Wild NZ: Girls gone wild!

Wild NZ: Girls gone wild!

The next couple of days we learnt a bunch of things you might need to survive in the wild outdoors. Things like how to use a compass and map, how to skin and butcher a sheep, how to sharpen a knife correctly, and my personal favourite: target and clay-bird shooting with rifles and shotguns!

Wildman Father & Daughter Weekend

For several years, Wildman had been running its courses free from the intricacies of the fairer sex. We had men’s programmes, father and son weekends and a week-long ‘Into the Wild’ course for senior high-school boys – we were called wildMAN, after all! Programmes for the female of our kind hadn’t yet crossed our small, primitive brains.

Thankfully, things change – and we finally took note of the increasing requests from mums and dads (and my two daughters!) for a programme catering for fathers and their girls.

In all seriousness, the idea of providing an opportunity for dads and daughters to spend a quality weekend together ranks pretty highly in our eyes. And, without sounding too biased, a weekend with the Wildman crew is quite the experience – perfect for creating memories and strengthening bonds. 

And there’s plenty of good research to be found on the importance of the father/daughter relationship. Although the results may not be what the more PC among us want to hear, the extensive studies on the subject overwhelmingly show that a healthy, loving, daddy ’n’ daughter bond has a profound impact on a girl’s development. It effects things like her self-worth and body image, her academic success, her mental well-being, delays sexual activity, improves her chances of a successful marriage … and much more.

So, armed with all that knowledge it was time for us to set a date and let people know we were all-systems-go! Both my daughters were dead-keen to come along, but my eldest, Maya, got the nod (you can come next time, Liv!) So, in November 2016, we ran our inaugural Wildman Father & Daughter Weekend. But rather than listen to my ramblings, here’s my lovely daughter with her take on it all … 

Kia ora,

My name’s Maya and I’m going to tell you all about the great adventures and challenges of the Wildman Father and Daughter Weekend. But be warned: do not read this if you have no taste for excitement and adventure. Okay, here we go. 

On the afternoon everyone arrived, we all met each other and had introductions about the weekend. My dad (Mike)gave each of the fathers and daughters a Huntech Bivvy (which is a bit like a tent) for them to sleep in. I sat there laughing, watching them try to set up, knowing our tent was up three hours before (I guess that’s a good thing about being early). That night we did an activity which tested how good our survival skills would be if we were stranded on an island. After hearing the right answers, my chances of surviving are slim. But let’s just leave it at that.

The next couple of days we learnt a bunch of things you might need to survive in the wild outdoors. Things like how to use a compass and map, how to skin and butcher a sheep, how to sharpen a knife correctly, and my personal favourite: target and clay-bird shooting with rifles and shotguns! 

Some of you might know what it’s like to have your brothers come back from somewhere saying how great something was – and it makes you want to do it so bad! This is what it’s been like for me, because both of my brothers have been to a Wildman with my dad. So, after hearing how much fun it was, and then finally being able to do it, that was awesome!! 

That night for dinner we ate some deer heart. I know it might sound disgusting, but, honestly, it was pretty good. But then we tried the liver … let’s just say that was a big mistake. The horrid flavour stayed in my mouth for hours!

That afternoon we moved to another camping ground – this time by a river! Pulling out the bivvys, we chose our spots to set up again and then started exploring our surroundings. That fun day was then followed by an even funner night! Getting into groups we had to make a fire – ours turned out the biggest by far! And then afterwards we made some camp-oven bread which was going to be cooked over the fire, so on it went! After a while we saw others taking theirs out – they looked perfect. Then it was time to take out ours. Excitedly, we opened the lid and looked inside. Much to our disappointment, we were looking at big black blob of charcoal! We unwillingly brought it over to the camp fire, where everyone was waiting, and cut it open. Much to our surprise the bread inside was perfect!

On the last day, we packed up and set off for our final adventure – the Wildman Challenge. Getting into groups, the Challenge started off with a fire-lighting task. We had to build a fire and make it big enough to burn through some string. Once it burnt through, we were handed a map, compass, and instruction sheet telling us what our challenges were for the day. Everyone looked at the sheet and saw what we were going to be doing – tree-climbing, rabbit skinning, a first-aid scenario, target shooting, clay bird shooting and pole stomping! The map showed us where everything was, but we had limited time, so off we set. 

We navigated our way to the tree-climb, and trust me, this was not your average tree – it was huge! At first I thought they were joking, but no, so up we climbed. It was so fun yet scary. Next, we headed to the rabbit skinning station. Once there, we started trying to skin one. But because we had bad knives and not enough time, we didn’t even finish one rabbit! We then moved on to the medical situation where we found my dad who was lying there with a ‘broken’ leg. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but we tried our best and didn’t do too bad! 

After fixing Dad’s leg we navigated to the target shooting. We did really well in that, but with not much time left we had to race to the next one, which was my favourite: clay-bird shooting. I think we only missed three clays – which is pretty awesome! Anyway, as soon as we’d finished we ran to our last activity, pole stomping. We came up with a very good tactic, putting dirt in the hole bit-by-bit and stomping it down hard all the time. We wrote our names on the top of our pole, and went back to our base to finish!  

Well, we did it – and we won! At least that’s what it felt like to me – I forgot about all the other teams competing against us! When we got told the final results, well … we didn’t win, but we gave it our best!  And in the end, that’s what it was all about: fathers and daughters spending time together, learning new things you wouldn’t get taught every day, trying our best with new experiences, being wild and having fun.

Until next time.

Mike & Maya Cooney

IF YOU’D LIKE TO JOIN THE WILDMAN CREW FOR A WEEKEND TO REMEMBER – EITHER A FATHER & DAUGHTER (OR SON!) WEEKEND, OR ONE OF THEIR MEN’S PROGRAMMES – 
CHECKOUT WWW.WILDMAN.CO.NZ AND MAKE SURE YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR NEWSLETTER.