Kiwanis International - NZSP Division One (Auckland and Vanuatu)

KI Logo KAMP KIWANIS - Fun for Kids and Helpers Alike
Text by Mike Hill, photographs by Patsy Hill - both Kiwanis Club of Takapuna

Alan Paterson, Kamp Kiwanis Leader for Divisions 1, 3 & 10, says it never rains at Waitawheta during a camp - and it nearly didn't on Queen's Birthday weekend, 1998 when Division 1 held their 5th Kamp Kiwanis. In fact the weather was the most mild we had experienced in the Waitawheta valley near Karangahake between Paeroa and Waihi where we base the camp. Quite a contrast to the 1997 Kamp Kiwanis when it didn't stop raining!
Abseiling during Kamp Kiwanis at Waitawheta Camp. Click on the picture to see a larger version (62 kB)
Waitawheta is a great place for an outdoor adventure like this. Easily accessible from the Auckland area where most of the kids come from. Rich in history with plenty of relics of the gold mining days. A beautiful bush draped river for kayaking and eeling. Tramping in the Kaimai Ranges at the doorstep. Rock faces aplenty to learn abseiling skills. The camp we stay at is an old school complex with ample playing area around it. A good kitchen and almost enough hot water makes it a haven at the end of a winters day on the river or in the bush.
Kids in the ten to thirteen age range who could benefit from a few days of this life are identified to clubs by schools, church groups and other community organizations. Kiwanis Clubs sponsor the kids by paying NZ$90 per child to cover costs. We have managed to hold costs to this level for the past five years by getting more outside sponsors of food and transport as time goes by. We target 32 kids, which falls nicely into four teams of eight, with a ratio of two kids to one adult helper.
Train cab
Chris Laumahina and Kieran Dyack, both of Kaitaia, had a chance to join the engine driver of the Waikino / Waihi steam train while at the 1998 Kamp Kiwanis adventure camp. Click on the picture to see a larger version (54 kB)
Girls in mine
Girls from Kamp Kiwanis inspect a gold mining display in the Waihi museum. Click on the picture to see a larger version (32 kB)
The adults follow a team through all the activities over the four days of the camp. A competitive atmosphere builds up but everybody in each team has won a prize by the end of the camp. Some helpers prefer not to do all the activities and can usefully be employed in the kitchen - or drying wet clothes as an alternative. Games and crafts are undertaken in the evenings where everybody can participate. Finally, when its lights out for the kids and the odd homesick or injured one has been attended to there is still time for a little fellowship - if you haven't fallen asleep beforehand.
There can be great satisfaction in being part of a camp. Helping a kid who has obviously come from a difficult home background unwind a little and enjoy the camp. Drawing out another, initially too terrified to abseil or canoe down the rapids, and being rewarded with a smile of accomplishment at the end of it. Encouraging yet another to develop the skills of a leader. You are always left wondering how they get on afterwards. But at least, having experienced Kamp Kiwanis, they appreciate a little more what life has to offer.
Brooke Kawana, Alisha Kenny, Delyse Tualaulelei and Sarah Ransfield kayaking on the Waitawheta River. Click on the picture to see a larger version (79 kB)

If you have the opportunity, take up the challenge and come along as a Kiwanis helper on one of the Kamp Kiwanis projects.

Kiwanis NZSP Division One home page / NZSP Division Two's Kamp Kiwanis project / New Zealand - South Pacific District home page

Page last updated by (David Fentress) on 26 March, 2017.
Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.