Select Page

Ōtaki Summer Camp is for young people who care about political issues and ideas. It is a chance to hear and discuss interesting ideas, meet and get to know others who care, and explore local mountains, forests and rivers with experienced guides.

This three-day summer camp is open to anyone aged 17 – 30 years old (though if you are a bit outside this age range and would like to come, you are welcome to get in touch with us).

Some assume young people in New Zealand don’t care about politics, yet many youth care deeply about the issues affecting Aotearoa and the world. It is more correct to say young people have felt ignored and left out of politics.

The camp will be welcoming, fun, and safe – we have deliberately kept the price as low as possible. All we ask is that people arrive in time for the Friday night festivities, treat other attendees with respect, and follow our code of conduct.

Political summer camps are not a new idea and have played an important role in New Zealand’s history.

An annual “congress” was held at Curious Cove in the Marlborough Sounds from 1949 until the 1970s. Organised by the New Zealand University Students Association, it “endeavour[ed] to obtain the best speakers in various fields of knowledge and thought.”

In the 1970s, two more influential political youth conferences were held in Ōtaki. In both cases, many of those present went on to play important roles in the life and politics of New Zealand.

Final night at the Curious Cove summer university congress, 1971.. Ref: AW-0231. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/36996568
Summer university congress at Curious Cove, Marlborough Sounds, 1971. Westra, Ans, 1936-: Photographs. Ref: AW-0199. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/37020710
Final night at the Curious Cove summer university congress, 1971.. Ref: AW-0231. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/36996568

Our organisers are volunteers who have been involved personally in issues of justice, free speech and the environment. Their vision is to see Ōtaki Summer Camp become an annual event.

Adrian Leason

Adrian is a teacher and peace campaigner based in sunny Ōtaki where he lives on an organic farm.

Emily Menkes

Emily is a researcher and journalist. She is part of the New Zealand Centre for Investigative Journalism and has worked at media outlets, universities and NGOs across the world.

Kimberley Collins

Kimberley is a science communicator and environmentalist who specialises in using digital communications to raise awareness for Aotearoa’s wildlife and wild places.

Mark Derby

Mark Derby is a writer and historian who has worked for the Waitangi Tribunal, Te Ara, and as South Pacific correspondent for Portugal’s leading newspaper, Journal Expresso.

Nicky Hager

Nicky is the author of a range of books covering politics, intelligence, military and environmental issues.

Wiremu Demchick

Wiremu is a computer programmer with political experience and an interest in civil liberties.

Otaki Summer Camp

hello@otakisummercamp.com

+64 21 049 1436

Find us on Facebook