Empowered Activism Wānanga – 2021

 Ea: (Te reo Māori) –  to emerge, rise, surface 

Dates: March/April 2021 (TBC) 
Venue: TBC


This eight day wānanga [learning experience] provides tools and skills for regenerative activism in Aotearoa / New Zealand. We are reframing activism, embracing the broad spectrum of change-makers; our front line resistors, our teachers and lawyers, our storytellers and artists, our performers and healers, our builders and gardeners. We explore how to make change while creating personal and collective resilience.

We weave a variety of topics in different ways through a range of methods designed to enliven the ‘whole’ person; from whakawhitiwhiti kōrero [group discussions] and  auahatanga [creative expression] to ngā mahi tākaro [movement and play] and haerenga tuhura [adventure and discovery]. In the face of an uncertain and complex future, this immersive learning experience will enable our action to be a source of flourishing – individually, together and for society.  


Nāu te rourou nāku te rourou ka ora ai te iwi

With your basket and my basket the people will prosper 


Tools and skills for Regenerative Activism

Exploring how to organise in ways that go beyond sustainability to renew and revitalise ourselves and others

  • Mauri ora, Hauora – Honouring personal life source and nourishing total wellbeing 
  • Mahi Tahi,  Whanaungatanga – Collaboration and deep connection to build and strengthen networks and communities
  • Kaitiakitanga- Living in thriving relationships with social and ecological systems


Key Challenge:

As our future becomes increasingly complex and uncertain, facing the injustices and hardships of the world can have a profound mental and physical toll. Whether it is frustration, anger, fear, despair, anxiety or paralysis many people are struggling to engage and find purpose.

  •  How can we respond creatively to make change that is effective and resilient? 
  • What are my own personal gifts and unique contributions that I can draw from? 
  • How can we collaborate for a genuine shared future? 


Our response: 


A regenerative approach to activism that goes beyond sustainability to explore how we can organise in ways that renew and revitalise our selves and others – to help us stay inspired, nourished and creative. Together we will build a vibrant and supportive community of change-makers, finding nourishment and inspiration from each other and our environment that continues after the course. 


This wānanga includes: 
  1. Exploring our personal and inner dimensions of activism:
    • Nurturing and sustaining ourselves and our project to avoid burnout
    • Self awareness; unpacking conditioning, bias and privilege
    • Personal empowerment of purpose, mana and identity
  2. Supporting interpersonal care, enabling ways of working together which exemplify the values we want to realise in the world:
    • Cross-cultural understanding, indigenous ways of knowing and interconnectedness;
    • Effective communications, facilitation, transforming collective culture
    • Action care; taking care of each other when engaged in activism
  3. Explore our external systems and how activism can be a context for flourishing:
    • Creative and practical strategies for change – making through the vibrant ‘rainbow’ of activism; from direct action to storytelling
    • Decolonisation, equity and emancipation
    • Turning passion into meaningful, ethical livelihood




We offer an approach to learning where wellbeing is at the core of the experience; focusing on the whole person.  We focus on developing the capacity of learners to express their unique potential to evolve themselves and contribute to the wider systems they are part of.


Learning is undertaken as a community, based on principles of Ako  and by engaging in shared activities. The experience is treated as a living entity, alive and adapting. It is grounded into the context of the area and of our wider setting of Aotearoa.


The topics are interwoven throughout the week, and we ensure a variety of learning styles are catered for in a variety of ways:


  • Whakawhitwhitii kōrero: Dialogue, debates, group deep communication
  • Whakatau: Reflection, meditation, mindfulness
  • Tohi: Ritual, ceremony, rites of passage
  • Ngā mahi Tākaro: Movement, play, games
  • Haerenga tuhura: Adventure, exploration, discovery
  • Ahuatanga Māori: Karakia, mihi, waiata, te reo Māori
  • Auahatanga: Creative expression, arts, storytelling, music, theater
  • Mahi tahi: Cooperative learning,  team work, cross-cultural sharing





Programme from last year:





Who is it aimed at? 

We want to support people of all ages and backgrounds who are passionate about making change in Aotearoa/New Zealand. You don’t necessarily need experience but what we’re focused is the passion and potential. We want to find those who have fires burning already and give them more quality firewood!.

