A kaupapa founded on evidence
The Te Puna Taiao kaupapa has been directly informed by the most recent results of scientific research across many disciplines, including psychology, planning, public health, environmental science, design, behavioural science and ecology. It also draws heavily on the wealth of knowledge from mātauranga Māori, focusing on the holistic well-being of each child as part of a whānau, wider community and Te Ao Tūroa (the enduring natural world).
A fundamental premise of the initiative is that it puts into practice a model for much-needed early intervention into the lives of our children to help each child reach their full potential and equip them with the sense of belonging, identity and resilience to lead full and happy lives.
Internationally there is a growing movement that aims to use schools to reconnect children to their environment, for the benefit of both children and the natural world; as children learn to enjoy being in nature, they are empowered to become its kaitiaki. And children playing in natural settings experience a huge range of physical and mental health benefits. Communitites too benefit hugely from accessible greenspaces.
We believe that this approach is especially pressing in New Zealand given the special relationship of tangata whenua with Te Ao Tūroa and the potentially profound impact that the disconnect from nature that many children experience today might be having on our tamariki.
Click here to read the paper that pulls together the rationale for the Te Puna Taiao kaupapa and set us on this journey to support and advocate for schools and communities and.