Bush-bound for 21 days: overcomes her fear


A Queenstowner with a fear of birds built a fort to deter weka while completing an Outward Bound course.

Rebekah Harp spent 21 days in the bush and describes the long-legged native creatures as unwanted guests.

She netted a Queenstown Lions Club scholarship to take part in the Marlborough Sounds-based programme.

It included solo trips in New Zealand’s back country, sailing missions, runs, hikes and rock climbing.

While it was pretty tough going Harp, who works for Shotover Jet, says it was an amazing experience.

She found the mental side of things challenging and struggled with activities where she had to embrace her fear of heights.

“You work on finding your passions and what your goals are in life – seeing what things are important to you.

“I guess it is good to do something out of the comfort zone, get out of the bubble of Queenstown and experience something different.”

One task was to work with a local conservation trust to rip out non-native plants – in torrential rain.

“It was all about teaching people to give back.

“As much as we hated it at the time it was cool afterwards to realise what we did and how much it meant to everyone else in that community.”

One lesson was understanding how lucky she is to live in such a stunning place.

Another: appreciating time away from social media.

For anyone thinking of taking up the Lions Club scholarship she says, “go for it”.

“You can achieve more than you think you are capable of.

“You may not be the fittest person and I was definitely afraid of the bush but I survived three days and two nights on solo.”

Harp, who coaches youngsters for netball, hopes she can take the things she learned on the course and pass them on.

“It gives you a new perspective in life, it really is a great opportunity.”