The mother of Year 13 pupil Anna Boggiss, who was in the car travelling behind the mini-van, sent a text to her daughter as soon as news of the accident came through.
"I sent a text saying 'are you there?' because all I knew was there had been an accident."
Five minutes later, Anna replied saying she was fine and not to worry about her.
"Most of us have been able to speak to our children."
Mrs Boggiss said she remarked to another parent that the children sounded incredibly strong, in fact they sounded 15 years older.
"It will be a life-changing experience in more ways than we ever dreamed," she said.
Sheila Tippett, the mother of Laura Tippett, who was injured in the mini-van, said her daughter sounded subdued when she spoke to her on Wednesday night.
She remembered some of the accident.
Laura was badly battered and bruised and in a lot of pain, but had no broken bones.
Mrs Tippett said her daughter raised $5000 for the trip doing odd jobs and gardening.
"Lots of the kids did this. They worked for something much bigger than themselves."
Tim Fellows was the father of minivan passenger David, who received a bump on the head.
He said his son was emotionally shaken up when he first made contact but had since got it together and was now helping others.
Lives had been put on hold because people involved in the tragedy have had so much to think about, Mr Fellows said.
"They are a very tight-knit team and they have come together even closer."
Bethlehem School principal Eoin Crosbie said he hoped the deaths would not become a barrier to future missions by the college because the benefits were huge.
Questions of safety were raised just about every time school groups went overseas, whether it was to the South Pacific or to Kenya, because of the lower safety standards than in New Zealand.
Lydia Hollister-Jones, Caitlin Dickson's close friend, said Caitlin would want the work to continue.
"If it stopped because of what happened, she would be very sad," she said.