The Seelye Foundation is a charitable organisation providing opportunities for advancement in the education sector and environmental sciences.
Alan and Heather who founded and manage this NZ charitable organisation are a retired couple who live in the Mahurangi, a small coastal community out from Warkworth.
Alan was an architect and health facility planner who specialised in complex medical and scientific research building design. Heather worked as a production planner and process developer for a large manufacturing business.
Heather is now a volunteer financial mentor for the Warkworth / Wellsford Budget Service. She also volunteers at the Warkworth Information Centre. Heather is currently the secretary of the Mahurangi East Residents & Rate Payers Association.
Alan has continued his design expertise on housing projects with focus on sustainability. Alan designed their current home which was awarded the House of Excellence in the NZ Timber Design Awards in 2010.
Both Alan and Heather are involved in animal pest eradication and plant weed control projects in their community. Alan is also a dotterel minder during the breeding season at a local regional park. Heather assists in the nearby community garden which provides vegetables and fruit for the neighbourhood.
Far North Interest
Alan and Heather have been visiting the far north over many years. They keep returning, particularly to the Hokianga region. They love the remoteness, beauty and history of the area and have come to admire the spirit of the isolated communities.
Their added interest in the far north dates to Alan’s family past involvement in the region.
Alan’s great grandfather, James, was a teacher and taught in the Whangape area in the 1870s. James came out with his parents from Skye arriving firstly in Waihi, and later the family moved to farm near Okaihau in 1877.
James who was self-taught in languages and sciences, became a Māori interpreter and was made head teacher of the largely Māori school in Whangape, a remote settlement on the Whangape Harbour, north of the Hokianga. The school was near the end of the tongue of land where two branches of the river merged. When a teaching site was established on the southern side, James spent half a day at each school. Crossing the river by rowing boat or horse and dray in all weathers.
The schools closed in 1896 as the kauri business declined and James moved with his family back to Okaihau, before retiring in Waihi.
Flora, Alan’s grandmother, often told at family get togethers of adventures of her early days in this remote area with its challenging environment.
To see for himself, Alan explored on foot over three days from Miti Miti on the west coast up into the Whangape Harbour to appreciate its remoteness and history, returning via the Warawara kauri forest track.
More about The Seelye Foundation – NZ charitable trust
Wanting to support northern regional communities, The Seelye Foundation is a charitable organisation that seeks interest from community groups and individuals for funding. Grants for both the educational sector and environmental sciences are available.
Become a recipient of the Seelye charitable foundation
For more information on how to apply for grants for study and vocational training and funding for conservation and related projects, get in touch. The Seelye Foundation also welcomes nominations for individuals, groups or community organisations from northern regions of NZ to become a recipient of the foundation and receive study grants or environmental project grants.