The Discovery Foundation

& the great people behind the scenes!

Discovery's vision - To positively impact upon the lives and futures of youth, families and communities.
Discovery's vision

To positively impact upon the lives and futures of youth, families and communities.

Discovery's mission - To equip people with self-awareness, study-skills and life-skills. Discovery provides an appreciation of choices and consequences so that, with confidence and courage, people can make the right decisions to confidently be all they can.
Discovery's mission

To equip people with self-awareness, study-skills and life-skills. Discovery provides an appreciation of choices and consequences so that, with confidence and courage, people can make the right decisions to confidently be all they can.

Discovery's values - Respect, Equality, Courage, Learning & Responsibility
Discovery's values

Respect, Equality, Courage, Learning & Responsibility

About Discovery

Founded in 1990, Discovery Foundation Inc. is a registered not-for-profit, incorporated society. 

Discovery for Teens is a unique programme for all young New Zealanders. Unlike other programmes it does not focus solely on at risk, or high-achievers, but provides benefits to all backgrounds and is in fact successful due to having a cross-spread of the average NZ population on programme.

Discovery is directly derived from Winners Camp Hawaii, which itself is derived from Super Camp in the USA and is also known as Discovery in Australia. Since 2010 Discovery Foundation NZ (Inc.) has full ownership of the local intellectual property and may develop and deliver the programme.

Discovery Programme Staff

Lead Programme Facilitator - Meredith Kennett

Meredith was a Discovery For Teens teenager participant in 1991 and set as her life and career goal on programme to become a life-skills educator for youth. Meredith put in place the actions to make this happen and has been one of the main facilitators at Discovery since 2000, she took over the Lead Facilitator role in 2009.  Meredith is also a facilitator on our Discovery for Kids.

Meredith is an Educator and Trainer full time, delivering communication skills workshops and also training trainers for many different public and government organisations. Meredith has a diploma in Child Psychology and is also trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Group Dynamics, and
Adventure Programming.

Meredith is currently the Board Chair for two Auckland schools and has two teenagers of her own.

Academics Trainer - Wayne Prince

NLP Trainer certified INLPTA

Wayne has a huge passion for learning and discovering new things and teaches techniques that enable people of all ages to learn in fun and creative ways. Working in schools and with teenagers, teachers and parents all over the world for the past 17 years, Wayne has developed ways of communicating and connecting with people which allows him to pass on these learning techniques in fun, impacting and life changing ways. Wayne also works with his partner to teach empathetic empowerment courses throughout the year.

Wayne is also a facilitator on Discovery for Kids.

Deb Hipperson – Programme Director

Deb came along to Discovery in 1998 as a Team Leader. She returned to Discovery in 2009 after living and working in the UK in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Social work & Further Education and has been involved with Discovery ever since. Deb is a qualified Primary School Teacher. She is the second presenter with the Young Enterprise Business Challenge (working with Teenagers) and is a relieving teacher in local primary schools.  Along with her partner, Deb runs Communication & Transformative Mediation Workshops for Adults. With her partner, Deb has four children and is passionate about living a connected life and supporting others to do the same. She believes in supporting young people to believe in themselves and to make life serving choices.


We work to a minimum ratio of one staff member for every four teenagers.  In addition to our qualified facilitators, there are a number of other professional staff on each of our programmes, as well as volunteer team leaders.  Team leaders have three days training prior to the teens arriving and are supported by our experienced staff throughout Discovery.  There are also other volunteers that support specific parts of each Discovery e.g. Ropes Day.  All staff and volunteers are police vetted.

Discovery Board of Trustees

Chairperson - Mike Johnston (CMInstD)

Responsibilities: Providing strategic governance to the organisation, leading the management team, chairing meetings, board member accountability and membership, holder of casting vote in decision making.  Signatory for funding and accountability operations.

Profile: Living in the centre of Auckland city, Mike is married with three children. Mike has a diverse mix of senior leadership, operational, service, legal and commercial experience. Originally qualifying in telecommunications and computer engineering, Mike also has a BBS (Finance).  As well as a board member for Discovery Foundation, Mike works in a small business which specializes in Customer Retention and Direct Marketing programmes for Kiwi businesses. Mike is a Chartered Member of the NZ Institute of Directors (CMInstD).

