Day 2 kicked of with a healthy shared breakfast, and a caffeine boost thanks to Sherpa Coffee and Nature Matters Milk. As per UnSchool tradition, fellows and team members then took turns sharing something special that they had brought from their hometowns, ranging from songs to sweet treats, Californian beer and a jar of 140km/h wind! The team turned it out!

This was followed by a chat with Mark McEntyre, senior Design lecturer at Ara, who helped establish our home base, ArtBox. The modular space was developed to create change, evoke community response and explore new ideas after the Canterbury earthquakes.

D2_USNZ_Leyla slide.jpg

Like clockwork, we flew straight into a systems thinking session. With the fellows already having some systems knowledge under their belt (thanks to the online classes they took before joining us for the fellowship), we were able to go straight to the nitty gritty of understanding complex human and regenerative systems.


Framing the session around education systems, the key message boiled down to having agency and autonomy over what you are exploring – so that you don’t deflect responsibility of the things you can’t control. Best quote, so far, comes from Leyla: “We’re all rebellious savages deep down inside.”

unschool systems mapping
chch cluster
systems mapping unschools style

After absorbing the key points, fellows broke into groups to cluster map their view of an education system, discovering hyper-cluster points and sharing their insights with the group.

The Leyla quote qouta gained a point in the discussion with, “Check yourself before you wreckity-wreck yourself”. *mic drop*

unschoolnz chch karma kola

That felt like an appropriate moment to pause and refuel – before we ‘wreckity-wrecked’ ourselves. We shared a picnic lunch of delicious salads in the sun, and were able to quench our thirst with some Karma Cola.

mentor nick gerritsen, unschoolnz

Hungry for more (information that is), we turned to our first guest mentor, Nick Gerritsen – and he definitely satisfied the fellows' appetites. Speaking about his background in radio among other ventures, one key message was “if you get your audience right, you can compel them to change”.

Nick shared so many gems with everyone, it is impossible to document them all. The fellows were absolutely buzzing from this session. Before Nick set them off on a group challenge, he left us with “you as individuals can all change the world.” That’s what we are here for, right?

live the dream, unschoolnz group

Our final guests for the day were from the Live the Dream Fellowship, a 9-week social enterprise accelerator program in New Zealand. Fellows of that programme, Tia and Tane, ran the session. Their primary focus was to reconnect disengaged Maori youth with their culture. 

After describing the four pillars of Whare Tapa Wha, a traditional Maori health and well-being model, conceptualised through the essential cornerstones of a whare (house) and based around hinengaro (mind), tinana (body), wairua (spirit) and whanau (family), Tia and Tane threw it out to the crowd to see what our values were.

In groups, fellows presented their key values, some of which were showcased with more songs (bring on UnSchools Got Talent?). Tia and Tane closed their session with a traditional haka that captivated the room.

unschoolnz brain box reflection

To wind up a long day, fellows were given not one, not two, but three tasks. We ended with co-host Craig’s reflection session ‘Brain Food’. Fellows responded to question cards that asked things like “What I am hungry to learn more about?” and submitted their cards into our “brain box”. At the end of the activity, we tossed around and gobbled up a pretty fresh UnSchool salad.

unschoolnz fellows dinner

Speaking of salad, it was time group fellows together and send them off too some great dinner locations around Christchurch. Before leaving, fellows were handed an envelope - surprise challenge time!

...Stay tuned to find out what our UnSchool fellows come up with!