The Whenua Iti Foundation

When you come on an ExpedNZ Program 100% of the profit will be directed into the Whenua Iti Foundation. The foundation is governed by the Whenua Iti Trust, who governs the various operational arms of the organisation: Whenua Iti Outdoors, Whenua Iti Foundation and ExpedNZ.

The Foundation Explained

Experiential Education New Zealand (ExpedNZ) is the International arm of Whenua Iti Outdoors (est 1986). As the main operational arm of the Whenua Iti Trust, Whenua Iti Outdoors has been designing and delivering experiential learning programs to achieve positive change in individuals and communities for 35 years. Whenua Iti Outdoors works with over 2000 young New Zealanders every year and is one of the most well-respected experiential education providers in the country.
> View the Whenua Iti Outdoors website 

'Whenua Iti' translates from Māori to 'small piece of land' in English. Our site may be small, but we aim to achieve big things in the community through the Whenua Iti Foundation.


Whenua Iti Foundation established to support local youth

As a not-for-profit, Whenua Iti Trust is reliant on grants & funding. The Whenua Iti Foundation was established to make our funding more sustainable in the longer term, with demand for our programs being greater than our resources available. The foundation offers scholarships, programmes & events to enable individuals and communities to benefit from a connection to the outdoors.

100% of ExpedNZ profit used for 'good'

In keeping with the not-for-profit, charitable mandate of Whenua Iti Outdoors, 100% of any associated revenue generated through the ExpedNZ programs is directed straight into the Whenua Iti Foundation that is established for the provision of experiential learning programs in support of the youth of our region.

By supporting ExpedNZ you support youth wellbeing

The ExpedNZ revenue directed into the Whenua Iti Foundation is used to support youth wellbeing in our community. Sadly, youth suicide rates in NZ are among the highest in the OECD. Our programs are designed to promote wellbeing through being active and connecting with nature in the outdoors, building confidence and helping youth find new ways to learn.

The youth wellbeing outcomes our programs focus on are:

  • Personal growth and development
  • Increased educational achievement
  • Improved employability
  • Improved mental wellbeing
  • Increased physical wellbeing
  • Increased pride in culture and identity
  • A strong connection to nature
  • Contribution to community

Ignite: An example of the foundation at work

The Ignite Youth Development Program is funded by a local donor to promote leadership & personal growth in teenage boys when they start secondary school (ages 13-16). The program has been developed in partnership with a local high school and the Whenua Iti Foundation to inspire positive change across a mentored 3 year program.

Whenua Iti Trust Board Members

Our volunteer board members are selected for their commitment to our kaupapa, governance expertise, community knowledge and sector specialisations.

Pip Lynch, Chair

I've always been attracted to mountains, forests, deserts and other remote places. Being outdoors made sense to me; it allowed me to succeed in physical activities and fit in socially. I realised that other young people felt similarly and that lead to my involvement in outdoor education. I've worked as an outdoor instructor, school teacher (briefly), university lecturer in outdoor and environmental education, researcher of outdoor education, and volunteer member of governance boards within the outdoor education sector. My motivation is always to support opportunities for people to develop their own capacities for travelling through and living in natural areas, and for finding peace, inspiration and satisfaction from engaging with natural areas. When I first visited Whenua Iti in the early 1990s, I was impressed with the opportunities that the centre offered and I am still very impressed. It is a privilege to serve on the Trust Board.

Whenua Iti Trust Staff

Nicki Bensemann, Minute Secretary

When I look back at the life changing learning times in my life, they are mostly centred around opportunities for ‘Experiential Learning’ in the outdoors. Times when I was really challenged and pushed outside of my comfort zones. These have included Outdoor Pursuits Centre, a Spirit of Adventure sailing voyage and more recently a trip to rural Nepal and trekking in the Himalayas. It is a desire to share this learning, to see and encourage others push into hard spaces, learning to become the best version of themselves, that gives me such a huge amount of satisfaction. As a teenager moving into the district I became aware of Whenua Iti Outdoors (WIO) and at various times my 3 now teen boys have all benefited from the programmes run here. As a newcomer to the position of Board Minute Secretary I consider it a privilege to be able to offer my enthusiasm, skills and 30+ yrs experience as a Chartered Accountant, Trustee and Board Secretary to this team.

Want to find out more about a program or have a question for us?
Talk to one of our friendly team - we're happy to help.