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.”
- 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.”
- 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.
“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.
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.
Kyle told me about their group’s trip which was all about the surf.
“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…
…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.
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.