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Funding Boost For School Camps In The Marlborough Sounds

Sounds Discovery Fund boost for school camps at Mistletoe Bay

The Port Marlborough Sounds Discovery fund was given a boost of $20,000 this week by Port Marlborough and StraitNZ Bluebridge, to support Marlborough school camps at Mistletoe Bay.

Port Marlborough CEO Rhys Welbourn said, "The Sounds Discovery Fund was launched in 2018 with the aim of supporting Marlborough children to venture out and learn about our natural Sounds environment. Encouraging children’s learning and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the Marlborough Sounds is a key target for our sponsorship fund, so there is great alignment with the Mistletoe Bay trust’s purpose."

Mistletoe Bay Eco Village is run by a not for profit charitable trust, The Mistletoe Bay Trust, and every dollar earned from their commercial operation is used to support school camps, teaching students "hands-on" skills and how to live sustainably within in a coastal ecosystem.

StraitNZ Bluebridge general manager Will Dady said their $10,000 contribution to the fund was to celebrate a milestone for Marlborough, with StraitNZ Bluebridge operating for 30 years from the port. "StraitNZ Bluebridge celebrates 30 years in Marlborough this year, and we wanted to mark this milestone with a donation that would have enduring impact for generations to come."

Mistletoe Bay Trust chair Cathie Bell says the trust is extremely grateful to Port Marlborough and StraitNZ Bluebridge for the donation.

"It means a huge amount to us. The past couple of years have been really hard - COVID restrictions stopped most school camps and the storms last year and this year have taken out the road to Mistletoe Bay, which has reduced our camper numbers even further."

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The closure of Kenepuru Road to the public stopped many campers arriving last summer, and Cathie Bell says it could have the same impact again this year. However, despite the road being out, Mistletoe Bay is accessible by a 15-minute boat ride from Picton, and she encouraged schools and others to take that option to visit the bay.

"Our campground and facilities are still open, and we are welcoming guests who can still come in by water taxi. We want to use this donation to ensure that Marlborough schools are still able to attend school camps at Mistletoe. The boat access is a great way to bring students into the bay and we hope this donation helps cement Mistletoe as a venue of choice for our schools. Every Marlborough child deserves to experience the Marlborough Sounds, and this will contribute towards that."

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