There was no special treatment given for the 12 blind or low vision participants who attended Outward Bound in Anakiwa, Marlborough Sounds in March – an annual event organised and funded by the Blind Foundation.

The group was late to the morning assembly after breakfast, on the first day of the eight-day course. So, the instructor banned them from attending assembly – just like she had warned she would for all groups.

Not wanting to find themselves in the same position again, the Blind Foundation group worked out a system playing on everyone’s strengths to ensure that the breakfast and clean-up ran smoothly, in spite of varying degrees of vision loss.

They were never late to assembly again.

One of the highlights, says Blind Foundation National Manager Community and Life Enrichment Blair Gilbert, was witnessing teamwork like this and seeing how people in the group overcame potential barriers.

“They found a way to work so well as a team which meant that vision loss was never a limitation.”

The group was diverse in age, ethnicity, backgrounds and world views yet they developed a sense of family and were a peer-to-peer support system learning from each other. Ages spanned from 80 to 28 yet they worked together on team activities such as raft building and sailing.

Participants encourage other blind and low vision community members to take advantage of the opportunity provided free-of-charge by the Blind Foundation.

Listen to participants give their feedback about the 2018 event:


To register your interest for the 2019 event, contact Blind Foundation Recreation and Volunteer Coordinator Kelly O’Donnell on 07 8387507 or email