Our History

We are particularly proud of our history, and of continuing Hazel Nash's vision for Whenua Iti Outdoors since she founded our organisation over 30 years ago.

Although the programmes we deliver have changed over the years, the kaupapa which was first established remains at the core of all we do.

rafting for the first adventure course at Whenua Iti

CHAPTER 1: Conception

Hazel Nash, founder of WIO, dreams of creating a centre of holistic learning.

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CHAPTER 2: Creation

The charitable trust is formed, and the first courses are run.

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CHAPTER 3: Evolution

Government funding saw growth, local kaumatua Tom Bailey gave Whenua Iti it’s name.

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CHAPTER 4: Consolidation

WIO is now well established, the grounds are developed, the Trust purchases land from Hazel.

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CHAPTER 5: Growth

Funding structures change, and WIO responds with new investment in buildings & course options.

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CHAPTER 6: Innovation

WIO takes the opportunity to focus more on youth, investing in safety management & becoming a leader in experiential education.

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The Story of our Logo

The logo reflects the cave within,
the mountains above,
the sea and rivers below,
and our ever flowing
journey of growth.

The Meaning of 'Whenua Iti'

Hazel called our site her "little piece of land". Which translates in te reo Māori to 'whenua iti'. Whenua can also mean placenta, drawing a connection between the land as a place of giving and giving back to. It's an interpretation that fits, as from something small, incredible and vital things can grow.

In keeping with Māori custom, the name 'Whenua Iti Outdoors' was gifted to us by local kaumatua Tom Bailey. He requested we continue to share the Māori history of this area with our students, which we honor to this day.

Want to find out more about a programme or have a question for us? Talk to one of our friendly team - we're happy to help.