Tihoi Venture School
Introduction to Tihoi Venture School with comments from Celia Lashlie
Tihoi Venture School
Growth through Challenge and Adventure
"In this unique and challenging environment, through the medium of community living, a quality academic programme and wide ranging outdoor pursuits we aim to provide the best possible opportunities to promote the personal and social development of our students."
“There is a moment in our lives when the passage from child to adult hangs in the balance, when the fancies of innocence are eclipsed by the growing awareness of youth. Other cultures in other times recognise this moment, capture it with ceremony, make it special. It is a moment of great delicacy, when character can be moulded, truth explored and when potential makes itself known. Tihoi Venture School exists for such a moment.” – Ray Hollingsworth
Tihoi - A unique life-changing experience of self-discovery.
Tihoi Venture School is St Paul’s second campus, based on the western side of Lake Taupo and nestled on the edge of the Pureora Forest. The Venture School is based on the philosophy of ‘character development through adventure’ developed by educationist Kurt Hahn
The principal Tihoi experience for most St Paul’s boys is an 18-week residential course during Year 10. For two terms of their academic year, these students live in houses accommodating eight per house. Here they learn to live and work together with their fellow house members, taking responsibility for their own house-keeping, preparing their own meals on wood-burning stoves and meeting a range of personal and social challenges.
Through the Tihoi experience, St Paul’s is committed to:
- Accelerating the social development of its students
- Building qualities of self-esteem and personal motivation
- Developing the ability to meet challenges and work with others to achieve common goals
- Removing the instruments of modern living such as mobile phones and social networking
- Providing an environment where action meets consequence
- Encouraging improved individual fitness
- Challenging individuals to extend their limits and achieve personal and shared goals in a positive, stimulating, safe and supportive environment.
Each week the boys spend four days in the classroom and three days in the outdoors. Outdoor pursuits include kayaking, sailing, rock climbing, mountain craft, sea kayaking, caving, bush survival, tramping, abseiling and the High Ropes Challenge Course. The Tihoi staff members are trained teachers who have extensive additional training in supervising outdoor pursuits programmes and first aid.
The boys learn from the environment they live in. The focus at Tihoi is on outdoor experiences but the students continue to participate in an academic programme in all mainstream subjects. Both the outdoors and the academic programmes are underpinned by a clearly articulated and modelled virtues and values programme.
While St Paul’s Year 10 students are the most common Tihoi residents, the campus is home to the Tihoi Outdoor Leadership Academy (TOLA) – a programme aimed to provide Year 13 students with an opportunity to develop their academic and leadership skills in an intensive outdoor residential experience while living in a ‘flatting’ environment. The Academy is a year-long programme operating from the Tihoi campus and is unique in its ability to offer secondary-based qualifications alongside recognised outdoor industry certification. The Academy caters for a minimum of eight students, with two dedicated staff providing a small-group environment where experiential learning is emphasised.
The Venture School is used by St Paul’s for a variety of other student groups and purposes such as outdoor education courses and some curriculum work. The campus is also used as a base for leadership training and students participating in the Duke of Edinburgh programme. Girls attend a camp at the beginning of each Year to welcome the Year 11 girls and girls new to the School. This provides an opportunity for students to establish relationships within their peer group and across their three year groups. Whatever the purpose of the visit, Tihoi always provides extra challenges and inspiration.
Tihoi Venture School, based on the Australian Timbertop model, is unique in the New Zealand education environment and is the “jewel in the crown” of the St Paul’s Collegiate School experience.
Established in 1979, Tihoi Venture School has been the home to about 3,000 Year 10 boys to date. These boys spend 18 weeks at the Tihoi Venture School campus as part of their Year 10 St Paul's Collegiate School education, combining academic education alongside outdoor pursuits activities to provide a "best for boys" learning environment.
"At Tihoi Venture School students learn to appreciate the greatness of New Zealand's outdoors. They learn to live with their peers, but most of all they learn to live with themselves."
The Tihoi Philosophy
Adolescent boys learn largely through action and consequence. The opportunity for boys, at this stage of their life, to be learning in and from the environment they live in, stripped of all the elements of modern society such as television and mobile phones helps them come face-to-face with who they are and what they are capable of.
The outdoor pursuits element of the Year 10 St Paul's Collegiate Tihoi Venture School education programme takes boys out of their comfort zone and, along with the communal living, regular schooling and outdoor experiences, the young men develop into independent, responsible and contributing members of society.
The academic learning programme of Tihoi embraces this philosophy and maximises use of the campus and the environment it is located in as a learning tool in itself.
The Tihoi experience is rugged up in an education programme embracing the Christian values and virtues of the St Paul's Collegiate School, Anglican ethos.
Tihoi Venture School has been awarded:
- Best New Zealand Outdoor Programme 2003
- Gained 'OutdoorsMark' 2004
- Best New Zealand Outdoor Facility 2007