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Tuākana – tēina modelled at Tāmaki Makaurau Regenerative Leadership Principals’ Hui

August 29, 2022

A recent Regenerative Leadership Principals’ Hui held at Sylvia Park School was a chance for Principals from Enviroschools in Tāmaki Makaurau to meet and hear about student-led initiatives and be challenged by student leaders about future direction.

On a foggy morning in early August 2022 a group of changemakers gathered in the magnificent enviro space that is Sylvia Park School. Students, senior leaders and sustainable schools team members travelled from across Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) to pull together their collective wisdom on Regenerative Leadership under the expert facilitation of Anya Satyanand, CEO of Pūmanawa Kaiārahi o Aotearoa, Leadership NZ.

Sylvia Park rangatahi opened proceedings with a heartfelt mihi whakatau, and Kristen Price, from Toimata Foundation (national body of Enviroschools), set the context for the kaimahi, explaining that their work is part of a much bigger Enviroschools movement across Aotearoa.

Student leaders presented a wero (challenge) to the participating principals and senior leaders.

“How will you create employment pathways through a curriculum with sustainability embedded across all teaching areas? Tell us how you will make more students aware of education for sustainability. How will you provide Enviroschools leadership? Create opportunities for Enviroschools experiences? Ensure there is an Enviroschools voice on the Board of Trustees? How will you offer Enviro leaders the same status as other student leaders in sport or academic achievement?” – the mighty wero – powerfully set forth by student leaders

Are relationships growing and evolving with ease?

Enabling all to bring their potential.









And so, to work! Small groups of tumuaki (principals) settled around the room with “Keynote Listeners” – assigned rangatahi (student leaders) whose task it was to capture the Enviroschools senior leaders’ discussion and distil the essence.


Each station used an element of the environment to key people into the questions.

Symbolism from the natural environment was used to key in participants to the questions and discussion at the stations that people rotated through.

“On Thursday we were invited to attend the Principals’ Regenerative Leadership Hui at Sylvia Park School. Our role was to be ‘Keynote Listeners’. Genevieve, Ella, and Sophia attended the event. All of us keynote listeners were split into groups, with around three of us older keynote listener students with a few of the Sylvia Park School students. Our group was Te Paru, ‘the mud’. It represented being stuck in the mud, or something difficult that Tāmaki Makaurau school principals had been through. For most, this was COVID-19 and the struggle the pandemic brought to their kura.” – Genevieve, Ella, and Sophia Waiheke High School Sustainability Group

Keynote Listener rangatahi stepped right up to the plate and fed back what they had heard from the leadership staff present.

Those thoughtful reflective ideas from participants have given the group a clear steer for the future direction of this group.

Here’s what we heard about the day.

” The student leaders were inspiring and gave some practical ideas to take back to school. The group tasks with leaders created a space to collaborate and network.”


“The awareness of how diverse the Enviroschools approach is, it’s more than vegetable gardens and trees, it’s about a change in culture and a challenge to view and do things differently.”


Sylvia Park School demonstrate Enviroschools kaupapa to their wider community.

The bees are not the only ones that have been busy at Sylvia Park School.









The day was bright with beauty and possibilities as participants were taken on tour of host school, Sylvia Park.

Delicious kai: kawakawa and parsley pesto on show along with school eggs and honey.









After the early morning fog lifted, the day was bright with beauty and possibilities, as participants were taken on tour of host school, Sylvia Park. This was a crucial part of the day as it showcased their approach to Living Landscapes in an Enviroschool context and prompted a lot of positive feedback, questions and inspiration for others.

“We all enjoy having animals around (chickens, pigs and pet cat). We enjoy looking after and feeding them.” – student of Sylvia Park

Anya Satyanand facilitates discussion with the students.

As principals reflected on the activities and presentations of the day, there were commitments to action including running something similar to the bus-stop station activity with staff back at school to encourage them to reflect on what it means to be an Enviroschool. Another principal has committed to work with the Enviroschools lead teacher and develop a strategy to let the community know what an Enviroschool is and gain their support. Alongside this will be developing the team of teachers to all understand and contribute to this mahi – develop sustainable leadership so that it doesn’t fall apart if the lead driver leaves.

“To encourage our enviro student leaders to continue to step up and lead change, to ensure that the teaching staff include this focus of sustainability throughout the inquiry and concept plans in our local curriculum.” – commitment from one leader

One school is undergoing significant change of curriculum delivery model and sees this as a great opportunity to embed Enviroschools practice through the school.

“Creating opportunities for student voice at every step of the journey is paramount to success. Visits to each other’s schools offer inspirational ākonga (learning, teaching) and sharing opportunities. There is much to celebrate across all five key learning areas of Enviroschools – even the toughest parts of the journey are made easier by learning and taking action together, for a healthier, peaceful and sustainable world.” – Key take home messages

Students challenged Principals to consider the future.

Pausing to enjoy the warmth of the sun, the company and kai.

After the success of this event, the team of facilitators from Sustainable Schools Auckland are now planning the next opportunity for Enviroschools to share their knowledge and vision. There is an online hui planned, future visits to participating schools who would like to host others, to maintain the momentum of learning and support and further hui to help develop the concept of Sustainable Communities.



“This was an inspirational hui. Creative, inclusive and regenerative leadership is essential for a sustainable future, and it was affirming to experience this flowing throughout the hui. A huge mihi to Sylvia Park School. They are a wonderful example of truly living the Enviroschools kaupapa and they offered beautiful maanaki to all the participants. ” Kristen Price, Toimata Foundation


The Leadership Hui was a chance for Principals from other Enviroschools to meet and hear about initiatives that are happening around Auckland. It was an awesome opportunity and experience, and we have many thanks for Nicky Elmore and the Enviroschools team and the Sylvia Park School rep that organised the day, Hayden, as well as Anya, the keynote speaker of the day. It was super cool to meet other ākonga that had amazing ideas and experiences to share with us about how sustainability and conservation works in their respective kura and communities. Thank you to Mrs Cole for helping us out massively with organisation for this hui, we really enjoyed it”.- Genevieve, Ella, and Sophia Waiheke High School Sustainability Group

Enviroschools facilitator Nicky Elmore supported the Waiheke students to prepare and engage.

Facilitator Cate Jessep thanks student leaders.