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Founder

Dino Gardi

On what my role is at Great Full…

Supporting my wife, Melissa, in bringing Great Full to life – mostly this means brainstorming ideas, providing encouragement and being a good sounding board. And, of course, packaging up Great Full deliveries for the courier!

On being a teacher…

I’ve chosen the path of teaching to inspire, collaborate, share knowledge, pass on a passion for Aotearoa, provide holistic and relevant experiences that support lifelong positive learning so hopefully our future generations inherit a better future. Besides it being a fun and energetic environment to be in, students teach us a lot, too. 

On my passion for the great outdoors…

Many of us that work in the outdoor education sector are concerned with how society has generally moved away from spending significant time in the outdoors, becoming inadvertently unhealthy and disconnected with nature. There is scientific evidence about the benefits of the outdoors and how it nurtures healthy minds, family relationships and general fitness. The most important reason that I teach Outdoor Education is that it gives me the opportunity to reconnect people to nature, helping to instill a sense of guardianship and responsibility for the environment. 

On inspiration…

The colleagues that I work with are inspiring with their motivation to create lifelong learners of us all. Our younger generation inspires me with their optimism, energy and drive. My daughter’s curiosity, kindness and sense of adventure allow me to see the world differently and experience things again like it's the first time. And getting into the outdoors is like therapy to me as it not only helps me to release stress but sparks creative thoughts. 

On what I enjoy reading and listening to…

Favourite books include The Nature Principal by Richard Louv, Essentialism by Greg McKeown and The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. I often listen to RNZ’s amazing interviews and podcasts – brilliant minds and salient topics.  

On a favourite quote…

‘Only when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realise that you cannot eat money.’ - Cree Indian

On living sustainably…

Even if we take away all the scientific evidence about the effects of climate change, pollution and consumption of resources, it just seems logical that we should live within our means and not consume goods for the sake of it.   

On Made in New Zealand…

I find it embarrassing that one of New Zealand's most recognisable brands, The All Blacks, wears a jersey that is not made in New Zealand. I am a big supporter of outdoor brands like Cactus, Ground effect and NZO who have stayed in Aotearoa and still produce items here. These are manufacturers that have kept it small and not just focused on the bottom line. I realise that not everything can be made here in New Zealand, but considering that an All Blacks jersey is iconic, shouldn't it be? 

On living in New Zealand…

I really enjoy travelling and spent five years living overseas. Every time I arrive back New Zealand I feel lucky. Maybe it's the fresh air, open spaces or the sense of familiarity. We have this incredible and visually stunning outdoor playground that is accessible to us all, along with an amazing health and education system, and freedom. Our embracing of international cultures, being open minded and empathetic also makes me grateful to live in Aotearoa.

On someone who made a significant impact on my life…

When I was travelling in the Middle East my passport and money were stolen and I was helped by a complete stranger who saved my life – a true good Samaritan.

On being grateful…

I am eternally grateful for the care and support we received from New Zealand’s healthcare system. The value of this became especially apparent to me when my wife Melissa and I were trying to conceive, and when Melissa experienced a few hurdles that put her in hospital during her pregnancy. Accessible, world-class healthcare means everything and we are very lucky to have this here in Aotearoa.