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Our Campus


Our Environment

Our  local environment is Ōpoutere, a small village and beach on the eastern side of the Coromandel peninsula, 10 minutes north of Whangamatā. The Wharekawa lodge, located on the outskirts of the Ōpoutere Village is nestled between the Ruawāhine mountain and Wharekawa harbour, and minutes away from the Ōpoutere beach. The lodge looks out over the Wharekawa harbour, the beach forest, the spit and the entrance to the sea. There is also a glow worm walk just around the corner from the lodge.  Surrounded by mature native forest and majestic redwood trees, there is a prolific bird song to awaken to at dawn. A colony of kākā or native parrots, with their unique whistles and squawks, have made Ōpoutere their home and are seen flying daily above the lodge or perching in the surrounding trees. The lodge's facilities can cater for 25 students and 5 staff comfortably. 

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Wharekawa Lodge

The Whakapapa of Wharekawa Lodge

1908 - 1953
The site is steeped in local history having served as the grounds for the Wharekawa Native School.  In 1953 the Wharekawa Native School moves location (now Ōpoutere School SH25)  


1953 - 1979
Operated as a holiday camp for youth and community organisations.


1979 - 2017
Classified and operated as a Youth Hostel.


The Ōpoutere YHA closes its doors for the last time following winter closure and low occupancy over a number of years



An Outdoor Adventure Education proposal is presented to the YHA NZ CEO on behalf of Ōpoutere school and Whangamatā area school. The proposal seeks to provide the best possible opportunities to develop the personal and social skills of students through outdoor pursuits, Te Ao Māori and environmental sustainability.

With the formalisation of the Wharekawa Adventure Education Trust (WAET), a joint initiative between Whangamatā Area School and Ōpoutere School, WAET enters into a new lease with the Thames Coromandel District Council who own the historic buildings, to manage the Wharekawa Lodge and to deliver programmes for the benefit of youth.


2019 - 2021
The Wharekawa Lodge is used for holiday and whanau accommodation, class events, school camps, kapa haka noho and day experiences.


Whangamatā Area School’s Tōku Ara is implemented at the Wharekawa lodge for Year 10 students. 


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