time between friends, both new and old. There were six of us, each with a very important role that was essential to the group. Those six roles were as follows:

  • Honorable Toilet Paper Carrier
  • Master Chef
  • Just and Fair Pathfinder
  • Spunky Conversation Instigator
  • Human Garbage Can
  • Bug Attractant

As you can see, we had all the necessary components of a functioning team and it was a pretty great trip. So, if you ever get the chance to go on a tramping trip in New Zealand with people you just met a week ago, I say do it.


–  post written by Ellie Jasper, CCSP student from Dordt College

Kayaking with Dolphins!

Well everyone came to Kaikoura with this amazing dream of seeing all the sea life. Each of us had the wonderful opportunity to go kayaking. When we went out we went with the hopes of seeing dolphins. We went out over the course of a few days. The first group was Karoline, Matthew, Courtnay and myself. It was amazing. We went out at about 9:30am to Gooches Beach. When we got there it was a little overcast but it was beautiful. I was in a bright blue rain jacket and Karoline was in bright red. We got the yellow kayak which turned out for some pretty fun pictures.


Honestly all we wanted was to be out on the water and taking in all the views of Kaikoura. The first sight we saw was some amazing jelly-fish! They were a spectacular orange and some were blue. We went right through a kelp forest which was so picturesque!


As we continued to paddle out we saw our first dorsal fin! It was a pod of Dusky Dolphins. They were so close it was amazing. When they finally swam away we had squealed and laughed at each one. We started to paddle back in to shore Karoline and I had a little bit of a hard time. We started to paddle and we went well…nowhere. We were not moving. Courtnay and Matthew were having the opposite problem they were motoring to shore. Karoline and I went in a bunch of circles. When we finally got going again we weren’t moving very fast but then we saw another fin! Well the squeals came and we started paddling harder. Fun fact about Karoline, when she gets excited her shoulders go up and her paddle just skims the water and the person in the back, me, takes a little shower! It was amazing! As we raced over the water we saw more and more dolphins! As we got closer we realized the dolphins were all around Court and Matthew. When Karoline and I finally caught up we were surrounded by happy playful dusky’s! I stretched my hand into the water and could feel the waves and the water move as the dolphins swam by. It was by far one of the coolest experiences ever.



During our week of environmental literature with Amy she said to us, “knowing at this moment we are in a memory.” That stuck in the moment with the all of the dolphins jumping around us and the laughs of Karoline and smiles on Courtnay and Matthews faces. This was one of the many blessings from the Lord this semester. Now, the semester is over and we have returned to the states. Being back in Colorado is amazing but I will never forget the memories that were created in the moment with those dolphins and amazing friends.