Waitati Primary School is an ‘Enviroschool’ (a school whose entire curriculum is based around the main theme of sustainability) with a school roll of sixty-five pupils located approximately twenty kilometres north of Dunedin. The intent of this project was to examine the Waitati Enviroschool, and investigate the place that Enviroschools have within mainstream education in New Zealand. The aim was to take an indigenous approach towards health, well-being and identity, and study how the Enviroschool can facilitate better health, well-being and identity within a specific area. Three particular models of indigenous health and well-being were used to provide appropriate components for this investigation. These were the Te Wheke model (Pere, 2008), the Te Pou Mahutonga and Te Whare Tapa Wha models (Durie, 2008a, 2008b, respectively) and the land-based Te Pae Mahutonga model (Panelli & Tipa, 2007). Selected components of these models included whānau (family), marae (communal learning establishment), waiora (environmental protection), and taha wairua (spiritual health) to demonstrate the positive overall health and well-being which was apparent in the kaupapa of Enviroschools in general, and the opinions presented by the community members in regards to Waitati Enviroschool in particular. Interviews were conducted with three key members of the Waitati community who had both an involvement with the school, and wider community. They were asked a variety of questions based on their knowledge, and feelings towards Waitati school in particular, and Enviroschools in general. Their answers were compared with the basic philosophy and aims set out by Enviroschools in general and also in terms of indigenous perspectives of health, well-being and identity. The results emphasise the need to re-define the way in which we conceptualise health and well-being in New Zealand. They also reinforce the value of indigenous perspectives, especially within a quasi-mainstream educational institution. In addition, the project has demonstrated the value of engaging in research for communities.

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