Natural High Web by Mandi Lynn

One Day School spaces are available to students in years 5-10


The focus for this 8 week series is on self and family preservation.  What can you do to feed yourself or survive in the bush or in an emergency?  We will together learn bushcraft skills and be supported to learn how to garden, forage, and hunt.  This series will include basic training in bush first aid, beginning rongoā (Identifying medicinal properties of the native bush), learning the maramataka (importance of the cycles of the moon) how to safely forage for food.  We will also be shown how to safely handle a firearm.

And most importantly we will learn to handle ourselves and our emotions and get to know the many parts that make us who we are.  And we will go on a hunt for what makes us unique - our gift to the planet.

Once we know what our unique gifts are as a group then we will figure out a way to use them to support a local environmental regeneration project.


This is a creative wellbeing exploration focusing on the 5 elements.  Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ether.

We will play with the elements and then create inspired by them.  It is an indoor / outdoor art exploration.  We will make art that will dissolve (water) some that will blow away (wind), some that is made from natural fibres (earth).  Some that needs to be cooked (fire)  Some that is digital (ether).

This is where art meets wellbeing.  We will be exploring our creative parts and the parts that keep us from our best work.  We will learn to operate from our inner creative force.

We will go on creative adventures and build a creative community.

The final project will be a group creative project that in some way makes Upper Hutt a better place to be.  The group will decide on the project during the workshop series.

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With Collaborative Support from

About the Philosophy

Natural High's wellbeing framework is based on the Embodied Creativity Framework developed by Mandi Lynn.

Mandi Lynn

 In our style of youth work rangatahi find, befriend, and then gently challenge the parts of themselves that are holding them back.  She works to develop the big "S" self.  The part that shows up in the 12 C's.  Consciousness, Curiosity, Compassion, Clarity, Connection, Charisma, Courage, Competence, Confidence, Calm, Centred, Creative.    When this part is in charge we are able to unhook from dramas and create the perfect conditions for our gifts to be brought forward.

We achieve this by working with the 5P's Playfulness, Patience, Presence, Perspective, and Persistence.

We use art creation, compassionate community building, mindful movement (somatic work), and nature exploration as our main tools on the journey.

FAQ about the One Day School


FAQ about the One Day School

  • Age range for the program is 10+ and is open to all genders.  We work with a Tuakana-Teina model where more skilled youth work to support those who have fewer skills in an area.
  • There is a policy that allows schools to let your child out for one day a week to attend another program.  We will help you write a letter to your child's school to get dispensation to do this if your child is accepted into the program.
  • This is a Pilot program and hasn't been run like this before.  It is an opportunity to take the successful program that Mandi has run online and in small gatherings and turn it into a more focused in-person full-day workshop over 8 weeks.  The framework is solid and is based on cutting edge research and pragmatic experience working with youth. However the form it will take is more fluid and the specific activities will be co-designed and driven by the interests of the students who become part of the program.   It is the course that Mandi dreamed would have been available to her when she was young and struggling.
  • The program structure is being developed with Mandi from Every Body is a Treasure Trust, Jo (past principal at Upper Hutt School and Jan (Learning support coordinator) at UHUB, and Mirama and Jason(Community Engagement Upper Hutt) and Marina (Community Engagement Lead) at Piki Te Mauri Attendance Service.
  • At this stage the program is slated to run in term 4 of 2024 and if we can train teachers in Mandi's methods then we will be able to continue the program into 2025 but for the moment all we will guarantee is the Term 4 as Mandi is slated to be touring with Create Happy and with her film Finding Venus for terms 1-2 of 2025.

Intended Outcomes

Intended Student Resilience Outcomes:

  • Increase their emotional fluency.
  • Students will self-identify and develop plans to replace behaviors that are blocking their gifts with ones that enhance them.
  • Learn how to empathetically listen to another person.
  • Widen their support networks and friendship base.
  • Enhance their relationship with their own physical body (Increase body gratitude and decrease body shame)
  • Increase the amount of time that their big "S" self-energy is in the driver's seat even in challenging situations.

Intended Outcomes for the HUNTER-GATHERER Workshops

  • Increase knowledge of native trees and bushes and their medicinal qualities.
  • Learn where and how to find safe edible food from the forests
  • Learn how to safely handle a firearm.
  • Learn how to grow your own food.
  • Learn how to create a shelter in the bush if lost.
  • Learn how to start a fire.
  • Use new skills to do something for the community (this project will be designed by the students)

Intended outcome for the Creative Elements Workshops

  • Learn how to tell powerful visual stories from a Master Photographer and Award Winning Filmmaker
  • Use the creative process as a method to get to know your inner landscape and parts.
  • Explore nature as a creative muse.
  • Develop a community project to use our art to make Upper Hutt a better place to be.
  • Learn how to work effectively on a creative team.

Our goal is to support youth to develop a compassionate relationship with the more challenging parts that have held them back and to support them to move down the path that leads to developing body gratitude instead of the one that leads to lifelong body shame.  This can't be forced and it isn't a simple switch to be thrown.  It is a gentle unlearning and empowering.

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Mandi Lynn one of our lead facilitators and the Create Happy Crew that she mentors.  This is a group of rangatahi that founded and run Create Happy Media.  The project started with a group of students in her living room and has spread to include over 60 writers from across the country who are all collaborating to amplify youth voices across Aotearoa.

Get on the waiting list