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Outdoor adventures with William Pike

A Boys' Weekend

William is a well-known Shore identity, a sought-after motivational speaker and an accessible role model to New Zealand youth. He was one of two young climbers caught in a volcanic eruption on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu in 2007. William is passionate about the outdoors and education and has worked as a primary school teacher on the North Shore. However, an exit from teaching has seen William set up the William Pike Challenge Award which is a popular Intermediate and Middle School outdoor education programme run over one school year. He is a monthly columnist for Channel Magazine.

Mates, the boys, the girls, the crew - whatever you call them, there’s nothing better than a catch up with a group of friends. Although in reality, daily life, the family and work limits the time we spend with them.

And, once we free up a slot to meet, making sure everyone is available is near impossible. This month I’m going to recount a weekend away with the boys, which for me was a real highlight, and was the trigger for starting an annual mass gathering of old and existing mates from high school.

As some stories do, this one starts at the pub in Takapuna on a Sunday afternoon. For weeks, there had been text messages, Facebook invites and phone calls to organise a simple drink at the pub, those of us who left Westlake Boys High School in 2002. The amount of communication backwards and forwards for a large group was extraordinary, but obviously necessary. Going by the communication, it seemed there would be a group of 12 or more. I was looking forward to catching up with some friends who I hadn't seen in months, or in some cases years.
I wandered into the pub, looking for a big noisy group and I only found five or six old friends. It was a start. We spent a few hours catching up and had a ball, recounting antics from the past and of recent. The idea of a weekend away with all the boys in our year group from high school was tossed around the table. The idea stirred much excitement and all were in favour. I walked away from that catch up with a big smile on my face. Gee it was good to spend time with old friends.
The chance of the boys' weekend idea coming to fruition seemed slim. It needed someone to put their hand up and be the organiser. I slept on the idea and the next morning thought, stuff it. I’ll organise it. So I began the process of casting the invitation far and wide to those who left high school in 2002. Facebook was excellent for this, and I soon had a group of around 30 blokes. After narrowing down a date and collecting deposits, the number shrank to a decent sized group of 20. All of a sudden, there was excitement in the air and banter all over social media. Boys were travelling from all corners of the country to be at the Boys' Weekend.
On a Friday afternoon, the majority met in the Westlake Boys High School car park. Most arrived with their close friends, to find old friends that they hadn't seen for 10 years or more - so cool. That’s when the fun began. From there we car pooled up north to a bach I’d booked and we got stuck in.
So there we were, sitting around an outdoor fire until the wee hours of the morning reminiscing the good times we had at school, and catching up on the last decade.
The funny thing was, we could have left high school yesterday. Everyone looked the same (so we told ourselves), had the same character and we all got on like a house on fire.
Over the weekend, groups did as they pleased. Spearfishing, surfing, walks or relaxing at the bach.
Come Sunday, there were a few with headaches and tired bodies, but everyone seemed to have had a blast. The weekend was a real hit, and we’ve locked in the same weekend for 2015.
Aside from shenanigans, the weekend was an opportunity to network, reconnect with old friends and have a good time.
Time away from families, wives and girlfriends was a healthy break for the lads. There was a chance to enjoy activities together (surfing etc.) and recount some of the best days of our lives as youngsters.
So go on, get your friends together at your local and start the ball rolling for a fun filled weekend away!

by William Pike