What we’re calling in:

  • People who are wanting to make change in Aotearoa / New Zealand
  • A diversity in age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, background, profession, experience, location, type of activism
  • Have the potential to do the work, though not necessarily yet doing the work – can have passion and drive rather than experience
  • People who will take the learnings and apply them in their communities
  • People who can bravely face their privilege and conditioning
  • People prepared to go deep on inner work
  • People who can commit to the whole time
  • A ‘rainbow’ of activism with a  range of ways of bringing about change  (e.g. front line, strategy, healers, policy advocates, artists,  communications, grass roots, global)



Location (TBC):

The Tui Treefield is a rustic, outdoor venue, located at the top of the South Island, on the beachfront of Wainui Bay and the western edge of Able Tasman (pictured above). It’s paradise! There will be opportunities during the course for swimming, exploration and adventures through the National Park. It is a 30 min drive from Takaka and 2.5 hours from Nelson. We will send more info on options for getting here upon registration.




Facilities and Accommodation:

The Tui Outdoor Events Treefield is a purpose created rustic outdoor-events centre with kitchen-dining room area, outdoor shower-toilet facilities, two gathering centres/classroom spaces, plus camping-style accommodation.

All Treefield facilities are wheelchair accessible. 

Several accommodation options are available at the Tui Treefield, including staying in our tipi (3 person) or bell tent (6 person) and plenty of space for you to camp in your own tent or (camper)van. Prices are the same for each option. Mattresses can be provided (BYO sheet and sleeping bag).

If you would like to reserve a space in the tipi or bell tent please note this in the registration form, spaces are limited.



All meals will be provided during the course, cooked on-site. Food will be vegetarian and where possible locally sourced and organic.




Registrations will open later in the year. To register your interest email Ngaire Pene: – empoweredactivism@gmail.com

Spaces are limited to 16 people. Spaces will be allocated based on passion, diversity, drive and commitment.





COST: $800 (TBC) – includes camping, mattresses, + kai


We’re exploring turning passion into right livelihood. As part of this journey, we’re seeking to embody that by making sure all facilitators and contributors are being reciprocated, while cutting as many costs as possible to lower the price for participants.


Ticket Subsidy:

When registering for the course, you will have the option to contribute extra funds to subsidise other course participants who may need support. If you can afford it, we encourage you to pay it forward.

If you feel the need for support, you can get in touch with us to share your needs and existing situation.

We can only offer subsidies for part-scholarships, up to the amount of money which comes in from others. The more we receive, the more we can enable minimally resourced people to attend.



Kaiako / Facilitation Team:

The EA body of work has been a collaborative journey of the facilitation team. This is the second year running this learning experience and it has been shaped and co-created by everyone who participated last year. The facilitators come from a range of education and activism backgrounds, representative of the vibrant ‘rainbow’ of activism. Our shared unique offering stems from our focus on the relationship between our ‘inner’ world and ‘outer’ world.


Robina McCurdy (Golden Bay) – Facilitator 

Robina’s passion is to bring about significant change in the lives of people, communities, and the environment through community development, permaculture design, education, organic growing, the creation of participatory processes for decision making and collective action.

Robina is co-founder of Tui Land Trust & Community, Earthcare Education Aotearoa, Golden Bay’s ‘PLANET Organic’, and SEED (Schools Environmental Education & Development) in South Africa which is now a national-scale permaculture in schools programme. More recently she was co-ordinator/designer/tutor of Victory Villages Community Garden in Nelson, and an educator with Christchurch’s Harbour Basin Food Resilience Project. As an ecovillage designer, she has facilitated the development stages of numerous ecovillages.

Currently, Robina is the director of Earthcare’s ‘Localising Food Project’ and has been engaged in documentary production on this theme as well as collaborating to design and develop a new large-scale ecovillage in Aotearoa-NZ. Robina brings a wealth of driving energy, knowledge, experience and connection to all that she engages with.


Ngaire Pene (Whaingaroa) – Coordinator & Facilitator


Ko Pukemokemoke te maunga

Ko Waikato te awa

Ko Tainui te Waka

Ko Ngāti Wairere te iwi

Ko Tauhei tōku marae

Ko Maramatutahi te tipuna

Ko Pene tōku whānau

Ko Ngaire tōku ingoa



Ngaire is a creative contributor to all kaupapa she dances between. She strives to embrace Mātauranga Māori and Kaupapa Māori in all aspects of life, passionate about allowing indigenous knowledge to lead. She continues to support the building of Intentional ecological communities, striving for collective change. Through creative expressions she seeks to enable the concept of ako (learning and teaching) within holistic experiences. Allowing the seen and unseen to be nurtured and evolve in safety. 


