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Tihoi Venture School (St Paul’s Collegiate School), Mangakino, New Zealand


A unique life-changing experience of self-discovery

Tihoi Venture School is New Zealand’s only 18-week back-to-basics outdoor pursuits programme designed specifically for Year 10 boys. The venture school’s philosophy is based on character development through adventure. At Tihoi, Year 10 boys of St Paul’s Collegiate School develop into young men who are independent, responsible and contributing members of society.

The second campus of St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton, is located on the western side of Lake Taupo, nestled on the edge of the Pureora Forest. It is here, where Year 10 boys of St Paul’s:

  • become independent, responsible and contributing members of society
  • develop self-esteem and personal motivation
  • learn to meet challenges and work with others to achieve goals
  • acquire the motivation and desire to extend their limits to achieve personal bests
  • live with others and learn to tolerate different personalities
  • gain improved fitness
  • learn to appreciate the outdoors
  • start life-long friendships with boys who are going through the same unique life-changing experience.

What do students experience during their 18-weeks at tihoi?

For two terms of the academic year, Year 10 boys are stripped of modern technology such as television and mobile phones and placed into communal living with seven age-mates, regular schooling and outdoor experiences.

Here they learn to live and work together, taking responsibility for their own house-keeping, preparing their own meals on wood-burning stoves and meeting a range of personal and social challenges. Each week they spend three days in the outdoors and four days in the classroom where they participate in a rigorous academic programme in all mainstream subjects.

Outdoor pursuits include kayaking, sailing, rock climbing, mountain craft, sea kayaking, caving, bush survival, tramping, mountain biking, canoeing, abseiling and the high ropes challenge course. (Tihoi staff have extensive training in supervising outdoor pursuit programmes and first aid). 

More information on these courses while spending a period at St Paul’s Collegiate School through StudyNewZealand EU <- click for e-mail

Or check out the St Pauls Collegiate School page on our web site.

Facilities at the Tihoi Venture School

Tihoi Venture School is made up of nine student houses (each accommodating eight students), a dining hall, classrooms and staff accommodation. An indoor climbing wall, outdoor rock wall and high ropes challenge course are also available on-site.

Adjacent to Tihoi is the Pureora forest, where students enjoy outdoor events including tramping, mountain biking, bush craft and survival activities. Lake Taupo is only 30km away and local rivers and the mountains of the Central North Island National Park are also in close proximity.

Tihoi Outdoor Leadership Academy (TOLA)

The Tihoi Outdoor Leadership Academy (TOLA) was created to provide Year 13 students with an opportunity to develop their academic and leadership skills in an intensive outdoor experience while living in a flatting environment. TOLA is a year-long programme operating from St Paul’s Collegiate School’s outdoor education campus, Tihoi Venture School, on the Western bays of Lake Taupo. This facility also provides six-month residential programmes for Year 10, a programme which has been operational for more than 30 years.

TOLA is a unique programme offering secondary based qualifications alongside a recognised outdoor industry certification. The programme caters for a minimum of eight male students with two dedicated staff providing a small group environment where experiential learning is realised.

Students live and work on-site through fortnightly rotations incorporating a range of outdoor pursuits, academic classes, leadership development initiatives and implementation of a personal fitness regime. While on-site students live in a five-bedroom fully furnished house in a flatting type arrangement. All day-to-day requirements of running a household are the students responsibility, including cooking, cleaning, shopping and budgeting; with guidance on hand to facilitate student social and personal development. Each student is expected to plan, shop and cook for one day per rotation. Time is allocated for students to shop in Taupo for food and supplies, students may also utilise this time to see movies, play sport and attend a gym or other activities.

School Boarding Fees for Year 10 only - Tihoi year (2022 prices)

NZ$   62,710 Tuition fee including boarding and Tihoi course fee