Outward Bound makes Covid-19 comeback with help from public

They've been in crisis mode, but now one of New Zealand's largest outdoor adventure institutions has made a Covid comeback.

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Thanks to the generosity of Kiwis, Outward Bound’s plea for help has been answered. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS reported on Outward Bound's plea for emergency funding in April, after its forced closure put its future at risk.

Two of NZ's largest outdoor adventure institutions hit hard by Covid-19

But thanks to the generosity of Kiwis, students have returned to Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds for the first time.

School director Simon Graney says the response from the public was “amazing”.

Around $460,000 was raised and Mr Graney says without that “we would have had to shut the doors, we would have had to lose all of the valuable institutional knowledge that we have with the team here”.

It's been four months since Outward Bound shut its doors due to Covid-19 restrictions. That’s the longest the school’s been closed since it started up in 1962.

During that time, staff waited it out in Anakiwa.

Chef Marcel Rood tells 1 NEWS he really missed the students.

“You know, it was a bit of an empty feeling in my life,” he says.

Outward Bound student Joanne Hobern says she made the decision to sign up for the first intake only one week ago.

Working as a freelance artist, she says she’s been reconsidering what success looks like, “and also the Covid 'what's going on?' What does life look like?”

It seems many are asking that same question, with waitlists for all of the courses through to the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Hillary Outdoors, the charitable trust that runs popular outdoor programmes and events is still in business. Its 15th annual ‘Get2Go’ regional series started up this month.

But trust chair Mark Copeland tells 1 NEWS that, “unfortunately we have lost many valued team members to redundancy in the Trust working to ensure our survival”.

It's doing its best to bounce back and move forward.