People having fun planting trees

Get Involved

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Schools & Early Childhood Centres

Town Belt Kaitiaki (TBK) is a flexible all-of-school programme that schools can incorporate at many different levels and integrate into their curriculum at their own pace. If integrated into the curriculum, TBK should not add to teacher workload.

Learning can be centred around simple activities in the classroom, your school grounds or the Town Belt. Several TBK schools and early childhood centres have also taken a long-term approach, adopting a nearby patch of the Town Belt for improvement, a context for research, or as a space for regular outdoor education and/or nature play. 

What can TBK do for you and your school:

  • Help identify and plan projects that will compliment what’s already happening within schools.
  • Connect students and teachers with local experts and educators. 
  • Provide teachers with support, resources, and professional development opportunities.
  • Facilitate collaborative project opportunities across partner schools and community groups. 
Boy with research in the town belt


Being involved in TBK means making a difference in your community as part of schoolwork, right now. ‘Kaitiaki’ means ‘guardian’ in Māori, and refers to anyone who is helping the Town Belt – including all the animals and plants that live there, and the people who love to spend time there.

As a Town Belt Kaitiaki you might find yourself building bug motels, helping to plant native trees, developing websites, making short films, writing a blog, analysing real data about Town Belt wildlife, painting murals, creating a Town Belt poetry trail, developing a nature-based orienteering course or recording a podcast – the opportunities are endless! And all the while you’ll get to work alongside community experts, have fun with your peers, and learn life-long leadership skills.

There are several ways to become a Town Belt Kaitiaki: 

  • Classroom Projects – Design a Town Belt Kaitiaki project.
  • Student-led Inquiry – Use the Town Belt as a learning context.
  • Join an Envirogroup – Give your school’s Envirogroup a Town Belt focus. There are many ways you and your peers can make a difference in the Town Belt, from rubbish clean-ups to growing native plants from seed at school.  
  • Become a TBK Student Leader – TBK’s Student Leadership Team consists of student representatives from each of the programmes participating schools. Together they set the vision and goals for what they want schools to achieve in the Town Belt. Some student leaders enjoy getting experience in leadership, governance and planning alongside community experts, while others value being role models with activities such as planting, trapping, and building bug motels. Ask your school’s TBK Link Teacher or the Education Coordinator about how to become a student leader.


Supporting young people can be extremely rewarding, especially when the focus is on applied learning within a healthy outdoors context. There are several ways in which the community can get involved with Town Belt Kaitiaki:

  • Strategic Leadership Group – This is the governance group that guides the TBK education programme. For information about how your education facility, community group, organisation or government department can get involved in the governance of the TBK education programme – check out the CCEM for Stakeholders Guide.
  • Community Experts – we always welcome inspirational people who are passionate about helping students achieve their vision and goals for the Town Belt. If you have an idea for a student-led project with a Town Belt focus, please tell us about it! Some of the organisations TBK works closely with include: City Sanctuary, Enviroschools, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Open VUE, Otago Museum, University of Otago, Otago Polytech, the Halo Project and the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group. 
  • Environmental Educators – If you’re passionate about education in the outdoors and would like to inspire others by sharing your expertise, please let us know! 
  • Community Events – TBK organise and are involved in a number of different community events throughout the year – such as the NZ International Science Festival, Conservation and Volunteer Weeks and the Dunedin Amenity Society’s Town Belt Traverse; and we’d love for you to join us!
  • Volunteers – Volunteering for TBK is a great opportunity to meet people, get active, enjoy the outdoors, and truly make a difference in your community. Tasks might include working with the programmes Education Coordinator to organise and support TBK activities and events, assisting the Student Leadership Team to develop and carry out various conservation projects throughout the Town Belt, or helping with the creation of TBK content to share on our website and socials.

For more information, you can download our TBK Volunteer Role Description or email

To register your interest, please fill out our new (online) TBK Volunteer Registration Form.