The Natural Education Network Conference - 17 till 19 November 2023
The Natural Phenomena Conference - a Nature Education Conference in the outdoors

The Natural Phenomena Conference The Nature Education Conference

17th – 19th November 2023,                                                                                            Redwood Valley Farm – 814 Allport Road, Paengaroa (between Tauranga & Rotorua).

 ~ a Nature Education Conference in the outdoors ~

The Nature Education Conference: Empowering you to bring the wonder and joy of nature to young children.

Imagine spending an entire weekend listening to world leaders and inspirational speakers. All the while connecting yourself to the beauty that surrounds you.

Join a growing worldwide movement of educators, parents, playscape designers, academics and policy makers who believe nature is a powerful teacher and experiencing risk is its ally.

There’s something for everyone. Creative workshops, informative workshops, discussions. and the speakers. Wow. I take away so much and it’s always heartfelt. This is the place to be!”

Niki Buchan, Keynote speaker 2019

“This is the conference I had always dreamed about, only I didn’t know I was dreaming it”

Rusty Keeler, keynote speaker 2010

The Natural Phenomena Conference You’ll experience 2 ½ days of:

❉ World class speakers & presentations

❉ Engaging practical and nurturing workshops

❉ Thought/practice/life-changing conversations

❉ Delicious lunches and dinners served al fresco

❉ A majestic venue and the earth beneath your feet

❉ Hands-on workshops

❉ Play and creativity

❉ And plenty of heart and magic!

“A must do! Next time I’ll bring my team. Food for my soul that I can pass onto our mokopuna/tamariki.”

Delegate 2013

The Natural Phenomena Conference What you’ll take home

❉ Techniques to help you implement nature-based play/projects in your centre, school, home and environment

❉ The latest research of why getting children into nature is so important

❉ Replenishment on a professional and personal level

❉ Memories of a unique conference experience, the only of its kind in NZ

❉ Connection with a community of educators and parents you can relate to

❉ A relationship to nature you may not have felt before

Registration fees 2023 Conference 17th – 19th November 2023 (all incl GST)

Please note: A booking fee of 5% of the total cost of each registration will also be charged on top of the below prices.

Early Bird Registration
$550 (Early Bird closes August 31st)
Standard Registration
Student Discount
$100 discount off any of the above options for a Student enrolled in a Full Time course – Proof of student ID required
Group discount
Four or more from the same centre – 7% further discount to above prices!! (Does not include students).
Scholarships open now. Scroll down to find further information.

Registration Information
This year we are changing our booking system and using the Event Plus Platform. You will require your own login to register or someone from your centre to create a group booking (4 or more). You will be able to pay by credit card directly.  You will also have the option to purchase event booking insurance with your registration. We strongly encourage you to take up this insurance so you are covered for unforeseen circumstances (T&C’s are available below on the XCover Booking Insurance tab).

Programme 2023

FRIDAY – 17th November

1.00pm Registrations open. Camp set up.
2.15pm Gather for Opening (Meet at Redwood Log Cabin at the camping/registrations)
2.30pm Conference Opening
3.30pm Afternoon Tea
4.00pm Introductions
4.30pm Keynote Address: Wiremu Matthews
5.30pm Team Building Activity (1.5hrs)
7.30pm Dinner

SATURDAY 18th November

8.45am Main Marquee – Spot Prizes
9.00am Keynote Address: Jase Te Patu
10.30am Stall Holder Meet & Greet (Market Stalls open 10.30am – 2pm)
10.45am Morning Tea
11.30am Workshops – No. 1 (1.5 hrs)
1.00pm Lunch
2.00pm Keynote Address: Rachel Maia
3.00pm Afternoon Tea
3.30pm Workshops – No. 2 (1.5 hrs)
5.00pm – 6.30pm Soul Time
7.00pm Dinner
8.00pm Entertainment

SUNDAY 19th November

8.45am Main Marquee spot prizes
09.00am Keynote Address: Kimberley Crisp
10.00am Morning Tea
10:30am Workshops – No. 3 (1.5 hrs)
12.00pm Closing Ceremony

directions to the Natural Phenomena Conference
Redwood Valley Farm

Paengaroa, Te Puke, New Zealand

Redwood Valley farm is in a rural area roughly half way between Tauranga and Rotorua. The address is 814B Allport Road. (Click on the map to get directions).

