Eight pupils from Lawrence Area School got the chance to test their own wilderness skills after winning a nationwide video competition called Student vs Wild.
The group's prize was a five day adventure at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuit Centre near the Tongariro National Park in the central North Island.
The Genesis Energy run competition had the year 10, 11 and 12 students produce a four minute video showing how they would survive ''in the wild'' for a week within their school grounds, it was then loaded onto YouTube where the public had a month to vote for their favourite short-film.
The group, made up of Autumn Forbes, Eden Wilson, Eloise McLaughlin, Leaha Dickey, Taimoana Haig, Holly Shaw, Olivia McCorkindale and Josh Wyber, were up against schools from throughout New Zealand and had to rally their fellow students and the Lawrence community to vote for them.
At the close of the voting period, the number of votes each school received was divided by the school's roll, and Lawrence Area School, with its 130 students, was named the winner.
At the end of last year, the students along with two teachers, flew up to OPC where they spent five days in the outdoors which included caving, rock climbing, white water rafting on tubes, tramping and high ropes.
Most named rafting as their favourite activity, particularly when nearly all of them fell out (including the teachers) while negotiating the rapids.
One of the group's members Holly Shaw said the trip saw them bond as a group.
''We proved to ourselves we can do stuff like that.''
One of the teachers who accompanied them, Anna Hyslop, said they did a lot of learning over the five days which could now be applied at school and during every day life, particularly leadership, team and negotiation skills.
One of the centre's mottos was SPOTS, standing for self, place, others, thinking and skills, which formed the platform for the student's learning over the week, she said.
Examples included working out how to get a group of people across a swamp using three planks and how to create a raft out of tyre tubes and ropes.
The trip to the centre was worth about $7000 and the group raised another $3000 to pay for their travelling costs.
None of them had been to the Tongariro National Park before, but agreed it was a fantastic experience and recommended it to other schools.
- Clutha Leader