It was 6.30 in the morning and Rangitikei College student Te Rere Waiora Rakatairi-Jetson was sound asleep.

Suddenly, she was woken by the piercing shrill of bagpipes played by a crew member aboard the Spirit of New Zealand ship.

The 14-year-old got out of bed, changed into her togs and hurled herself overboard.

This, every day, for all five days of her experience on the Spirit of Adventure voyage with nine of her Year 10 classmates.

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"Waking up at 6.30 was the hardest part and the water was freezing," Te Rere said.

"When I first heard about it, I was angry, I thought they were having us on."

The Marton-based students took part in the voyage thanks to some great fundraising efforts, especially from former attendee Sophie Ward.

The five-day Spirit Trophy voyage runs six to nine times a year, it is for 12-15-year-olds and it challenges them to work as a team.

"I was mainly scared when I first heard about it, because I didn't know what it was, but when I did more research I became excited and I was keen to go," Te Rere said.

"On the way there we were all hyping it up and I didn't know what the ship would look like. When I saw it, it reminded me of being a pirate."

Rangitikei College was joined by Burnside High School, Wairarapa College and Dunstan High School onboard and students took part in a string of activities.

These included shiphandling, problem-solving, debating and water sports.

"My favourite part was meeting everyone and making new friends," Te Rere said.

"I learned a lot about myself, like that I need to let other people have their input before me.

"People should go and have this experience, I know they'll like it."