Treasurer - Connie Yun Ting

Profile: Connie graduated with a Masters degree in Accounting and Taxation, receiving the faculty award.  Connie is a full time accountant at an insurance company.

She has always been passionate about helping students reach their potential.  She is thankful for the opportunity to give back to the community through the Discovery Foundation, which she believes is a wonderful place to help students learn, develop, grow and reach their potential.

Board Member - Blair Peach

Occupation: IT Manager and Life Coach

Profile: Blair has been a Team Leader and Core staff member for several programmes. He has a passion for helping young people to achieve their maximum potential. Blair brings a broad range of web, technology and process skills to the board.

Board Member - Brett Walters

Occupation: Head of Working Capital – Kiwibank Limited

Profile: Brett lives in Auckland and has held a number of senior executive positions in banking. Brett has built a career around asking excellent questions, engaging with others and providing solutions to enable businesses to grow and prosper. In addition, Brett has had a strong organisational cultural drive which utilises his coaching qualification from the International Coaching Community. Brett has also been a Director at Paymark Limited, where he developed and strengthened his governance skills.

Brett has been involved with Discovery since 2012 through his business Creative Photography Limited, providing the teens with photographic memories of the time on camp. As a result, Discovery has gotten under Brett’s skin and he has joined our board to provide further support to the work we do.

Board Member - Julian Bottaro

Occupation: Retail Executive

Profile:  Julian is a dynamic and innovative executive with over 20 years of multinational leadership experience across Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  He has backgrounds in Retail, Duty-Free, Luxury Goods, E-Commerce, Project Management, Acquisitiions and Business Transformation.

Julian has a focus on people development and team engagement to drive customer experience and deliver results.  He has an unwavering dedication to people and culture, believing that leaders should not just operate, but inspire and lead by example.  He is passionate about creating environments that allow the youth New Zealand to grow and reach their full potential in life.

More about us and the Discovery programme

Discovery is a non-religious, non-political, non-gender, unbiased programme. Those with physical disabilities are also welcome - please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns

Discovery encourages teenagers to grow mentally and emotionally, with physical elements achieved as a team. We start by asking participants to accept and celebrate who they are to find their strengths going forward.

We aim to:

  • Approach everyone with respect, empathy and fun.
  • Focus on the present and future.
  • Be widely identified as the best programme for New Zealand teens.
  • Be not-for-profit and commercially savvy. We’ll grow within our means, be accessible and affordable.
  • Be economical and excellent in everything we deliver.
  • Be both apolitical and nonreligious.
  • Show support and gratitude to our supporters.


The Discovery for Teens course provides insights and implements tools for change:

  • Reviewing techniques and language: thoughts into words into actions.
  • Goal setting and personal responsibility.
  • Self-management, self-motivation, self-awareness and time-out.
  • Academic techniques such as speed reading, memorisation & exam prep.
  • Communication skills for approaching peers, teachers, parents and authorities.
  • Impact of everyday decisions and actions that affect their lives, both short and long-term.
  • Healthy choices from food and sleep, to technology addictions or other addictive behaviours.
  • Working as a team, particularly on our Ropes day.


Since 2013, Discovery for Teens has been held in Henderson, Auckland. Discovery has provided courses New Zealand-wide, including Rotorua, Marton, Ngaruawahia, Manawatu, Wellington and Christchurch. 

Our vision is to hold our programmes in various NZ locations each year, joined by thousands of Kiwi families participating and experiencing the full benefits of Discovery.

The national office is based in Auckland. Click HERE for details.

Risk Management Programme

As we encourage teens to self-explore and face personal challenges, risk management is vital. Discovery for Teens has a Health and Wellbeing Officer, a volunteer-to-teen ratio of 1:4 and fully trained and experienced facilitators.

Measured results

How we measure results for each Discovery programme:

  • Pre, post and six-month follow up surveys with parents and caregivers are evaluated.
  • Feedback forms focused on key capabilities are completed by participants, before and after.
  • Feedback from guidance parties, such as teachers and counsellors, are gathered.

Love what we do?

We really appreciate our amazing sponsors and those of you who donate to keep this life changing programme available for all New Zealand teens.


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