Canterbury Schools Orienteering Festival 2023

Haere mai! You’re invited to the Canterbury Schools Orienteering Festival 2023.

If you are school aged and go to a primary, intermediate, high school or are homeschooled in Canterbury, you can enter this regional schools orienteering festival. Plenty of training opportunities to learn and practice your orienteering skills are available in the weeks before the festival.
This two-day competition has something for everyone. You can choose to orienteer on your own in a Competitive grade if you have orienteering experience; or compete with friends in the Fun competition. We welcome all students, from beginner orienteers to experienced orienteers and those who have never orienteered before. 

Event Programme and Start Lists:

The event programme contains all the information about the weekend's event. All competitor families should read this to be familiar with the event:

Start lists contain the start times for all competitors. Please turn up in plenty of time so you are ready to start 10 minutes before your allocated time. For the event on Sunday there is a 1km walk from the event centre to the start.

Festival events:

The events for 2023 are:

  • Day 1: Saturday 9th September – Park/urban event. Ferrymead Heritage park. Starts from 1.30 p.m.
  • Day 2: Sunday 10th September – Forest event. Bottle Lake. Starts from 10:30 a.m.

You can enter both days or just one.
We are planning to have other activities in addition to the orienteering courses. Maze orienteering, orienteering string course for pre-schoolers, sausage sizzle, lolly scramble and more.

We will have a prizegiving at the end of each day with certificates for placegetters plus spot prizes!  

What you need

Sense of sportsmanship and fun.

Clothing according to the weather conditions, footwear suitable for activity.

A compass if you have one.

What we’ll provide

A Sport ident stick/dibber for using at each control/check point (no need to bring your own).

A map with the course marked on.

Descriptions of the location of the controls/checkpoints.

The best course for you?

Fun Grade:

If you are a beginner or want to have fun with friends! 

Never orienteered before? Want to orienteer with a friend or friends?  Would you feel more confident if someone followed you around the course?  All the fun courses are suitable for beginners.  There are three courses to choose from ranging in navigational difficulty. The definition for each course is detailed below

  • Easy Short. This course follows line features such as tracks, fences, streams and hedges. There is a control at every “decision point” so the runner just chooses which direction to run in. The course is very short between 800m to 2.0km. No compass is needed.
  • Medium. This course requires a basic level of navigation as the runner must make 2-3 decisions between controls, and some controls will be placed 10-20m off the line features. There is still a line feature between controls but there may be two options a runner can take. The length of this course is between 1.5 and 3km. A compass is not necessary but it is recommended.  
    School years 7 and up. Recommended option for high school students that have never orienteered before.
  • Long and hard. This course has advanced navigation at the same level as the year 10-11 competitive grade. A compass is essential.  
    School years 10 and up. Recommend for older high school students that want to race as a team. 

Competitive Grade: 

If you want to be competitive on your own.
Have you orienteered before and confident about completing a course on your own?

Then you can enter a Competitive grade according to your year at school: 

  • Years 1-6: Beginner (White level)
  • Years 7-8: Beyond beginner (Yellow level)
  • Year 9: Beyond beginner (longer) (Yellow level)
  • Year 10-11: Intermediate (Orange level)
  • Year 12-13: Experienced (Red level)

Cost and entries:

Cost: $12 per child per day. 
Includes hire of a Sportident stick/dibber for using at each control/check point (no need to bring your own)

Unless you have been told otherwise by your school, entries and payments will be done for each student by their family.

Enter here:
Entries will close on Monday 4th September.

Payment: Via online banking or credit card during the entry process. PAPO bank account for bank transfers: 03 0823 0425931 00 in the name of Peninsula And Plains Orienteers Incorporated (PAPO). Please reference CSOF and your child's name.

Schools wishing to do a bulk entries and bulk payments should email for instructions. 
If you wish to change to a different grade or withdraw from a race, please fill this form: Canty Schools Orienteering Festival 2023 - requests. Changes must be made prior to entries closing on Mon 4th Sept.

Start Times: 

All students will be allocated a specific time to start their race. On Saturday the start times are from 1.30p.m. On Sunday the start times are from 10:30 a.m.
If you have other commitments and need an early or late start time, please fill in this form with your request: Canty Schools Orienteering Festival 2023 - requests 
Start time request must be made prior to entries closing on Mon 4th Sept. We will do our best to accommodate requests but these cannot be guaranteed. 


There will be after school training opportunities around Christchurch starting four weeks prior to the festival, to practice your orienteering skills.
Check back here after the start of august for details.


The final event programme and start times will be sent out to all entrants by email on the Wednesday before the festival weekend.

Any questions regarding the festival please email

Training events for school students: 21st Aug - 7th Sept 2023

Thursday 7 September 2023
Various parks and reserves around Christchurch
Event Type:
Orienteering training and coaching
Coaching and practise is offered to all school-aged children at all levels.  No booking required for small group training, just turn up with your running shoes and a compass if you have one.  Bring your own Sport i-dent if you have one, otherwise we will lend you one (a Sport i-dent  is a...
more info

Canterbury Schools, forest event. Bottle Lake

Sunday 10 September 2023
Bottle Lake
Event Type:
Schools event
Clare McLennan
Dylan Owen
Jonathan Hunt
Haere mai! You’re invited to the Canterbury Schools Orienteering Festival 2023.
more info