My name is Hannah Aunoa and I’m doing the Gap year programme with Challenge 2000. I have just completed my gap year placement which was located in Hiruharama, Whanganui. Even now I still feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to spend 3 weeks in the Awa. We had the honour of meeting and getting to know the families there as well as learning many different things from everyone, for example, bee feeding. This was my first experience with being that close to that many bees’. It was very nerve racking at first since I didn’t know whether I had an allergy or not, but, once I got into the rhythm of things it was really enjoyable. I will never forget my time there and the many things they have taught me in that beautiful place.
My placement was based in Jerusalem, a small village an hour away from the nearest town Wanganui. I really enjoyed my time up there, what really surprised me was how lay back it was up there. Me thinking about a farm and how much work they had for us no, it was really nice although there was work it was capable for Hannah and me to do. A highlight that really stuck out was the hunting I did with the lads. It was something different but I was always keen to give anything a go and experience as much as I could so I could go back full of stories to tell friends and family. Although the time up there was long every night I texted back to my family how my day was which was calming because I hadn’t been away from home like before and was quite home sick but got there in the end which was great. If I had to take one thing I felt in my placement would be the family feeling I got from the locals and how well they treated us.