By Freya Vansverry, Aotea College Tararua Trip

January 2023

Our experience with Duke of Edinburgh and the Qualifying tramp has certainly been an interesting one. Our first attempt at this tramp was to Roaring Stag, which sadly came to a close when we encountered a flood on the track. We had bush bashed around the flood for about 20 minutes; but by the time we reached the other side, we were knackered and cold. Eventually because of the flood, horrible weather conditions and one of our fellow trampers having asthma problems, we were unable to complete this tramp and decided as a team to turn back.

For our second attempt, we decided to change huts and head to Atiwhakatu. It was much smoother sailing and we did this tramp with almost no problems, although there were a few slips and part of the boardwalk had collapsed. In the end, however, we made it safely to Atiwhakatu. We spent our time collecting firewood from in the bush, sitting by and in the river making rock pools and eating food out in the sun.



To help us remember our journey, we came up with the idea to make an iMovie out of our experiences at Atiwhakatu. We took photos and videos of all the things that we did and edited it together so we would always have this memory of our tramp to look back on.



I’m proud to say that we worked amazingly as a team of four; and as our chosen ‘team leader,’ I believe that we all worked well in caring for each other and pulling our weight. Some of the group members weren’t as active or experienced as others, so we made regular check ups to make sure everyone felt okay. We took breaks along the way to regroup, eat and drink. My sister had brought some lollipops, which honestly were a life saver.



The money from the FMC/Maerewhenua Trust was great. We managed to spend most of that money on some freeze dried food, which was light and delicious (even though it didn’t look it), as well as paying for hut fees and gas costs.

Overall, I think we worked well as a team and learnt so much from this experience. We had to overcome challenges along the way – from a small slip or broken path to having to cancel a whole trip halfway through because it wasn’t safe for us to continue. I personally learnt how to be more patient with people who may not be as organized as I am. This experience has taught me a lot and I’m thankful to FMC for helping us make this experience one to remember.


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.