Pukerau Camps Celebrate 75th - 9th May 2019

Pukerau Christian Camps Celebrate 75 Years!

“From humble beginnings in 1944 when the Mataura Bible Class District Committee held its first Easter Camp in some tents at Wyndham, to the modern campsite of Camp Columba today, Easter Camp has been an annual fixture in the lives of young people from Otago/Southland and beyond.  Our camps have seen thousands of lives changed and have a legacy spanning the generations.”


Over the course of the last weekend of April, many folk gathered at both Camp Columba and Calvin Church to remember and to celebrate the 75 years of Easter and Labour Weekend camps led by Pukerau Christian Camps. It was a wonderful weekend for all of the many folk who turned up to all or some of the celebrations organised.

The Saturday afternoon saw folk gather out at Camp Columba for an afternoon tea and have an opportunity to reconnect with campers from recent and not so recent generations of campers. Photographic memories were on display and stories were shared from the front. Additionally, Camp Columba opened up all their facilities so those that attended could walk around and see some of the many developments that have happened out at the camp since its humble beginnings. And for those who were keen, they were able to try out some of the recent additions to the camps ever-growing list of onsite activities. Camp Columba was originally built as a permanent site to host Easter Camp, which was moving around the Mataura region in the 1940s and ’50s as there was no existing Christian campsite in the region. Easter Camp was in need of a more permanent venue and where new ministries could also be established, and so Camp Columba was built in the town of Pukerau.

On Saturday evening, guests moved from Camp Columba into Gore to attend a celebration dinner held at Calvin Community Church. More than 150 people gathered for a dinner organised by the Pukerau Christian Camps committee and hosted by Rev Marty Redhead, formerly an Easter Camp kid himself, then a camp leader, camp director, and local youth pastor. Guests were treated to entertaining stories from campers and leaders from each of the decades spanning the camps 75 year history. It was amazing to hear how God has blessed this camp and has provided over all these years. We heard stories of how lives had been changed and how young people had come to follow Christ on Easter Camps every year for the past 75 years. We also learned that there has been an enjoyable pranking culture, crazy games, more trips to A&E than anyone can count, and generations of lifelong relationships formed through the relational and social side of the camp. Add into the mix a great meal and a stunning cake, and it made for a fantastic evening for everyone.

Then on Sunday morning, there was a worship service held back out at Camp Columba where God was honoured and exalted as the reason for all of the years fun, and service, and hard work, and joy and challenges.   

Easter Camp in the Mataura region has had a rich history and it was wonderful to be able to come together and celebrate all that God has done, is still doing today, and will do well into the future through these amazing camps and with this amazing campsite.





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