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Situated in a natural bush setting adjacent to the Waiwhakaiho River, TOPEC has cabin accommodation, a large commercial kitchen in the main lodge, two classroom areas and separate staff quarters. The off-the-grid Eco Lodge conference and accommodation centre symbolise our environmental sustainability commitment.

As a registered Private Training Establishment (PTE), TOPEC employs qualified teachers alongside highly-qualified, passionate instructors (N.Z. Outdoor Instructors Association (N.Z.O.I.A.) or equivalent.

This combination provides the best learning programmes for the needs of students. Students participate in life-affirming experiences and realise they can influence their life in a positive way.


Learn about our historyteam and facilities below




generosity - honouring, caring and giving mana to people thus maintaining your own.

Ma- ta-u rourou, ma- taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

With your contribution and my contribution, the people will thrive.

  • exhibit the capacity and natural inclination to respond, nurture, and care for others;

  • have integrity and mana;

  • have a sense of occasion;  be welcoming; demonstrate hospitality;

  • show generosity of spirit;  be giving and understand the importance of, and demonstrate reciprocity;

  • be strong in tautoko qualities (support; value that one person’s success is the success of the group).


family values - relationships

Ma- te tuakana ka to- tika te te-ina; Ma- te te-ina; ka to- tika te tuakana

By the elder’s actions the younger will find the right path.

The reverse is also true. The younger keeps the older on the straight path, because of the responsibility the older one bears.

  • form, strengthen & maintain bonds with peers;

  • value and promote loyalty and inclusiveness;

  • be a role model, team player, and connect well with others;

  • demonstrate an awareness of relationships and positions;

  • be aware of their responsibility, especially in relationship to others;

  • be strong in tautoko (support: value that one person’s success is the success of the group).


care taker / guardianship of knowledge, environment and resources.

Toi te kupu, toi te mana, toi te whenua

Guard the permanence of language, mana, and land.

  • a very strong awareness of global environmental issues and responsibility;

  • recognizes that human welfare and care for the environment are inextricably linked;

  • is  perceptive – aware of the need to nurture and maintain knowledge, environment & resources for the short term or long term future;

  • demonstrates that need comes before self;

  • a gifted storyteller: have an excellent memory, knowledge of and pride in linking whakapapa, iwi, geography.



TOPEC was formed in 1986 as a charitable trust to provide outdoor education for Taranaki school students. Qualified teachers have always been employed and TOPEC has continued to commit to helping people connect with the outdoors; providing activities, training and educational opportunities that allow for individuals and groups to challenge themselves and develop new skills.

In 2017, TOPEC became a Private Training Establishment accredited by NZQA to deliver qualifications on the New Zealand Framework and assess NCEA achievement and unit standards.

Our History


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