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Source: Department of Conservation

To celebrate NZ Archaeology Week last year we asked young people to share stories about their favourite historic places. Sarah-Kate Simons was one of our fantastic winners and won a night on Ōtamahua/Quail Island. She shares with us her experience…

When I won DOC’s ‘Sharing our Stories’ competition, my prize was an overnight stay with my family in one of their huts. We picked Quail Island just out of Lyttelton harbour, since it’s one of our favourite spots to spend a day outing, so why not a night outing? It definitely had nothing to do with my childhood dream of living on an island after several years of an obsession with the film Nim’s Island.

Yeah right.

Quail Island has a ton of history and I’ve always been especially fascinated by the leper colony, on which I based my winning story. When we were waiting for the boat, I pointed out that it would just be us and the poor dead leper on the island, which didn’t bother us much, since our idea of a must-do on any family holiday is to poke around the local graveyard. We boarded the ferry at 3pm to head over to the island, and we all went out to stand at the bow of the ship to drink in the view and the fresh air. Dad suggested that we should do the Titanic pose, and helped me stand by the railing so we could mimic the scene from the movie. I have no idea what the skipper thought!