Inspiring the next generation of kaitiaki

Inspiring the next generation of kaitiaki means we continue to create opportunities to connect, inspire and equip young people each year.

Recently two camps gathered bringing together 32 young people across two locations in the North and South Island – the SUSTAIN Camp in Whāingaroa Raglan and the He Māhuri Tōtara camp in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

During the first week of the school holidays, at SUSTAIN Camp, we explored practices around whenua, moana and sustainable food production and the theology that inspires us to live in a more sustainable and nature loving way. Participants had a day on Karioi maunga developing trapping and safe fire lighting skills. They also got involved in tree planting to offset the camp’s carbon footprint and spent an afternoon in the moana learning new surf skills! These young people are such adventurers, putting everything they have into their exploration of who they are as caretakers of creation!

In the second week of the holidays, rangatahi from across the motu gathered for the first He Māhuri Tōtara camp in Ōtautahi Christchurch. They dug deep together during workshops where they explored care of creation, leadership, Te Ao Māori and the Bible, and how those things are connected. They grew together as a team through tramping and sea kayaking led by Adventure Specialities Trust. And they literally got their hands dirty volunteering in the Waiora Trust native tree nursery and weeding at the Avoca Valley regeneration project in the Port Hills. Camp coordinator, James Beck, was stoked at how He Māhuri Tōtara went, saying: “It was amazing to see the way that the rangatahi engaged with the biblical story, the story of Aotearoa and our call to care for creation. These stories make sense to young people when they have their hands in the soil.” Discussions have begun for HMT 2024!

If you know of young people that missed out, don’t worry! We have more on offer!

In December four E3 Wilderness Journeys across the country will depart with year 12-13 students… it’s not too late to sign up! Limited spaces available.

And if you’re a bit older, check out E3 Young Adults 2024 – with 19-25 year olds in mind! Again, limited spaces, so sign up soon!

Welcome to Mwamba

A visit to A Rocha Kenya

Richard Noble and friend

Richard Noble writes:

In October 2016 I had the privilege of hosting six Kenyan Christians from Nairobi spending time in Wellington. Strong friendships were forged, thus precipitating a return visit to Kenya in November 2017. Having flown to see my new friends in Nairobi, it only made sense also to visit A Rocha Kenya’s Mwamba Field Study Centre and Guesthouse at Watamu on the Indian Ocean coast.


Welcome to Mwamba. [Richard Noble]

This was a decision I did not regret. The warmth of the welcome and hospitality at Mwamba was matched only by the temperature of the ocean. To one used to the waters around Wellington, it felt more like swimming in a warm bath than the sea! I was both humbled and privileged to visit some of the local conservation projects that A Rocha Kenya is involved with: the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, where I joined A Rocha team member Kirau and local volunteers to go tree-monitoring; meeting Festus, the coordinator of ASSETS (Arabuko-Sokoke Schools Eco-Tourism Scheme), which sponsors students who undertake conservation and eco-tourism studies; and the stunning Mida Creek estuary and mangrove swamp – with an induction from expert guide Rose into the differences between white, red, black and yellow mangroves, and a canoe ride on the estuary. And, for sustenance, Alex and his team cooked up a delicious meal of freshly-caught snapper with coconut rice!

Mida Creek boardwalk with Rose. [Richard Noble]

Going to Mwamba was something of a pilgrimage for me. When I was first introduced to A Rocha in New Zealand, a decade ago, the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest conservation project was highlighted as an example of the transformative care of creation that A Rocha was undertaking in diverse places around the planet. Others involved in A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand have spent time as volunteers with A Rocha Kenya and to be able to visit and witness the way A Rocha is empowering the local community to care for the forest and marine habitats, felt like coming full circle.

The Mwamba team. [Richard Noble]

A Rocha has a range of centres where visitors can experience first-hand a community involved in practical conservation work. Many New Zealanders have spent time at these centres or volunteered at other A Rocha projects. For more information on international volunteering opportunities, click here.