For those of us who come to AUT Millennium every day or every week, it’s easy to become complacent about the uniqueness of the facility. But for children from Ruawai Primary School in Northland, their recent “Camp AUT Millennium” experience was something they’ll never forget.

Ruawai Primary School has a longstanding relationship with AUT Millennium, having held a biennial camp here since 2005. “We have some students who have never been to Auckland,” explains Adele Slatter, teacher at Ruawai School. “This is a great opportunity for our tamariki to step outside their comfort zone in a safe environment.”

For five days, the group of 28 Year 5 and 6 students were fully immersed in the Camp AUT Millennium experience. Staying in the on-site accommodation, the group jumped head-first into team building activities, sports and leisure activities and a few off-site excursions. Parents and teachers were on hand to supervise, while the AUT Millennium Schools Programme instructors lead the children through the activities.

Students had the chance to get involved in Flippa Ball, rock climbing, athletics, kayaking and water safety education. “Some of our students don’t have the opportunity to take part in these types of activities,” says Adele. “We do have a pool at our school, though, and we saw lots of schools coming in to have swimming lessons at AUT Millennium. It was a nice reminder to our students that we are lucky to have a school pool.” Particular highlights for the students were the challenge of the rockwall and the novelty of the deep pools, as well as trips to Auckland Zoo, Rangitoto Island and tenpin bowling.

Ruawai Primary School students enjoying the Education Outside the Classroom activities.
Ruawai Primary School students enjoying the Education Outside the Classroom activities.

The camp forms an important part of the senior school experience at Ruawai. “Camps enable students to grow in an environment away from their whanau,” Adele says. “They’re a great team building opportunity and we see that back in class, when students seem to work together a lot better.” During the camp, the group was split into ‘tribes’ for events and competitions, which all harked back to school values. “The students, teachers and parents all got to know each other a lot better,” Adele tells. “Things like co-operating and leadership skills reflect our values, and it gave a great opportunity for the students to develop them.”

As well as getting in the pool and running around the track, the students were eager to be in the high performance environment at AUT Millennium. “Every camp, there’s always a lot of excitement and anticipation about which famous athletes they might see,” Adele shares. “Being a country school, it’s important for our students to see what opportunities there are for them. I hope they took away an understanding of what athletes have to do to get to the top of their field.”

The School is already booked in for their 2021 camp and are hoping to continue Camp AUT Millennium for a long time to come. “Past students always talk about their time at this camp, and students often say it is a highlight of their time at Ruawai Primary School,” Adele says. “I always get a buzz coming back, and our tamariki come away with life-long memories.”

Find out more about Ruawai Primary School at

For more information on the AUT Millennium Schools Programme, visit