Venue & Facilities
Our History - Where we've been...
For more than 10 years Dance Camp Aotearoa was at a Girl Guides centre in the Hawke’s Bay. The site held us well in a peaceful and attractive spot on the banks of a safely flowing river. However in recent years, it became increasingly confining to the development of camp, in particular to our offerings for teens and enough space for family camping. Our move was finally forced upon us by the site suffering the raveges of two record-high floods in as many months, so we are unable to return there. Thankfully the TAUHARA CENTRE in Taupo generously opened their arms to hold us for 2019 and 2020, while the search continued for a new permanent home..
Our Present –
After countless years of exhaustive searches and many exciting leads, we now have a new home – Tihoi Venture School!
The whenua comes under the guardianship of Waihaha marae, located in Waihaha Bay, on the Western Bay Road (SH32). The primary hapū is Ngāti Tarakaiahi of the iwi Ngāti Tūwharetoa.
Tihoi is made up of nine houses (three bedrooms with 2-3 beds per room) in parklike grounds with lots of space for camping. It also has a huge dinning hall, wood-fired pizza oven, a stream and swimming hole, toilet/shower block, classrooms, a library, a high-ropes course, an outdoor Chapel and Teen’s Barn. With loads of room (including a rugby field), it will support Dance Camp well into the future.
A Potted History of Tihoi
The Venture School was established in 1979 when St. Paul’s Collegiate, an Anglican Boys school in Hamilton, purchased the disused Tihoi Timber Mill and village. It is used as a base for it’s Year 10 outdoor adventure programme. The mill worker’s houses were the first student accomodation and the Mill Club Room was the original dinning room. Over the decades classrooms, a main kitchen, and an ablution facility were added. All of the original cottages have been gradually replaced with purpose built houses but the “old charm” is retained by each house featuring a wood-burning stove in it’s kitchen.
The site was chosen because of its perfect location and surroundings which enables students to experience rock climbing, tramping and other outdoor acivities. The close proximity of Lake Taupo was another reason for choosing the site with the lake’s pristine waters ideal for sailing and kayaking.
Although rebuilt, the new houses retain much of the austere nature of the old houses; boys still cook on wood burning stoves and only have the bare essentials with minimal furniture and no refrigeration. In 2008, an extensive landscaping and reforestation programme of the immediate Tihoi environment commenced and in 2009 the construction of a high ropes challenge course was completed and opened as an addition to the outdoor activities.
Our Future – a vision…
Dance Camp Aotearoa is a key introduction to the Dances of Universal Peace in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially for young families and teens. We envision a growing community of families and youth over the coming years. With room to spread out, we can have a dedicated Teen Dance space and a festival atmosphere while retaining the warm heart-centred connection that attracts us all. We welcome your visions and energy as we develop a connection to this land and deepen as a community that embodies Samual Lewis’ vision of peace, harmony and beauty.