Welcome to Aroha Discovery School

Aroha Discovery School is an independent school for 5 – 13 year olds, born from the desire of Nelson parents for a more holistic approach to education. The fundamental tenet of our school is that relationships (between students, teachers, parents, nature and the wider community) are the foundation from which students will continually spark their creativity and desire to learn, grow and thrive as confident individuals.


We chose to use Aroha in our name because it means “love” in Māori. A corner stone of Aroha Discovery School is to nurture our children’s’ inborn love of learning – letting them lead the way. The teacher’s role is viewed as providing scaffolding to support them as they travel along their own personal journey of discovery.

As learning is a personal experience relevant only to the individual we do not use norm-referenced tests and examinations. However, private assessments are seen as being useful at times.

At Aroha Discovery School the child is at the centre of their own learning and are encouraged at all times, in all areas to compare their work and skills with their own previous achievements and their own goals. The capacity to use a skill and expand on it, is taken as demonstrating possession of that skill and these are documented using learning stories and portfolios.

Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash


We all need to feel we are understood, valued and supported to be able to effectively learn and grow as individuals. At Aroha Discovery School learning to build and maintain healthy relationships with each other (whether it’s with another student, teacher, parent or people in the wider community) is central to our students learning and involves established conflict resolution methods for problem solving between individuals.

Our culture is one of respect – for each other, for the importance of and freedom to learn, and for Papatūānuku (mother earth); and unstructured play is considered a natural way in which children explore, master new skills and integrate information.

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News & Events

Posted 25th January 2020

Come join us for this Family friendly event!

• Get your feet on the floor to the tunes of Conscious Dance Facilitator and DJ Hester Phillips (Surrender Your Feet to the Beat, Open Floor, The Mix Festival, Luminate Festival, Shenanigans).

• One delicious wood-fired pizza FREE with each ticket, drinks for sale and more

• Win great prizes with our amazing raffles (incl. Gizmo AI Smart Dog from Nelson Electronics, 3 night Top 10 family camping pass in Golden Bay, $40 Organic fruit&veg box from Fresh2u, movie tickets to Nelson State Cinemas and more!)

• Be mesmerized by the performance artists from the Nelson Fire Club

Prizes for best costume and funkiest dance moves, so come dressed-up and get ready to party!

TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION AT: https://events.humanitix.co.nz/pizza-party

Head Teacher Job Opening

We currently have a job opening for the Head Teacher position at our innovative new school here in Nelson. It is akin to a principal position but with much more support with the management of the school so you are able to focus on the more important task of coaching students. and coordinating staff and volunteers who are working with them.

If you are passionate about taking a different approach to education that is more inline with meeting students needs we would love to hear from you!

Note: you must be an NZ registered teacher to apply. Applications will remain open until we find the right person for this role. Full job description below…

Head Teacher Job Description

Job Openings

Posted: 18th December 2019

We have two roles we are looking to fill. The first is the Ako Coordinator. Akin to a principal position but with much more support with the management of the school so you are able to focus on the more important task of coaching students. and coordinating staff and volunteers who are working with them.

The second role is the Ako Assistant, which is the Ako Coordinator’s right-hand person in the day-to-day running of the school. Full job descriptions below…

Ako Coordinator Job Description

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Ako Assistant Job Description

Applications for both positions close Tuesday 31st December 2019

Location, Location, Location!

Posted: 13th December 2019

We’re excited to announce that Fairfield have confirmed they would love to host our school, making our home-base in their building that is aptly called The Sanctuary. Fairfield is a historic house located in the inner city, surrounded by lush grounds and backs onto the Grampian Reserve, so it’s perfect for our nature focused learning.

Taking stock, we are unlikely to open for the start of term one of next year but are on track for the start of term two, so that is our goal. Keep a look out for more announcements about this in the New Year!

Prospective Students Survey

Posted: 1st November 2019

In order to take our next steps forward we need to get a firm idea of how many families are fully intending to have their child(ren) attend our school. This information will help us with our sponsorship requests so at this point we just need to know (regardless of cost) if you want your child(ren) to attend our school, and what the maximum contribution you could make would be. If you are wanting your child to attend our school we ask that you please fill in this short survey to give us the information we need to take things further.

Note: this is just a survey and not a formal enrollment.

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