A lot of visitors to our Camp eventually wonder how on earth this camp came to exist in the first place?  If that includes you, then read on.

From New Zealand’s first “Open Prison” in the late 1800s, to a “Singlemens Complex” just before World War II, the current Camp has a long and interesting history.

In the late 1800s, not long after Mt Tarawera erupted on 10 June 1886, the camp site was used as a prison camp.  Inmates were generally used in a social experiment to see if “wasted labour” of prisoners that were not working could be better utilised by getting them to plant trees.

Back in XXXX, the Wai-o-tapu Forest camp was part of the forestry service and provided accommodation for forestry workers.  Back then, commuting from Rotorua, Taupo, or further afield simply wasn’t practical, so the Forestry Service provided this camp for workers to eat, clean, and rest between shifts.

In more recent times, the Camp was no longer used, and the option to just flatten it and turn the area into another plot of land with trees on it was discussed.

But thankfully some people with a vision for the future proposed that the Camp be turned over to a non-profit Trust which would be responsible for providing a Camp for the region’s young people to come to learn, experience, challenge themselves, and grow.