Ngaire is currently undertaking her third year of study in art. Other study has included Permaculture design, facilitation, Organic horticulture, Rongoā rākau (Plant remedies), Kaupapa Māori led tohi (rites of passage), as well as spending several years as a coordinator for The Papamoa Community Garden.


Dave Hursthouse – Facilitator 

Ka tipu ahau i raro i te maunga o Rangitoto
Ka tipu ahau i te taha o te moana o Hauraki

Ko Te Tuhi o Te Ao Mārama te maunga
Ko Mangapu te awa
Ko Tangata Tiriti rāua ko Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi
Ko Ngāti Kinohaku te hapu

Ko Oparure te marae
Ko Brook-Hursthouse tōku whānau
Ko Dave Hursthouse tōku ingoa


Dave is an Ecological Designer and Learning Facilitator, focused on sowing the seeds of passion and courage among those change-makers dedicated to developing human systems more in tune with wider ecological patterns. He is passionate about transformative learning, forest ecologies, transforming organisational patterns and changing the learning landscape in Aotearoa.

Dave studied human systems at Otago University (politics, economics, and global food systems). He has further studied Permaculture, Teaching, Organic Horticulture and Māori Art (Mau Rākau). Dave has been teaching Permaculture and agricultural practice for many years; he led the Agriculture Team at IPCIndia 2017; spent two years coordinating the Papamoa Community Garden; is the Chairperson of Permaculture in New Zealand; and has facilitated the co-design of a number of community projects. He is currently working on a Doctorate exploring the relationships in-between Māori and Pākehā creation stories and organisational patterns, and pathways toward the decolonisation of organisation/governance in Aotearoa.



Emma Morris (Waiheke Island)  -Coordinator & Facilitator


Ka tipu ahau i raro i te maunga o Maungawhau.

Ka tipu ahau i te taha o te moana o Waitemata

Ko Wēra, ko Airihi, Ko Kōtarani, ko ingarihi ōku  iwi

Ko Piritahi te marae

Kei Waiheke ahau e noho ana.

Ko Morris tōku whānau

Ko Emma tōku ingoa 


Emma is a creative coordinator and dynamic educator who has an intuitive ability of weaving nuanced connections while holding the big picture. Raised by a family of activists, Emma grew up on stories of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s social and political history and participating in actions from a young age. With a background in Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, she explores the edge between making systemic change while engaging at the flax roots level. Emma co-owns a socio-ecological consultancy, where she is currently the project coordinator of two large community-led conservation projects on Waiheke Island.


Emma is passionate about regenerative activism through the lense of reimagining ways of learning. She is activating a not-for-profit education organisation, and undertaking a Masters with Otago Polytechnic developing a Learning Model to vivify learning experiences and nourish the vitality of learners. She is inspired by supporting change-makers through transformative learning experiences  to express their unique potential to contribute to their wider systems.



Leo Gedye (Waiheke Island)   – Coordinator & Facilitator


He Pākeha ahau, engari anei ngā wāhi mīharo ki ahau

Ko Te Taurere te maunga

Ko Waikato te awa

Ko Whanganui-a-tara te moana

Ko Gedye tōku whānau

Ko Leo tōku ingoa



Leo has lived, worked, backpacked and tramped in many places across the motu, honing a strong sense of home and care for the whole of Aotearoa/ New Zealand. He wants to affect healthy and resilient communities in his work in life, believing that this is the first place to start when aiming to positively affect society as a whole. Leo is passionate about the regeneration and flourishing of Aotearoa’s natural ecological systems for the benefit of the earth and the people reliant on it.


Leo studied Film and Anthropology at Victoria University, and is currently studying in the Leadership for Change program through Otago Polytech, focussing on Aotearoa’s food systems.  He works over the summer months as a tramping guide in the Kahurangi Regional Park, and has been involved with native revegetation, community gardens, community groups, Permaculture in New Zealand (PiNZ) and the International Permaculture Convergence in India (IPCI2017) 


More Kaiako To be Announced