The annual Ōtaki Summer Camp is set to take place early next year. It aims to provide an energising and inspiring environment for rangatahi to connect, share ideas and experiences, and be re-empowered from political disenfranchisement.
Held on Te Puawai o te Aroha, an organic farm located an hour north of Wellington, Ōtaki Summer Camp is an annual event which attracts many who are interested in fostering progressive changes towards the future. Next year, it is taking place between the 21st-24th of January in 2022.
The camp has been around for several years and welcomed many guests from around the country to speak on issues such as housing, environment, youth activism, disability rights, human rights, mana motuhake, peace, and communication. Previous guest speakers have included journalist and presenter, John Campbell; Wellington City Councillor, Tamatha Paul; indigenous human rights advocate, Tina Ngata; lawyer and activist, Pania Newton; and journalist and Manus Island refugee, Behrouz Boochani.
What remains consistent about Ōtaki Summer Camp is the manākitanga that the hosts show towards their guests, the colourful and nutritious organic food prepared by a specialist physician, the safe, accessible and open environment that is embedded in the kaupapa of the camp, and the appreciation of nature and local music. Between the talks, campers enjoy walks and tramps in the local bushes and rivers, and finish the day with dessert and local performances, which in the past have included The Eastern and WAI.TAI. Nat, a Creative Technologies student at AUT who attended Ōtaki Summer Camp, says, “it’s a nice place to be for so many reasons”, citing the kai, whenua, live music, and tramps as the highlights. Nat returned for a second year recognising the value of the camp. “It’s a good experience to see the bigger picture and connect with different people and realise what’s properly important before the corporate hamster wheel of the year begins to spin.”
Ben, who at the time was studying Education at UoA, appreciated the kotahitanga that the camp offered to people wanting to make a difference in the world. “When we’re all spread out around the country, it can feel very alienating and hopeless, but by coming together it was really inspiring to know there are heaps of other cool people out there with similar ideals to you”.
Earlybird tickets are on sale for $100 per person (or $130 after 20th December), covering all food and accommodation over the four days. There are scholarships available for those who require financial assistance, or to help others attend, anyone can sponsor a ticket. In the case that COVID-19 prevents participants from attending, tickets will be fully refunded. Register online at otakisummercamp.com.