EcoQuest is situated in Whakatīwai, on three acres of seaside property, on the shores of Tīkapa Moana the Firth of Thames. Whakatīwai is in the rohe of Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Whanaunga, our local iwi. EcoQuest is firmly embedded in the community, which includes Kaiaua, a small village of approximately 400 residents. The Wharekawa Marae is just 500 metres up the road from EcoQuest.
The large wharekai (eating house) is our main communal building which doubles as a classroom and dining room. This building makes the most of the open space and sun, and students often spend time outside on the large deck.
Student accommodation consists of cabins with 2-3 students per cabin along with shared bathroom facilities. A separate house provides a student lounge and study spaces. There is on-site accommodation for some staff. The gardens provide lots of room for play, lounging in hammocks, and for growing vegetables and fruit. Students have access to internet facilities (please note EcoQuest is in a rural area where the capacity of these services is limited at times).
The library is in the administration building, and there is a small laboratory for identification and cataloguing of specimens.
The field centre is a microcosm of decision making, as well as understanding and modelling sustainability. Students are involved in growing food, maintaining the plantings (food for people, food for native species, biodiversity values, amenity values). All chores are shared (e.g. cooking, cleaning, caring for the grounds and equipment).
Students are an active part of a learning community where sustainability is a guiding principle. They are empowered to become catalysts for change and for sustainable living.