Rural Campus

There’s nothing like a few nights spent outdoors to teach kids how to reach for the stars. That’s the thinking behind our rural campus. And it works.

About Rural Campus

It’s amazing what a boy can learn by spending time in a rural environment. Self-sufficiency. Resilience. Independence. Initiative. And that’s just for starters. That’s the philosophy behind our rural campus in Mangatawhiri, aptly named ‘Te Haerenga’ (The Journey).

Located at the site of the former Hotel Du Vin at the base the Hunua Ranges, Dilworth purchased the property in 2009 to make the most of the natural, rural environment and enhance the learning of our Year 9 boys.

Based on our belief that boys learn best by doing, students spend a year participating in an extensive curriculum across three equally important strands: academic, outdoors, and spiritual and social life.
As well as the usual subjects, they’re actively involved in outdoor education, such as kayaking, caving, climbing and camping.

Here, the boys learn to really step up. They live in cabins of ten, and they’re in charge of those cabins: organising breakfast, chopping firewood, cleaning and gardening. If they want ‘luxuries’ such as a toaster, a sofa or even butter for their toast, they have to work together to earn the school’s currency, ‘ruros’.

Throughout this life-changing year, the students learn skills and qualities they didn’t know they had: how to interact with others, how to become independent learners and how to use their initiative. They also learn about hard work, perseverance and discipline. If they work hard, they’re rewarded. If they play up, they lose privileges.

Not only that, they learn how to give back. A big part of the journey at Te Haerenga is doing something that helps the local community: be it helping out at a local school or fundraising for a charity.

Simply put, our boys learn without realising they’re learning. By the end of the year, they’ve gained problem-solving, team-building skills that set them up for a lifetime of achievement.

“I was a ‘troubled kid’. Now I take every opportunity I can get.”
– Year 9 student


Te Haerenga means ‘The Journey’. And it really is a journey.

No other school offers anything quite like Te Haerenga. Students undertake a year-long, learning journey in all aspects of their campus life; academic, outdoors, social and spiritual. The journey parallels that of a waka journey, with three distinct phases.

The first phase, manning the waka focuses on understanding their place and their role and is closely guided by the Te Haerenga staff. Casting off involves leaving the shore but remaining in safe waters. Students at this stage will be encouraged to take calculated risks and to cope with making mistakes. Finally, in exploring new horizons, the boys are encouraged to explore new horizons, to spread their wings, all the while reflecting on where they have been and on those who have taken the journey with them.


Whakatauki o Te Haerenga (philosophy of The Journey).

Kua eke i runga i te waka kotahi. Kia mahara tatou kei hoe whakatuara.  Kia tika ano te tikanga o te hoe ki to te hunga o te ihu. Kei huri te hunga o te kei ki te hoe whakamuri.

Now that we have all embarked on one canoe, let us be careful that we do not pull backwards. Let us all pull in the same direction as those who sit in the bows; do not let the people in the stern paddle in the opposite direction.