The conference is conducted outdoors on a beautiful working farm surrounded by lots of bush and an amazing stream.

Most of our delegates prefer to camp at the venue adding experience to theory. Don’t worry the showers are hot!
Click on the ‘Camping Notes’ tab for more information.

Wild Woods - location of the Natural Phenomena Conference

The Natural Phenomena Conference

Accommodation – Camping

Camping is extremely popular amongst the delegates, and most people choose to camp. You get to truly experience the wonder of the wild woods, and are able to stay in the energy of the conference.

camping2camping1 camping3

We wholeheartedly encourage camping at the venue as it a worth while experience.

We provide good campground facilities with hot showers and toilets, please supply your own camping equipment.

The cost for the camping is $50 per person for two nights.

Click on the ‘Camping Notes’ tab for more information.


Other accommodation options:

Beacon Motel, 173 Jellicoe St, Te Puke 

Te Puke Holiday Park, 581 Jellicoe St, Te Puke

VR Rotorua Lake Resort, 366 State Highway 33, Rotorua

Tasman Holiday Parks, 535 Papamoa Beach Road, Papamoa, Tauranga

Some more under:
Book a bach website




and Hello Campers,

We are looking forward to meeting you and providing a unique camping experience at the conference venue.

Here is a little bit of information for you about the camping facilities and what you may wish to bring. The campsite is the grassy area around the Log Cabin. You may bring you car here to unload your gear, then we asking you to take it to the designated parking area by the Chalet.

So the key point is you need to bring everything you may need for camping.


  • A Tent + Hammer for tent pegs
  • Something to sleep on
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillows
  • Torch with functioning batteries
  • Food for breakfasts (your morning tea, lunches, afternoon tea and dinners are provided for the duration of the conference – please refer to the program for more details)
  • Food for midnight snacks
  • Plates, Cups, Utensils you may need for breakfasts or cups of tea and coffee. (And if you bring all that, something to wash things in)
  • Chilly Bin (with Ice) to keep food/milk cold.
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Warm clothes, sun protection, rain protection
  • Personal toiletries
  • Towel

There is water at Redwood Valley Farm, but you will need water bottles.

Showers and Toilets
We are providing toilets and there are showers (and flush toilets) located back at the Wool Shed. We have a lot of people who choose the camping option, so we need to ask that you be considerate when using the showers and limit your shower to a few mins each.
In the mornings there will be queue for the shower so either use this opportunity to chat to someone you have not met before or if you are pressed for time, put your towel in line, nip away for your breakfast, while your towel holds your spot.

Quiet Hours
To be respectful of everyone that is camping we please ask that you are quiet between the hours of 10pm and 7am. Be careful of slamming toilet doors. If you would like to socialise you are very welcome to sit in the Main Marquee or around the bonfire.

And last but not least B.Y.O some beautiful summer weather and a big smile.

The Natural Phenomena Conference FAQFrequently Asked Questions

Is the conference only for early childhood educators?
The conference is of interest to anyone who is involved with children of any age and those involved in land- and play-scape design. The subject matter has a broad base and would appeal to those interested in the positive role nature has in our lives.

If I fly to Tauranga / Rotorua is there transport to and from the conference venue?
The best thing to do is ask on our Facebook page.  There are lots of people who are passing through both of these towns and carpooling might be an option.

I really want to come. When do I have to pay by?
We now use the ticketing platform ‘Event Plus’ for our registrations.  Once you have filled in your registration you will be directed to pay by Stripe (Credit Card) to complete your booking. There is a 5% booking fee charged on the total amount. You will also be given the option to purchase XCover protection (booking insurance) for an additional 8%. 

What if something comes up and I can’t make it or it is cancelled?
Nature Education Network Incorporated – Cancellation Policy
Should you need to cancel your registration, you are welcome to reassign it to another person. If you are unable to arrange a replacement, you may transfer it to the following year.

