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Unique new outdoor school in Taranaki attracting students from around the world

New Zealand's newest school opened this week on a slice of rural paradise in Taranaki - and it's not like any other school in the country. 

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Students there will spend most of their time in the great outdoors. Source: Seven Sharp

First, it doesn't look the same, and if you go there, expect to spend half your time outdoors.

It's the Green School and its goal is to turn out innovators with a connection to nature and sustainability.

Two of its first students have come a long way for lessons. 

Evelin and Amelie arrived in Taranaki just over a week ago, staying at an Airbnb for the moment, after moving over from Nottingham.

Their parents, Adam and Naomi Harris, are former teachers who were searching for a better way.

"We had the Victorian house, nice and big and lovely, but I guess… what we wanted to focus on as a family really changed," Ms Harris told Seven Sharp.

When they heard about Green School, they said it "blew our minds".

"Right, we're going. I don't care whether the kids don't want to go. We're going!" Ms Harris jokes.

The school on a former dairy farm in Oakura is a new way of learning.

Chief executive Chris Edwards is pretty excited about it.

"In New Zealand parlance, I am stoked," he told Seven Sharp.

"This is the most amazing educational adventure I've had."

And he's had some adventures - before here, he was running the largest international school in the world in Singapore.

"This school begins with the 21st century, so instead of a curriculum with maths, physics chemistry, whatever it might be, they just play part in something bigger," he says.

Currently 50 students are enrolled, including kids from New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan and Qatar.

"We've started with just 10 teachers, but we had over 600 expressions of interest from around the world as well as from New Zealand," Mr Edwards says.

Fees range from $16,000 a year up to $40,000 for international senior students.

"We do maths, science, English etcetera, we also do te reo, but those are folded into bigger concepts," Mr Edwards says.

"You might be down at the river testing the water, that's where chemistry, maths and physics comes in.

"Right at the end of your time here you will do NCEA, you will go to university, nothing unusual about that, but the way you got there will be completely different."

Green School is also planting 20,000 natives and fruit trees, allowing students to pick their own lunch.

Eventually there will be capacity for 500 kids, split evenly between domestic and international students, Mr Edwards says.