Enviro School

“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” -David Sobel

Our relationship to our environment is woven into everyday school life at Henderson Valley School. Our aim is to foster a deep connection with the natural world so that our children can emerge as present and future kaitiaki (guardians) of the environment. Awarded with the highest level of Enviroschool status in 2010, as a Green-Gold Enviroschool we connect our tamariki with nature in an ongoing way through sustainability initiatives such as our:

  • Green Team

  • Once-a-term Green Days

  • Garden to Table Programme

  • School vege gardens and orchard

  • Community garden

  • Livestock (currently chickens, goats and bees)

  • Tikanga Maori

  • Class composting

  • Matariki and other cultural celebrations

  • Community tree planting

  • Stream water quality monitoring

  • Package-free lunches programme

  • Positive behaviour for learning

  • Native plant ID trail

  • Regular beach and stream cleanups

You’ll also find environmental themes running through much of what is being taught in class depending on the interests of individual teachers. You can read more about some of these initiatives below.


The Green Team are our enviroschool ambassadors. They assist in taking care of, and learning about our livestock, help with maintaining our gardens and organise the package free lunch prize draw that takes place at a whole school assembly once a term. The Green Team actively promotes green initiatives within the school such as the Green Days that take place each term. In the past they have actioned projects such as the Native ID trail and taken part in community weeding and planting. They are currently investigating the benefits of companion planting in our school gardens.


The goat group look after the goats in every way. They trim hooves, feed them and educate other students about caring for goats. Every year a classroom takes responsibility for looking after our chickens with support of our school community. Our free range eggs can be found in cooking creations around school.


We are proud to be a travelwise school and support the goals of reducing car travel and carbon emmissions by encouraging children to walk or bike to school. We also teach our students how to be safe on the footpaths and roads.


A group of senior students regularly test the water quality at the Opanuka Stream close to Henderson Valley School. The data can be found at the Wai Care.


Our students are encouraged to bring litter free lunchboxes and our organic waste is composted or worm farmed. The compost and worm tea is used in our school gardens and orchard.Our school’s commitment to reuse, reduce and recycle means that we send only “one bag a week” to landfill. Most households produce more waste per week than the 400 students and staff at Henderson Valley School.


Back in 2009 the Green Team put into action planting an area of native trees in a trail. This area is now thriving, as students continue to plant and maintain this area. You can scan the QR codes along the native trail to find out more.


The Orchard was developed and planted by our school. A class manages everything from composting, pruning, harvesting and safeguarding the orchard. The fruit is enjoyed by the school community.


We have partnered with Auckland Council and Makutu Link to develop a regular program of tree planting for years 3-6 children. Tree planting is a positive action that we can all take against the seemingly /oftentimes overwhelming threat of climate change. As our older children learn about this unprecedented threat to our living environment, through our tree-planting programmes they become empowered agents of change. We are most anxious about things over which we have no control. By making positive change we can feel empowered instead of helpless and this empowerment is a seed from which a life of positive action can sprout or take root.