Media release: Enviroschools reach tamariki in more than 100 Otago schools and early childhood centres

Media Release - 14 November 2022

Enviroschools is a nationwide programme supported by Toimata Foundation and founding partner Te Mauri Tau, with a large national network of 15 regional partners, says ORC’s Regional Enviroschools Coordinator Robyn Zink.

The network includes 14 Regional Councils, 49 Territorial Local Authorities; or 80% of all councils, plus 19 early childhood associations.

“It’s really inspiring to see how motivated young people are to create positive change in their schools and communities in Otago,” she says.

Glenorchy students working on its school garden

Glenorchy students working on its school garden.

Cromwell Primary students planting beside Lake Dunstan

Cromwell Primary students planting beside Lake Dunstan.


Around Otago, Enviroschools’ work with all of the TLAs and the South Otago Kindergarten Association, Mrs Zink says.

Across the country there are more than 1000 schools involved and more than 450 early childhood centres, while in Otago there is a total 88 schools and 12 early childhood centres participating.

“We’re now connecting with over 23,500 tamariki and students around Otago,” Mrs Zink says.

She says the Enviroschools kaupapa is about creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through learning and taking action together.

Children and young people are empowered to connect with and explore the environment, then plan, design and take action in their local places in collaboration with their communities.

“Our kaupapa guides all that we do and is embodied in five guiding principles which underpin the whole Enviroschools journey,” she says.


Students explore ecological building concepts at Dunedin hui

Students explore ecological building concepts at Dunedin hui.

Tamariki at Maheno Kindergarten making paper bricks.

Tamariki at Maheno Kindergarten making paper bricks.


Enviroschools’ five guiding principles

  1. Empowered Students are enabled to participate in meaningful ways in the life of their early childhood centre or school. Their unique perspectives are valued for the knowledge and insight that they bring, and they are supported to take action for real change.
  2. Learning for Sustainability recognises the types of teaching and learning that use connecting experiences to develop holistic and ecological perspectives, foster student enquiry, decision-making, action, and reflection, and create sustainable outcomes.
  3. Māori Perspectives honours the status of tangata whenua in this land and the value of indigenous knowledge and wisdoms in enriching and guiding learning and action.
  4. Respect for the Diversity of People and Cultures acknowledges the unique gifts, contributions and perspectives of individuals and groups, reinforcing the value of participatory decision-making and collaborative action.
  5. Sustainable Communities act in ways that nurture people and nature, now and in the future, to maintain the health and viability of our environment, society, culture and economy.


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