Our vision and Philosophy

Gecko's most fundamental goal is to produce the most effective conservation outcomes while also generating human wellbeing.

Gecko NZ Trust works at the nexus of environmental health and community health, recognising that people, whānau (family including physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions) and communities benefit from living in a healthy landscape; and that the ecology of 'the place' benefits from their understanding and care. Likewise both people and environment benefit from improved connectedness and capacity, based around community-led initiatives. This relationship is described by Gecko's motto: 'People Healing Nature Healing People'.The natural environment is an incredibly transformative medium for improving human wellbeing. This idea encompasses many current world problems in relation to environmental stress and social loss, and offers comprehensive solutions to these issues.

In a world where everything is connected, people working together to build irreplaceable natural capital through local ecological restoration also builds community resilience and social cohesion, growing their unique community identity and self-reliance. Gecko offers tools, knowledge and the neighbours and work colleagues who want to make a positive difference and engage the power of nature.

Since 1995 Gecko NZ Trust has worked with community groups, initially in Wellington and then in Auckland to develop socially driven Neighbourhoods that achieve observable sustainable social and ecological outcomes. Over 22 of these neighbourhoods have been delivered for Auckland Council by Gecko (Sustainable Neighbourhoods). Gecko also runs 6 of its own independently funded programmes (Living Neighbourhoods). Neighbourhoods generally have between 30-100households involved.

However (and importantly) Gecko doesn't 'do the work'. Rather we (Gecko) step in with the ability to see an issue or opportunity and take action for both people and nature, neither in isolation. We step in as a partner, offering technical expertise when needed or brokering relationships for neighbourhoods.

Our core philosophies and principles. Gecko NZ Trust always:

  • Considers both people and nature in both problem definition and response.
  • Is community led.
  • Fosters mutual accountability with partners.
  • Is adaptive.
  • Works with people, not for them, not speaking at them or doing something to them or in their place.
  • Follows our 5 Rules of Engagement.
  • Is tenacious, committed, and iterative and draws on deep experience.
  • Believes in value on multiple levels, human, spiritual, monetary or ecosystem.
  • Ascribes to the 5 Roles of Nature, minimising loss and maximising gain.
  • Works at scale in a holistic and system based manner.
  • Fosters aggregated individual action.
  • Practically brings theory to underpin the actions we enable.