Philosophy and Purpose

Kaupapa / Philosophy:

1. We are all lifelong learners. We are committed to continually developing our learning while we empower the children to lead the culture of our programmes. We recognise Te Ao Māori world view as foundational in Aotearoa; our place. This guides our understanding of life & learning with key concepts which align with Te Whāriki and NZ Curriculum. We draw inspiration from these and from the knowledge and wisdom of educational leaders such as Nathan Mikaere Wallis, Rangimarie Rose Pere, Wally Penetito, Richard Louv, Udeskole, Forest School approach and others.

2. Whakawhanaungatanga/relationships are key. We value and respect the relationships that we all form with nature, with each other, and the knowledge, understandings and relationships that all of us bring with us from our rich and diverse life experiences. Ako (reciprocal learning) is a way of recognising that learning develops through relationships with the world around us and with others; teaching each other, sharing ideas, discussing and solving problems together.

3. We know that children learn best when they are empowered to lead their learning at their own pace, with the freedom to play and make mistakes, get dirty, explore and develop their kaingākaunui (what makes their hearts sing, passions, interests) . We recognise children as capable and confident learners and celebrate each child’s unique qualities as strengths; these guide our programmes. Our educators teach intentionally; making choices about where to offer extension and facilitate learning, and where to step back.

4. Nature is a taonga (precious gift) that allows us to notice things, to ground ourselves, to slow down our pace and to connect with Papatūānuku. This enables us to develop awareness of ourselves and what is happening in the world around us. Free play in nature takes away the limits that are often imposed on children in adult led settings. It empowers children to challenge themselves, to learn that mistakes are valuable learning opportunities, and to test and expand their boundaries. In nature, our childrens’ holistic wellbeing for tinana (body), hinengaro (mind) wairua (spirit) & whānau (kinship) connections are all nurtured through our Nature School programmes.

5. Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) in nature is important, and is nurtured through the well grounded relationships in the natural world that we enable. Through our actions we model respectful and reciprocal relationships with all things that are part of nature. Through growing the next generation of kaitiaki, we are actively caring for Papatūānuku and our taiao towards positively mitigating climate change.


The purpose of the trust is to provide empowering programmes that educate, encourage and develop young people to learn from and through nature play in their local community. In doing so, children can build communication skills, self-confidence, resilience, social skills, leadership qualities and develop a deeper connection with their local environment. This is achieved through the Nature School, Bush Sprouts, He Kākano and holiday programmes. The trust also is committed to:

2.1 Respect and tautoko the dual heritage and languages of Aotearoa, as embodied in Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi). We are guided by Māori concepts such as whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga.

2.2 Raise funds for the trust’s purposes.

2.3 Provide mentoring within our programmes for adults to grow and support their own connection with nature and in their practise as nature educators, as well as professional development.

2.4 Collaborate and form relationships with other organisations/schools/education providers that in doing so, will enhance the delivery of the trust’s purpose.

2.5 Carry out other such charitable purposes within New Zealand, as the Trustees shall determine.