Youth Award Grant  Highlights from Lake Waikaremoana

Five students from St. Matthew’s College and recipients of the FMC Youth Award Grant: Duke of Edinborough’s Hillary Award Gold share highlights from tramping the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk — a 46 kilometre track in Te Urewera, the homeland of the Tūhoe people.

Trip highlights shared by Charlotte Summerfield, Rosie Carruthers, Claire McFetridge, Anna Parke and Olivia Cottrill

We’re delighted to share another trip report from recent recipients of FMC’s Youth Award Grant. These grants are awarded four times a year, so if you’re inspired to get some financial support, head over to FMC’s website to apply. 

What was your greatest challenge?

The greatest challenge that we faced was having different walking paces. While we all wanted to stick together as a team, we quickly realised that our group found it hard to stay together, especially during big uphills and downhills, due to injuries. We had to decide that we were better off walking in two separate groups and arranged different spots to stop and check up on each other. -Rosie Carruthers

The greatest challenge by far we had to face on the tramp was on Day Two where we climbed 580 meters high in just under 3 hours from ground level 600m to 1180 meters where our hut was. The views were definitely worth the wait. -Charlotte Summerfield

The greatest challenge that I faced on the Lake Waikaremoana tramp was walking up the Panekire bluff, making me realize my fitness and when walking up the hill, you would have to be very fit and trained to walk up it. -Anna Parke

What was your funniest moment?

The funniest moment was when we finally reached the end of our journey after four long days. Our award leader (who didn’t tramp with us, but just drove us and picked us up) was waiting at the end for us. We were all so tired that we all collapsed on the ground when we saw her, and didn’t realise she had her camera out filming us! -Rosie Carruthers

The funniest part was when out of nowhere one of our team members turns to the side and ‘chucks’ in the bush. Without seeing it, you would have no idea what just happened; she played it off so well. -Olivia Cottrill

So [it was when] Xanthe whipped out her Swiss Army Knife. But, it all began when she was telling us that she had brought a “saw” with her. We all sat there knowing that Xanthe would be the person to bring something random with her, but there were a few concerned looking faces. We just had to see it. So anyway, she pulls out her Swiss Army Knife with the most pathetic little serrated knife thing. However she was fierce in defending the legitimacy of the saw, going on to tell us the most ridiculous story of how her and her family cut down a tree with it. Well, this set us off with all of us clutching our sides purely from laughter … holey moley did she cop a lot of stick for that over the rest of the week, particularly from Mrs. Sherwen, who thought the whole thing was just the funniest. -Claire McFetridge

The funniest moment was when we were in one of our last hut. We found this very cute story that these little kids had written and we decided to write a story it the ‘intentions’ book. The story that we wrote was very random, but we all hope that someone somewhere got some entertainment out of it. -Anna Parke

What was the key lesson you learned?

I worked on my perseverance during this tramp. I never gave up even when I knew it was going to get tough. Having support from my amazing tramping team helped me a lot. Even when times are tough, I now realise that everything will work out in the end and that I have people around me who love me and can support me in a time of need. -Charlotte Summerfield

The greatest life lesson that I had learnt on this trip was actually take the time to explore and notice things. Those were the best parts of the trip and as I endeavour to travel, I think these things are going to be key to me. Kate and myself were the only ones to go to the Korokoro Falls and we spent so much time just taking in the majesty and beauty of it, or watching the sunset just down from Panekeri and just standing there and taking in the scenes at Waikareiti . . . those are the things that I will treasure forever. -Claire McFetridge

Something I think we all can agree on learning is that even when in the cold pouring rain (or hot sweat of the day), having fun [was] always important to [us] keeping going and finding the bright side in everything we did. There is no other group of people that I would have wanted to end the journey of Duke of Ed with and I am so grateful for every single one of our team members. Proud of what we have accomplished. Signing up to Duke of Ed was the best thing I have done during high school, so if you are hesitant, don’t be! -Olivia Cottrill

We’re delighted to share another trip report from recent recipients of FMC’s Youth Award Grant. These grants are awarded four times a year, so if you’re inspired to get some financial support, head over to FMC’s website to apply.