Whenua Iti Outdoors offers a variety of outdoor programmes that blend adventure, culture, environment, wellbeing and community. The programmes develop personal, social and employability skills for young people who are unemployed or not in education.
Whenua Iti Outdoors operates in the north of the South Island, from Kaikoura to Hokitika. It works with schools and other community groups, continually adapting to meet specific needs. It is working towards achieving zero carbon status alongside Nelson Tasman Climate Forum.
Prior to Covid-19, most programmes were residential, run from the organisation’s Tasman base. Programmes were based in the outdoors and minimised the use of technology. International students enhanced programme delivery and provided much-needed funds for the local community.
During lockdown, Whenua Iti quickly pivoted, initially offering online learning to students taking part in NCEA programmes. It then visited communities to deliver place-based programmes to minimise student travel. This necessitated staff leaving their own families for several weeks at a time to reach students in remote areas. It mentored youth, taking all relevant lockdown precautions.
Post lockdown, the organisation has reverted to delivering mainly residential programmes based in Nelson-Tasman, however it now has a wider range of methodologies to deliver programmes to the community, including online, place-based programmes, Zoom tutorials.