Aiming high and dreaming big are things Jonas Tamihana knows how to do.
The Wairarapa College head boy, 17, recently embarked on a testing three-week Outward Bound adventure thanks to a scholarship from Wairarapa Building Society and sponsorship from Greytown Property Brokers.
The trip, which aims to put students outside their comfort zone and encourage confidence, included overnight tramps, sailing, kayaking and a two-night solo camp out in the bush -- experiences Jonas said have taught him a lot.
"You learn so much about yourself -- I didn't think I could do lots of things by myself but it helps to prepare you for the real world and set goals and push yourself -- and realise you've got so much potential in yourself."
As head boy and a first XV rugby player, who plans on studying to be a physio, Jonas said he is not afraid to push himself.
"I like to dream big and I like goal setting -- I like to work hard."
His mum had spotted the advertisement for the scholarship and encouraged him to apply, and the teen, who said he enjoys meeting new people, thought he might as well give it a go.
"It's hard, but in the long term it's going to help me out -- at the start they said 'what you put in is what you are going to get out'."
While the experience was exhausting, something about challenging yourself was addictive, Jonas said.
"Once you start doing stuff like this you want to do it more -- it's pretty cool.
"Anyone should give it a go -- it's not just for the sporty or really fit it's for anyone who is willing to put themselves out there and wants to get more out of life."
One of the many highlights had been forming new friendships with his group or "watch" of about 10 young people, who became very close over the intensive course, he said.
"Meeting people who are complete strangers and getting to know them through the three weeks was really cool."
Jonas said he enjoyed the experience so much he hopes to take on the Spirit of Adventure, a tall ship experience, in the near future.