Child-led, Play based Outdoor Learning & Adventure
Kia ora koutou. I started Safe Outdoors NZ Ltd in winter 2018 and since then we have grown rapidly to include contract Outdoor Instruction, EOTC (Education Outside The Classroom) consultancy for schools and business, as well as School Camps, School Holiday programmes and now our 'One Day' Nature'sCool.
Presently, I am taking a break from Safe Outdoors programmes to facilitate an outdoor based, Experiential Education course for Huanui College. This has a focus on well-being and is based on the same property as our Nature'sCool. Prior to all of this, I was Head of the Outdoor Education programme at Whangarei Girls High School for 3 years and before that I did the same at Kamo High School for two years.
Prior to becoming "Mr Kirner" I was an outdoor guide. After getting my degree in Outdoor Education I then spent the next 8 years or so guiding mostly multi-day sea kayaking trips (Abel Tasman / Fiordland / Vancouver Is) and Dog sledding trips (Ontario / B.C). I also had a stint working as a safety kayaker on the Mae Taeng river in Northern Thailand.
My big passions are quality whanau time, spearfishing, hunting (deer), spending time in stunning environments, making music and White water kayaking.
My hope is that Safe Outdoors NZ Ltd will eventually allow my family and I to spend our working (& home-schooling) days together doing something we love. As my Partner (Hilary) is now facilitating the Nature'sCool programme, and as my kids Keala, Matau (& now Awhi) can come along for a fun day also, I rekon we are well on the way to reaching that goal!
Cheers and thanks for the support - Luke
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Kō Tāwhirirangi tōku Maunga
Kō Mōhaka tōku awa
Kō Ngāti Pahauwera tōku hapū
Kō Ngāti Kāhungunu tōku Iwi
Kō Paikea tōku taniwha
Kō ngā taonga ō tōku ngākau, kō Luke ratau,
kō Keala, kō Matau, kō Awhi ōku whānau
Kō Hilary Cooper ahau
Living and working alongside tamariki for 10 + years has provided me with the opportunities to engage in my passion of Human Development mainly in the early years. Having worked in various ECE centres around New Zealand, I have been able to experience a wide range of practice and philosophies surrounding the sector. As a result, my philosophy has continually focused on the importance of healthy relationships, connections with the natural environment and play based learning.
As a Mumma of 3 spirited children I am naturally drawn to ensuring I am providing a home that promotes a healthy love of learning, where ever we may be. I'm over the moon to be a co-founder of Safe Outdoors NZ and using this mahi, to help facilitate the development of these outdoor programs. My focus within our programs is learning through play and bringing back the essence of a tribe ensuring those core values our ancestors once taught their young. Observing each childs unique qualities and supporting them to flourish while they are on our programs brings me great joy and it is within these moments I know I am exactly where I am meant to be.
Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua - As man disappears from sight, the land remains.
Nō reira, ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Kia ora! My name is Emma and I am very excited to be part of the Safe Outdoors NZ crew. I have spent 20 years working in the conservation field, spending a lot of that time tracking down kiwi while living in some remote and special places. I have also taught outdoor education, initially on my OE in the UK and more recently with Northland schools. I love that I can utilise my experience working with our wonderful flora and fauna, whilst sharing the outdoors with children. The benefit of being in the natural environment while learning about it is invaluable and is a perfect vector for developing numerous skills. I am also passionate about encouraging child-directed learning and see play as a genuine tool for education.
I have two school-aged boys who love being in and learning about nature. We live in Ngunguru and make the most of this beautiful area by going tramping, surfing, bike riding, swimming and exploring every chance we get. We also love a good fire-cooked camp meal.
Safe Outdoors NZ Ltd is a small family business formed in 2018 by Luke Kirner (me). I have a background in Guiding (sea kayaking / dog sledding), but have spent recent years in charge of Outdoor Education courses in High Schools. I am now designing and facilitating an outdoor based Well being course for Huanui College in Whangarei. The second half of Safe Outdoors is my partner Hilary Cooper. Hilary is a gifted and hugely experienced Early Childhood Educator and mother of our three amazing kids. She is a master in approachability and at empowering children to help them feel valued. Our good friend and senior instructor (Emma Craig) has a Masters in Science, and was until recently, the Ranger on Limestone Island / Matakohe. Emma is a much sought after kiwi tracker, and loves to share her inquisitiveness for flora & fauna with children.
Since October 2018, Safe Outdoors NZ has taken hundreds of happy children over to Limestone Island / Matakohe through our School Holiday Programme “Limestone Rangers”. It was through this highly successful programme, alongside our own parenting, that has led to our increased understanding of the need for a “One Day Nature School” in Whangarei.