The Haast River, just down from Haast Pass

Finishing School for VIP Ladies

Finishing School for VIP Ladies

Yet all that we learned in class paled in comparison to the extracurricular activities, which included everything from horseback riding to a 300-foot waterfall, where we went abseiling (for the uninitiated, attaching yourself to both a guide and a rope and rappelling down the side of a mountain) to sky-diving from 12,000 feet, to zipping in a helicopter from the beaches of Queenstown to its snowy peaks. Every last one of these was arranged by a debonair Brit named Jean-Michel Jefferson, a well-established provider of VIP tours. The resorts we stayed in during those adventures – places such as Treetops Lodge in Rotorua and Eagles Nest in the Bay of Islands – were gloriously indulgent.

We had a group of 6 VIP ladies and 6 international journalists and turned on an experience-based visit to several parts of the country.  Main points were:

  • Seamless integration with a learning programme where our activities precisely complemented course content
  • Provision of transportation, security and logistics management together with an experienced team of three special forces operatives
  • Helicopters, jetboats, horse riding, abseiling, mountain biking, self defence training

We also spent one memorable week-end where we visited a spiritual marae (our marae, Roma Marae up at Ahipara) and heard first hand from a serial offender with a 30-year CV of serious crimes how re-connection with base Maori values had allowed him and 27 others to find themselves and attempt to start a new life.  This was together with an introduction to Maori culture, spirituality, and celestial navigation.  A little different, that one!

Tags: queenstown bay of islands rotorua horseriding jetboat helicopter treetops eagles nest