Meet the crew

Luke Kirner - Owner

  • Bachelor of Adventure Recreation & Outdoor Education  
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching & Learning (Secondary)

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.

My recent background is in teaching Outdoor Education at Whangarei Girls High School where I was HOD (Head of department) for 3 years. Before that I did the same at Kamo High School for two years. Presently I am designing (and teaching come 2020) an outdoor based Experiential Education programme for Huanui College with a focus on well-being.

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 sometimes able to work along side me as a facilitator 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


Hilary Cooper - Senior Facilitator

  • Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education 

 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 9 + 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 and connections with the natural environment.

As a homeschooling/ un-schooling Mumma of 3, I spend a lot of my time not only nurturing the interests and needs of my children (which is a challenging, yet rewarding circus!) , but also researching ways of doing it better.  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 programmes. In the future I am excited to work alongside the tamariki who join our programmes,

Nō reira, ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa


Emma Craig (Senior Facilitator / Education Engineer)

  • Master of Science in Wildlife Management 
  • Postgraduate Diploma of Wildlife Management 
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Science 

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.

😊     Emma 


Emma Kirner (Kids Outdoors Mangawhai - Manager)

 Tēnā Koutou,

I live in Magical Mangawhai with my partner and beautiful daughter and consider this to be heaven on earth! My background is in teaching both in NZ and England and I have also devoted years to being a Youth Worker empowering young people facing adversity. I have a particular passion for health in its broadest form and for engaging young people in learning that is relevant and meaningful for them and that fosters growth and resilience.
I consider myself super lucky to have the opportunity to work for 'Safe Outdoors' and next to my brother Luke - bring on the exciting adventures ahead!

'Kids Outdoors’ - Mangawhai

Here in Mangawhai we have a ‘playground’  that embraces learning through our natural surroundings, a community that strives to show care and concern for its people and environment and young people with limitless potential!
This is a recipe which we believe should be stirred up and embraced through our programme!

See ya soon,