Welby Ings, Auckland, New Zealand
Professor of Design, Filmmaker
Welby Ings is a Professor in Design. He is an elected Fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts and has been a consultant to many international organisations on issues of creativity and learning. He is also a multi-award winning designer, illustrator, author and filmmaker. He has taught at all levels of the New Zealand school system and currently co-ordinates the PhD programme in practice-led design research at AUT University. Although he holds professorial positions in a number of international universities, until the age of 15 Welby could neither read nor write. He was expelled from secondary school and later suspended from Teachers' College.
Welby has written and spoken extensively on dehumanized systems of teaching, our obsession with performance, and the benefits of disobedient thought. His newest book Disobedient Teaching has been influential both in New Zealand and overseas, in questioning the nature of assessment, leadership and relevance in education.
In 2001 Dr Ings was awarded the Prime Minister's inaugural, Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence and in 2014 he was awarded the AUT University medal for his contributions to research and creativity.
Keynote Presentation: Out Of The Safety Net: Learning Beyond Ritual
This address is image led. It looks at how we move thinking out of the safety net of preconceived responses and pre-imagined outcomes. Prefigured by a look at what has shaped attitudes underpinning formal education in Aotearoa/New Zealand, it considers the true nature of neurodiverse intelligence and how this might be resourced using open text environments, play and the dissolution of our national preoccupation with comparative testing.
Dr Ihirangi Heke, Waikato/Tainui, New Zealand
Health and Physical Education Consultant
Dr Ihirangi Heke, of Tainui-Waikato descent, was raised in the South Island mountain adventure environment, before it was popularly known as such. A graduate of Otago University, he has lectured there and built a career based on helping athletes, both ordinary and elite, achieve goals beyond their expectations. Over the past 10 years he has been active in helping Mãori and other indigenous groups abroad, build their own health and wellness activities based on their traditional environmental knowledge. On any one day of the week you might find Ihi mountain biking with Te Arawa people in Rotorua, playing traditional games with students in Kaikohe, at a trekking meeting in the snow in Japan, or in a virtual meeting with colleagues from Auckland University, Brookings Institute Washington, and a marae in Uawa. This is all part of him joining the dots to enable Mãori and other indigenous peoples to define and determine their own health pathways and solutions as defined by their local environments.
Keynote Presentation: An Introduction to Working with Maori Environmental Science
Nathan Fa'avae, Nelson, New Zealand
Ten Events Ltd, Outdoor Educator, Adventure Racer
Nathan joins the Natural Phenomena Conference with a few feathers in his cap. He is a highly qualified and acclaimed Outdoor Educator having worked as an Outward Bound instructor and Ambassador. He is currently the Patron of Whenua iti Outdoors and is known for his work with at-risk long-term unemployed youth.
An entrepreneur in the adventure industry, Nathan has won a New Zealand business award in the adventure tourism sector. His events company hosts the biggest adventure race in the world - the Spring Challenge. He is a founding director of outdoor nutrition company, Absolute Wilderness freeze dried meals. In his spare time, Nathan captains the country's elite adventure racing team.
Keynote Presentation: Expanding Perceptions, Adventure Parenting
The father of three teenage children, Nathan will share stories of how he and his wife have raised their children including their aims, philosophies and actions. Be warned! What he calls family holidays most would call major expeditions.
Niki Buchan, Dunsborough, Western Australia
Natural Learning Early Childhood Consultancy
With a biomedical background, Niki has lived and worked in South Africa and Scotland and has been calling Australia home since 2011. She has a great love for the outdoors and has been working with both adults and young children in very consultative, naturalistic and sensorial environments both indoors and outdoors for more than 35 years. She has vast experience working directly with children and educators as an educator, pedagogical leader, head of centres, as well as founder and owner of her own child care and education centres. She works internationally as a conference keynote speaker, nature pedagogue, mentor and author. Niki has developed a reputation as a strong advocate for children's right to a high-quality childhood with a deep concern about children's mental health and trauma. She believes children have a right to regular access to nature and trusts children as being capable and competent including their ability to assess and take their own risks and face challenges.
Keynote Presentation: Climbing Trees and Smelling Dandelions! Working with Children and Nature
Many children do not get their regular dose of Nature. We will explore the benefits to children in spending time in outdoor, nature filled spaces. Not just physical benefits but mental, social, emotional, academic and intellectual benefits as they investigate and play in a largely unstructured natural environment. Supervision and the sensitive dance between interference and high quality interaction, what it means for children to be as safe as necessary and the danger of trying to keep children as safe as possible.