A Bay of Islands outdoor education centre has won $10,000 in a national competition to continue to provide free camps for students from low decile schools from across New Zealand.

Bay Light offers unique free camps, offering high quality outdoor learning and activities around the Bay of Islands, as a key area of New Zealand for culture and history.

As winner of the Canon Oceania Grants' Small Business category, Bay Light has won $5000 Canon cameras and $5000. The cash prize will enable the business to host two low-decile schools.

The two Canon cameras will be used to capture footage and photography of the camp experiences for marketing purposes.


"The week consists of four or five academic mornings, working through one of our cross-curricula projects such as NZ Places and People, Oceans, NZ Writing," says Rebecca Dow, from Bay Light. "In the afternoon the students take part in outdoor activities like visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, sailing, bush walks, kayaking, mountain biking."

"We are the only small business in the Bay of Islands area providing this experience. We are unique because we offer a rich educational experience that connects young people to the history and heritage of the Bay of Islands. We have a focus on place-based education and project-based curriculum."

Dow was thrilled to receive the prize.

"We are passionate about providing opportunities for New Zealand young people to experience the stunning Bay of Islands and the rich history that exists there,'' she said.

Bay Light started at the end of last year, but all bookings were cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Now, they are aiming to book the two low decile schools for Term 4.

The Russell centre sees itself as more than just a camp. It's a chance for children to understand their place in the world, to achieve and grow their self-belief.

They'll learn about themselves, their country and each other. And that's the beginning of something special – a generation of New Zealanders who operate with self-awareness, assurance and empathy.

Canon Oceania this year revamped its grants programme with a new small business category and increased cash donations in response to the pandemic.


After the public cast more than 5500 votes for this year's finalists, Canon is awarding more than $30,000 worth of grants to projects, across New Zealand and Australia.

For the past 14 years, in the spirit of Canon's guiding philosophy of Kyosei – living and working together for the common good – Canon Oceania has supported more than 80 schools, not-for-profits and community groups with more than $400,000.