• 2022 Term 4 (Oct-Dec)

Date & Time:

4 bi-weekly sessions:

  • Wed 26 Oct 2022: Gabrielle Woodd, Riverlea Environmental Society, Inc

  • Wed 9 Nov 2022: Leanne Steel, Whaingaroa Weedbusters

  • Wed 23 Nov 2022: Kristel van Houte, A Rocha & Karioi Project

  • Wed 21 Sept: Dr Erana Walker, University of Waikato

ENV216: Ecological Restoration and Mental Health

Co-organised by Go Eco and EarthDiverse

Four guest speakers share their perspectives on the relationship between ecological restoration and mental health.

Wed 26 Oct 2022, 7:30-8:30pm

Gabrielle Woodd, Riverlea Environment Society Inc

A path to restoration: My talk will be about my journey to wellness from the depths of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) through rediscovering the healing power of the ngahere.

Wed 9 Nov 2022, 7:30-8:30pm

Leanne Steel, Whaingaroa Weedbusters

I work as a mental health nurse currently with the over 65 age group. I also took the initiative and spend a lot of my time in Whaingaroa / Raglan managing pest plants out of the environment to make way for native species and hopefully enticing the birds and insects in greater numbers too. I seek to encourage and support others to do the same. This work fills me up and as a happy side effect I've made new friends and we share meals and have a laugh. My cup runneth over. Intrinsically we all understand somehow that being in nature is good for us. In times of change and upheaval I find nature is a welcome constant. Something sure and familiar, providing comfort and reassurance. As someone famous once said, a strength and stay. Ecopsychology is an emerging science. A blend of Ecology - the study of the relationships between living organisms - and Psychology, the study of the human mind. And at the heart of Ecopsychology is the concept of reciprocal restoration. That sounds pretty obvious. But wait, there's so much more to it. Tune in!

Wed 23 Nov 2022, 7:30-8:30pm

Kristel van Houte, A Rocha & Karioi Project

How does time in nature support us spiritually and mentally? What can we learn as we delve deeper and explore our connection to whenua, and how might this support and empower others? Kristel shares learnings from her work with Te Whakaoranga O Karioi (The Karioi project) and A Rocha Aotearoa NZ. Connecting community and rangatahi/tamariki to their local ecosystems (whenua, wai, moana) we can create a sense of belonging and inspire the next generation of kaitiaki, while also improving our mental health and wellbeing. Kristel is the National Director of A Rocha Aotearoa NZ and the Karioi Project Manager in Whāingaroa / Raglan. Prior to this Kristel was a Marine & Freshwater Ecologist at NIWA (NZ) and in American Samoa and Kenya. A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand is part of the A Rocha family of faith based environmental conservation organisations currently active in over 20 countries around the world. In Aotearoa New Zealand, we seek to inspire, educate and enable communities to care for our unique environment. A Rocha Aotearoa NZ is actively engaged in practical community conservation work through its network of local group projects and as a partner in the Karioi Project and through our education programmes and the Eco Church NZ project.

Wed 7 Dec 2022, 7:30-8:30pm

Erana Walker

Erana is a descendant of Te Tai Tokerau, with whakapapa to Te Parawhau and Ngāti Ruamahue as well as connections to Ngāti Porou and Ngai Te Rangi. She currently resides in Kirikiriroa and has undertaken research related to kaitiakitanga, with her most recent research exploring how this concept can be practiced in urban spaces. Her discussion will focus on the benefits of practicing kaitiakitanga and how this can contribute to mental health and well-being.

Course curriculum

    1. Speaker: Gabrielle Woodd, Riverlea Environmental Society, Inc

    2. ARTICLE: What the World Will Lose if Ancient Trees Die Out, by Jared Farmer

    3. 20221026 T4.1 Ecological Restoration & Mental Health video

    1. Speaker: Leanne Steel, Whaingaroa Weedbusters

    2. 20221109 T4.2 ENV216 Ecological Restoration & Mental Health w/ Leanne Steel PDF

    3. 20221109 T4.4 ENV216 Ecological Restoration & Mental Health video

    4. "Is There an Ecological Unconscious?" New York Times article, 27 January 2010

    1. Speaker: Kristel van Houte, A Rocha & Karioi Project

    2. 20221123 T4.3 ENV216 Kristel van Houte presentation PDF

    3. 20221123 T4.3 ENV216 video

    1. Speaker: Dr Erana Walker, University of Waikato

    2. 20221207 T4.8 ENV216 video

    3. 20221207 T4.4 ENV216 Dr Erana Walker presentation PDF

    4. Kei hea te tangi a te Tūī? An exploration of Kaitiakitanga in urban spaces (2021) - PhD Thesis by Erana Walker

About this course

  • Free
  • 14 lessons
  • 4 hours of video content


All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse Centre located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. This seminar series is offered as a hybrid course with both an in-person component and an on-line LIve-stream option via Zoom.

Distance Learning:

This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton, New Zealand. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:

  • Attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time. In-person seating is limited so let us know during registration if you plan to come in to the EarthDiverse Centre for these seminars. Tea & coffee provided!

  • Attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time.

  • Watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.

Distance-Learning option:

  • In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.

  • Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.

  • Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.

Pricing options

The live recordings and PDF presentation materials from this course are posted 1-2 days after each live session. You can gain access to this course for free, but providing the suggested donation amount (NZ$45) helps us cover costs and continue to make these courses available at low or no cost, although any donation helps us defray costs! Many thanks for your contribution!


  • Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.

  • This seminar has no assignments, quizzes, tests or exams.

  • All classes encourage questions and group discussion.

  • PDF copies of each class presentation, where appropriate, are posted to the course webpage 1-2 days after each session so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!

  • Course fees include tea/coffee/snack for those coming in to the EarthDiverse Centre.

  • There are no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes can be made up by watching the on-line recording of the class session, which is usually posted within 24 hours.

  • Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single session without registering.

  • Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.


  • There are no prerequisites for this course.

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