About us

Learning to free the human spirit

Origins and philosophy

Society needs a game-breaking change to reverse growing levels of dispiritedness, ill health, economic decline and environmental destruction. Education can bring about rapid change because it is the most potent force in society, hard-wiring the brains of every citizen in their developmental years. The educational principles of Journey To Brilliance® are human-centred, non-ideological, universal and timeless. They can be applied to any student in any environment. Longitudinal studies show this project has the potential to profoundly improve social and economic environments in New Zealand via crime reduction, improved physical and mental health, innovative thinking ability and high achievement expectations, within just one generation.

Background reading: a brief history of education

Find out where the standard model of education comes from and how it has become what it is today.

Bringing our principles to life

In 2004, a group of individuals met to share and discuss their educational research and their various experiences, as students, teachers, school advisers and employers. The Holistic Education Trust emerged from these meetings, with the long-term aim of converting mainstream education from an outdated, regimented and militaristic model to a contemporary, student-centred humanist model. The wealth of research in fields such as neuro-science, biology, psychology, sociology, quantum physics, spiritual wisdom, ecology and education guided us to a set of core principles that are universal in nature and somewhat common-sense in hindsight. So why aren’t they already at the core of education? The History of education section answers that point. In 2009, we opened Seven Oaks School in Christchurch New Zealand, to put our principles into practice and create a live educational environment where students can learn at the leading-edge of humanist education. The results have been startling: parents notice their children become happier and more capable. Neighbours and friends notice how our students seem mature and grounded for their age. Teachers from other schools comment on the quality of our students’ questions and problem-solving abilities. The Brilliant Curriculum® is now available for wider roll-out to purpose-built educational environments, starting with the relocation of Seven Oaks School to a purpose-built campus at Halswell, to the south-west of Christchurch. Our next step is to offer the model to schools throughout New Zealand and advocate change in national education policy.

What this model offers:


For children

An enjoyable, engaging school experience
Confidence and high self-esteem
The ability to learn for themselves and to find solutions
To be creative, innovative thinkers and visionary
Strong interpersonal and social abilities

For parents

Happier and more responsible children
Personal growth and interpersonal skills can be learned from children

For teachers

An invigorating, satisfying, positively challenging work experience
A sense of purpose
Daily personal growth experiences

For employers

Employees who are highly capable and reliable, with initiative and creativity

For the environment

Increased awareness of need to take care of the planet
Greater ability to design effective solutions to current problems
Less pollution, less deforestation, fewer destructive industries

For society

More collaboration, less confrontation
Less crime
Better health
More egalitarianism
Less bigotry

For the economy

Reduced expenditure in health, social welfare and justice
Growth of new leading-edge industries in a variety of sectors

Calls for change

Sir Ken Robinson

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson

How to escape education’s death valley

Seth Godin

Stop Stealing Dreams

Professor Noam Chomsky

Education Is a System of Indoctrination of the Young

David Sabine

Rethinking Education: focusing on teachers, student engagement and school culture.

Calls for change

Alfie Kohn

Feel-Bad Education

Alfie Kohn

Achievement vs learning

Alfie Kohn

Punished by rewards

Daniel Goleman

The Emotional Atmosphere of a Classroom Matters

Gever Tulley

Re-imagining education: This video really comes alive at 9:25.


A sign of wholeness, achieved by following a circular and meandering path, the labyrinth represents the journey we each must take within ourselves to discover our own centre and the innate knowledge and brilliance we hold deep within.