Otago student swaps books for beach  thanks to marooned friend

Otago student swaps books for beach thanks to marooned friend

One Otago University student has escaped the winter blues by winning an all expenses paid trip to Fiji thanks to Vodafone, while her loyal friends stayed stranded on a barge parked up in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour for the duration of her trip.


Second year law student Kirsty Fern and her three close mates entered the search, hoping their strong friendship would win them the holiday in Fiji with the knowledge that one of them would need to earn that holiday by toughing it out on the barge. 

Each of the four friends were told to pack a bag for both Fiji and the barge. Upon arriving at The Edge radio station in Auckland on the Monday morning, they would learn their fate as to whether they would be marooned on the barge or on a tropical South Pacific Island. 

As fate would have it, Kirsty was not destined for the barge, but for the sand and sun of Fiji, whilst her best mate, Meg Parfitt drew the short straw. She recalls mixed emotions when she realised it wasn’t her staying. “I remember that obviously I was really excited and relieved that it wasn’t me on the barge, but I remember also that I was so gutted when I turned and saw Meg crying,” Kirsty said. “She's the type of person that has a massive heart and just wanted everyone to be included, and that's why we love her so much,” she added. 

The other three had lined themselves up an all-expenses paid for trip to Beachcomber Island in Fiji for as long as their ‘best mate’ could ‘stick it out’ on the barge. Whilst Meg was on the barge, snacking on muesli bars and bottled water, the rest of the crew spent their time lounging about in the sun, sipping on cocktails and eating fine Fijian cuisine. 

While lying on the beaches sipping margaritas was of course outstanding, Kirsty said that her favourite moment of the trip came when she was awoken at 8am to go parasailing. “I really didn't have any idea what I was getting myself into… But when I got up in the air and was overlooking all of the islands and all of the coral and blue ocean I had a bit of a moment when I had to pinch myself, that I was on a free trip in Fiji when really I should have been at uni,” she said. 

However, before you feel to bad for Meg, upon the friends arrival back in New Zealand Meg was rewarded for her efforts with $10,000.

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2016.
Posted 10:20am Sunday 4th September 2016 by Hugh Baird.