News and Events

Waikato Ecological Building Challenge

February 27, 2024

Hut building is for everyone!

In August 2023 Enviroschools Waikato delivered a series of Ecological Building Workshops across the region to introduce and explore the Enviroschools Ecological Building Theme Area resource. A number of the activities from the resource were experienced as ways to build understanding of the key concepts of this focus. The workshops were also an opportunity to hear about and ask questions about the Waikato Ecological Building Challenge running through the remainder of the year. This was a fun and creative approach to empower all learners to explore Ecological Building and be inspired to take on small building projects.


“We had a beautiful sunny afternoon at Marian School in Hamilton recently, with our Ecological Building PD. It was a great day to reconnect and explore the fun and inspiring new resources in the Ecological Building theme resource – looking at our connection to places and spaces, creative processes and design. We enjoyed exploring quiet spaces in nature, tools for planning projects, some great hut building and tasty kai.” – Alex Daniels, Enviroschools Facilitator

A range of approaches were taken to the challenge from the schools that participated – an outdoor interactive space at Marian School inspired by Hundertwasser, model-making and design of an outdoor classroom at Matangi School, treehouses and fairy villages at Rototuna School and Ngahere exploration at Forest Lake.

Exploring design and creativity.

In, about and for the environment.











At  Waipāhīhī School, students often have a chance for creative building with loose parts during Bush School so they were familiar with hut building and were excited about undertaking this again for the challenge.

At Waikite Valley School some trees were creating problems with leaves in gutters. The principal liked the idea that the trees could provide a new purpose. Subsequently they were heavily pruned away from the guttering leaving trunks for students to lean structures against. The limbs were tidied and left for the students to create huts during their break times.

“After making and monitoring tracking tunnels, 5 schools made traps with Taupō District Council, Predator Free or Enviroschools support, or on their own and found suitable places to set them up.  They were mindful of why they needed to do this and keen to protect the native wildlife.” – Jenni Scothern-King, Enviroschools Facilitator

The videos below give a snapshot of the workshops and capture some of the creative learning and fun students had when they took on their model-making, hut building and outdoor classroom design.