News and Events

Facilitators deepen practice

November 2, 2023

Sharing successes and challenges.

In September 2023 the National facilitator support team ran a hui at Auckland Botanical Gardens to provide development opportunities and nourishment to facilitators who had been delivering the programme for a while and felt the need to reconnect and upskill.

The foci of the hui were:

  • Deepening the understanding of the role of an Enviroschools Facilitator
  • Deepening knowledge of Enviroschools Resources
  • Developing Sustainable Communities in an Enviroschools Context
  • Modelling Effective Facilitation so it can be identified and reflected on by participants.

The wātaka was designed in collaboration with the host region, Tāmaki Makaurau. The Auckland Sustainable Schools team organised engaging field trips that showed connections between local learning and actions aligning with the Guiding Principle, Sustainable Communities.

The Enviroschools Action Learning Cycle and many of the Enviroschools activities were modelled through the 2-day hui as participants explored resources using Water of Life as an example, looking at the concepts and engaging in mapping. This led to discussion around how these activities related to taking action in an Enviroschool community and tools a facilitator could use to support a school.

“Use of Enviroschools activities especially the awa activity was inspiring with the adding of layers.” – participant feedback

Checking out the bounty of the Papatoetoe West School gardens.

Collaboration in the school kitchen.









After a solid grounding on the first day, participants were given a tour and presentation at Papatoetoe West School, hearing different perspectives and successful approaches including waste reduction, pest control and planting. The Garden to Table programme was showcased – from the students working in the garden through to cutting and creating in the kitchen. Very busy and engaged ākonga!

“I enjoyed having a chance to watch, hear, and learn from others.” – participant feedback

Next stop was Aorere Kindergarten where kaiako, Hajra Sheikh, talked about their connection and contribution to the local stream project. This is learning and action that the whole community are keen to grow from their initial steps of picking up rubbish (and measuring this) and observing stream life tuna/eels and different bugs.

Participants were able to see and hear what is successful, what enables that success, the value that the Enviroschools programme provides and the role of the facilitator in this.

Looking at the channelised Waokauri stream near Aorere Kindergarten, and College.

Checking out the headwaters of Puhinui Stream that flows into the same catchement that all 3 Envirschools connect to.











The group then travelled to and met with Aorere College teacher and students at Selfs Reserve, Waokauri Stream, where they were told about how these secondary students had an opportunity to learn about their local catchment, incorporating eDNA testing and other stream monitoring, and take action for it. The students showed how much their science curriculum linked learning had helped them connect with this place next to the school. They showed a genuine interest in making it a better place through monitoring, planting and weeding and removing rubbish. The College and the Kindergarten are within the Puhinui water catchment and a significant regeneration initiative, Te Whakaoranga o te Puhinui .

“I enjoyed the layering of activities to build the puna mātauranga around the catchment, the facilitation techniques and variety used.  Having a relaxed atmosphere and safe space to ask questions/learn from each other along the way was invaluable.” – participant feedback

On return to their regions, facilitators have already started sharing some of the approaches, tools and enthusiasm!