The Kahunui difference

Kahunui will be one of your daughter’s most life-defining experiences.

This powerful rite of passage is unique to St Cuthbert’s and comes at the most formative stage of a girl’s school life – Year 10.  She is no longer a child, but has not yet fully reached adulthood and will often be experiencing emotional, social and physical growing pains. Both students and parents agree, this is the perfect time for the amazing Kahunui experience.

Parents tell us they welcome Kahunui as a ‘circuit-breaker’. Girls are completely unplugged from all devices for a month enabling them to be more present, often discovering new joy in their surroundings, themselves and others.

Being ‘off the e-grid’ for a month, they learn to develop more meaningful connections with others, be more inclusive and open themselves to outdoor adventure and learning.

Kahunui remains a key pillar in St Cuthbert’s philosophy of developing the whole girl. It is one of the  most valuable experiences she will have in her school years and the lessons she learns stay with her for life.

What is Kahunui?

Built on the philosophy of education by enquiry, the Kahunui Programme is a month-long residential experience.  Run by a dedicated team of eight academic/outdoor instructors and three ground staff, Kahunui welcomes groups of approximately 24 girls in a number of intakes throughout the year.

Kahunui immerses the girls into a very different learning environment. They are encouraged to question more, challenge more, and enquire further – to think deeply about the world they live in and delve into problems to develop creative and innovative solutions.

“I’ve learnt greater empathy and understanding. Kahunui has opened my eyes to how different people cope in different situations and how to better understand each other’s reactions.”  

Groups of eight students live in and manage their own house, supported by house tutors. This means cleaning, laundry, menu planning, budgeting and cooking – all with real world consequences. Just as in real life, if they save power, they have more money for groceries.

In the words of programme director, Peter Evans “we front-load a lot of tolerance and acceptance, and believe that dealing with conflict, if it arises, gives the girls a valuable insight into their own abilities and capabilities”.

Girls make the most of their stunning surroundings with tramping, kayaking, fishing and the learning of basic survival skills.  The pinnacle of their experience is a “solo” where girls set up their own individual camp and spend time by themselves to reflect on and celebrate their achievements at Kahunui.

There is also a strong focus on protecting and preserving Kahunui for future students by contributing to our many sustainability projects which include pest control, produce gardens and enhancing the habitats of native species.

Subject learning continues while students are at Kahunui but with practical applications. Maths is covered in budgeting, English through creative writing journal entries, and the Footprint sustainability project combines Maths, Social Sciences, Science and English.

Preparing for Kahunui

We understand this is a thrilling and sometimes challenging time for our girls, so preparation begins well before their departure. A great deal of thought goes into the placement of each girl to ensure she has the most enjoyable experience. If we believe she needs extra support or preparation, our wellbeing faculty will work with closely with family and child to help equip her for the journey.

No girl returns from Kahunui the same. Parents tell us that being ‘off the grid’ gives their daughters a rare opportunity to develop meaningful perspectives without distraction.  She returns with a greater sense of herself and others, and a deepened appreciation for family and home.

Download Kahunui PDF