Students have been locked down at Nelson College for nearly five weeks. Photo: Supplied

Cultures bond in Nelson College bubble


Though some of us are itching to get away from our families during lockdown, a group of Nelson students are a world away from theirs.

The Nelson College bubble comprises of 60 international students who opted to stay at school during lockdown and 20 support and staff members.

Acting headmaster Tim Tucker says when the country went into lockdown, Nelson College had to act fast.

“It’s one of those things where there’s absolutely no script.”

Tim says they soon settled into a relaxed routine which is a credit to the staff who have “put their hands up unconditionally”.

“They have so completely thought of every detail and gone far beyond the call of duty.”

Tim says they have students from all around the world – from Thailand to Germany – staying within the school’s boundaries.

“It has been an incredible bonding experience for them, I think they will look back on this will plenty of nostalgia.”

Tim says the faith parents have placed in the school is humbling.

“Parents have put a lot of trust in a school to send their sons so far away to an island in the middle of nowhere. It’s a big deal and the boys are brave to do it but during a pandemic is on a whole other level.”

He says he can’t imagine how grateful they must be for our staff treating them as if they were their own sons.

Year 13 student Mac Harris was contemplating flying home to Japan to be with his family, however, he opted to stay at school.

“I’m pretty happy I made that decision, there aren’t too many challenges being locked down here.”

He says New Zealand was probably a safer place to be.

“I was thinking about going home but at the same time I wanted to stay here in case things got worse and I couldn’t come back.”

Mac and his fellow boarders have been treated to activity days hosted by former All Black Kane Hames which include everything from touch rugby and tug of war to gumboot throwing and log sawing.

“The teachers have all been treating us really well.”

Mac says he is also relishing the opportunity to learn from the different cultures he is quarantined with.

“I didn’t really get to know the international students until now that I live and play with them, they are pretty awesome.”

As a 1st XV squad member, Mac has also been able to maintain his fitness with daily sessions at the school gym.

“I am looking forward to rugby again, hopefully we get to play.”

Mac says once lockdown is lifted, he will go straight to the river or beach with his friends.

Tim says he has been very proud of the way the young men have stepped up.

“These guys have come from 10-20000km away and there is plenty happening at home, deep down they must be worried, and you feel for them.”

However, despite the angst and unknown, Tim says the students have embraced the adventure.

“For them to participate so completely is a very cool thing, and in a spirit which they want to get everything out of it.”