At the time of registration you are offered XCover Genius (Booking Insurance) for 8% of the total cost of your registration. We strongly recommend you consider this option so you are covered for any unforeseen circumstances (e.g. poor health, injury, bereavement, or travel disruption etc). (* T&C’s are available on the website  If you have chosen not to take out XCover Genius, no refund will be offered.

Is the campsite far from the venue?
The camping area is adjacent to the venue and a short walk through the trees. Parking is at the Chalet area. Click on the Camping Notes tab for more information about camping.

What about other accommodation?
The venue is roughly halfway between the city of Tauranga and Rotorua. Please see our accommodation link for further options.

Is there cell phone reception and wi-fi at the venue?
No there is no cell phone reception. You will need to go for a drive to find reception. There is no wi-fi. Part of the charm of camping and being in nature is having a tech holiday. Enjoy the peace!

Can I bring my campervan?
Yes. The camping charges are the same for tents and campervans/caravans.

What if it rains?
Of course we have booked in marvellous weather for the weekend, but since there is “no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” please come prepared. Days can be hot (or cold) and nights can be cold too.

I have special dietary needs
Upon registration, let us know your requirements and we will make sure you are catered for.

I have a question that’s not here
Please use below form to email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


We delighted to award a complementary scholarship for a Full Registration to a student living in New Zealand.  So send us your application telling us why we should sponsor you to the conference. You can send us an email to: Also, sign up to our Newsletter or join our Facebook Page and we will keep you informed of progress.

Scholarships close on the 27th of August 2023.

Previous Scholarship Winners Feedback
We have had a large number of amazing applications over the years, and we wish that we could have give everyone a scholarship!

2022 Scholarships

❉ Nicolette Boyd, 

Feedback from Nicolette: I have been involved with the ECE sector for 20 years and have attended a wide range of professional development. The Natural Phenomena conference was like nothing I have ever attended. Mind blowing! Firstly, the range of topics/workshops were unique and refreshing, very different to the same old PD thats on offer year after year. The presenters were incredibly inspiring, passionate and talented. The smaller size of the workshops meant you had an intimate experience where you could connect with the presenter and other attendees, making the information shared very meaningful and highly retainable. The key note speakers were incredible! The best!  The Wild Woods was an amazing venue. A deeply healing and special place. It made sense that for a nature conference to be immersed in nature, this ngahere certainly elevated my experience and gave me a deep connection with nature and connected me back to myself. I left the conference feeling a renewed connection and appreciation to my work with children and families,  my purpose and way forward seemed clear. Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend, I am truly grateful.

Tara Solomon, Warkworth
Feedback from Tara: “The Natural Phenomena Conference was inspiring, enriching and thought provoking, and I hope that my experience will enhance my ability as an educator.”
❉ Sally Edgar, Wellington
Feedback from Sally: “Looking back since then I can say with certainty that the conference has had a significant life-changing impact upon my life, and teaching practice and pedagogy.”
❉ Cheryl Thomas, Auckland

2014 Scholarships
❉ Bridget O’Leary from Nelson
❉ Susan Bailey from Wellington
The winner of the Northland Complimentary Ticket was
❉ Ranee Bell from Kaitaia.

2013 Scholarship
Our winners of last years scholarships certainly appreciated their experience. See some of their feedback:
❉ Anna Tripp, Taipa, Doubtless Bay
“An awesome & powerful grounding experience for teachers, educators and parents. Bring forth your soul”
❉ Anna Wilson, Arohanui Early Learning Centre, Kerikeri.


XCover Booking Insurance

This year we will be offering all delegates the opportunity to purchase XCover Protection for an additional 8% on their registration fee. This gives you insurance to cover you for any unforeseen circumstances (e.g. poor health, injury, bereavement, or travel disruption) that prevent you from attending the conference. Any delegates opting to not take out the event booking insurance must accept they will be offered our regular cancellation terms and conditions.

Here is the link for full XCover Terms & Conditions.

Should you need to make a claim here are the details to do so: Make a Claim