New Zealand

Leadership and Backcountry Expeditionary Skills

Develop your leadership skills and better understand how humans interact with the environment while backpacking, kayaking, and caving through national parks famed for their natural beauty.
Harkness Travel - New Zealand
Harkness Travel - New Zealand

Environmental stewardship is a term used more and more often, but what lens are we observing/practicing through? On this expedition with ExpedNZ, explore some of the most beautiful national parks by foot and paddle as we backpack and kayak in Te Tauihu (the Top of the South Island, New Zealand) to build leadership skills and competencies, while broadening perspectives and understanding of te taiao (the environment) from both a Western and indigenous lens.

The program will strengthen the understanding of what it is to be a leader, providing genuine opportunity for students to lead and build a strong and positive team culture through a range of adventurous settings, shared challenges, experiences and within approaches to environmental sustainability in Aotearoa, New Zealand, while exploring both Western and indigenous Māori perspectives. Students will take part in authentic environmental and cultural immersion experiences that create a platform for transformational learning while exploring wilderness locations. Experiences and learnings will be woven into set reflection times and discussions during and on completion of the program.


Harkness Travel - New Zealand
Harkness Travel - New Zealand

While part of the program will be spent at ExpedNZ’s base, expect the majority of your nights to be spent in tents. In addition, students will be responsible for setting up their campsites, caring for their own equipment, and participating in meal preparation.

No previous backpacking or camping skills are necessary; all instruction will be provided in the field by ExpedNZ instructors offering their approach to outdoor adventure and experiential learning.


Sign-Up Instructions

Participation for all Lawrenceville Harkness Travel Programs is dependent upon a review of student applications, Head of House/Advisor recommendations, medical clearance for participation, and financial and disciplinary standing. Seniority and gender balance is also considered in the selection process.
Application to this program is not considered complete until both of the following items have been submitted:
Head of House / Day Advisor Recommendation must be completed and submitted to Tara Gonzalez by Monday, October 30, 2023.
Application Survey must be completed by Monday, October 30, 2023.


March 1 - 14, 2024



Includes all ground transportation, flights, meals, accommodations, and any required non-routine vaccines. Families will receive a list of all MANDATORY vaccines. All travelers must be up-to-date on routine vaccines; if routine vaccines are administered on campus, families will be charged. If the participant has received any of the mandatory vaccines, documentation must be provided to the Health and Wellness Center no later than December 15, 2023.

Target Student Population

This program will be open to III and IV Form students only; there are no class requirements.

Program Leaders

Hollister Olson
Math Teacher
Christopher Whalen
English Teacher
Kim McMenamin
History Teacher

Pre-Trip Work

Prior to our trip, we will have 3–5 mandatory meetings for all students traveling with this program. [dates TBA]

Student Expectations

This trip will be challenging. The flight is roughly 17 hours, the time difference is +12 hours, we will be consistently pushed outside our comfort zones. Arrive with an open mind.

Passports MUST be valid through October 15, 2024; if the passport will expire before that date students should apply for a replacement as soon as possible.

Location Info