Max has skills to make tracks fast

Spot on . . . King's High School year 9 pupil Max Holgate won two orienteering competitions last term. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Orienteering requires speed and navigational skills – two things Max Holgate seems to be quite good at.

The 13-year-old King’s High School pupil won the junior boys grades of the Otago Schools Orienteering Championships and the Dunedin Orienteering Schools Series last term.

Orienteering requires navigational skills using a map and compass to find a series of markers at speed.

Max won the regional competition, held in Halfway Bush, in about 51 minutes.

“There was lots of choosing your own path,” he said.

“There were some people who were pretty fast, so I was quite lucky.”

In the Dunedin schools event, the races were held at a different location each week and competitors accumulated points.

“There might be like 40 markers you have to get in an order and you have to go as fast as you can.”

Points were deducted if a marker was missed, or someone got it wrong.

Being able to read maps was essential to the sport, as a wrong turn could be a major setback, he said.

“If you get lost it could cost you half an hour or something.”

Max has been doing orienteering for about four years.

It was great way to keep fit and he enjoyed that each course was different and he did not know what it was going to involve, he said.

“One could be on the beach and the next one’s in a forest, so it’s a mixture.

“I liked the one at Wakari Hospital because it was just concrete and you just had to go around all the buildings.”

While he was unsure when the next competition would be, he hoped to become a national champion one day.

He competed in the under-12 national event in Oamaru last year and finished third.

“It was good to see how fast I was compared to others around New Zealand.”

Max is also a keen footballer and plays for the school’s top junior team.