The Kahunui difference

Kahunui — meaning ‘big hawk’ in Māori — is a unique and transformative experience that empowers our Year 10 girls by advancing their levels of social physical, emotional and intellectual fitness.

This powerful rite of passage is unique to St Cuthbert’s and comes at the most formative stage of a girl’s school life.

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.

Kahunui is designed to teach our girls the values of team-work, resilience, interpersonal skills and communication so that they can confidently face life’s challenges.

What is Kahunui?

Run by a dedicated team of academic/outdoor instructors ground staff, Kahunui welcomes groups of approximately 24 Year 10 students in a number of intakes across the course of the year.

Groups of eight students live in and manage their own house, supported by house tutors. This involves cleaning, laundry, menu planning, budgeting and cooking. Living together builds an awareness of the need to be considerate and respectful of everyone, which means that every girl learns to rely on others, to complement one another’s strengths, and develop resilience and understanding of new world-views.

For those who have experienced Kahunui, the long-lasting memories are of personal achievements, newly formed friendships, and a love for Aotearoa.

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.