A couple of years ago, a group of people – activists, teachers, students, writers, people working in healthcare, journalism and ecology – got together to revive and reinvent the political summer camp tradition in New Zealand. Inspired by camps held in the 70s, where young people got together to listen, discuss, swim and tramp, the organisers wanted to create a chance for people working towards positive change in Aotearoa to connect with one another, spend time in nature and be inspired.
The first Ōtaki Summer Camp was held at a local high school, and the second camp, earlier this year, moved to a local organic farm. The 2019 camp saw Pania Newton gave a passionate, detailed and ultimately emotional kōrero of the fight to protect Ihumātao, which sparked a group of Wellington campers to form the Pōneke Solidarity Alliance (Ihumātao), shortly after the camp. Ōtaki Summer Camp aims to be a welcoming, accessible and open space for people to learn and be inspired. The assumption that young people are apathetic and don’t care about the world around us is a dusty and dangerous myth. It’s more accurate to say that when we talk we’re being ignored, talked down to, or just saying things that those in power aren’t willing to hear. I attended the camp last year, unsure what to expect, and came away inspired and energised. Everybody had different levels of knowledge and experience, but it didn’t matter – we all cared, we all talked together, and we all found points of connection.
The third annual Ōtaki Summer Camp will be held early next year, from the 17th-20th of January 2020. It’s a chance for young people who care about politics, social issues and the environment to get together, hear from amazing speakers, have discussions, and explore local bush with experienced guides. There’s plenty of opportunities to chill out, make new friends, and learn about what has been and needs to be done to make our communities, country and world a better place for everyone.
There are a number of scholarships available. Anyone is welcome to apply for one, and if you’d like to help others to attend, there’s an option to sponsor a ticket. Transport-wise, there’s a carpool group on Facebook, with people from all around the country. Hope to see you there!
Ōtaki Summer Camp will be held 17th-20th January 2020. Earlybird tickets $95 until 20th December. Register online at otakisummercamp.com. Any questions? firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.