Aotearoa Surf School | Fun For the Whole Family

Aotearoa Surf School offers all levels of surfing lessons at beaches in Auckland and Mangawhai. Their owner and founder Che Burnett told us about what they have to offer. 

How long has Aotearoa Surf School been open?

Aotearoa Surf School has been operating since 2002, we are one of the founding Surf Schools in New Zealand. The school is owned and operated by myself, Che. Alongside my experienced, incredible team of instructors, I have a devotion for all things related to the ocean, but it was surfing in particular that stole our hearts – showing people from all over the world how awesome surfing is, is one of the best feelings in the world.


Why is Te Arai such a great beach to learn to surf at?

Te Arai was voted Auckland’s #1 surf beach by the NZ Herald. It is a swell magnet that offers consistent, clean, blue waves (unlike many of the West Coast beaches which are interrupted by weather conditions and tides), white, long stretches of sand and even, if you’re lucky, we have regular pods of dolphins visiting! It’s been our favourite beach since the start of operations in 2002, and as such, we now have the sole operating license for surf lessons here! We’re also only an hours drive from the Auckland CBD, putting us in the ideal location for people to come from all over!



How many lessons/ how long does it typically take for someone to learn to surf?

It will take us only ONE lesson to get you out in the water and standing up on a foam board, but surfing brings together a myriad of skills that can be worked on over a lifetime. From paddle fitness (believe us when we say that this is the hardest part of surfing), to balance, maneuvers, tackling different/ difficult surf conditions etc. 

How long have you been surfing? Do you have a favourite surfing memory? (Answered by Che, Owner & Head Coach)

I’ve been surfing for as long as I can remember! To be honest the best memories I have are with customers and the joy they get after catching their first wave!


Does the Aotearoa Surf School teach more advanced surfing concepts as well as teaching how to learn to get on the board?

Of course! We can teach anyone from beginners trying out the sport for the first time, right up to taking more advanced surfers (perhaps that aren’t from around the area) around the coast and showing them the best breaks, improving on any skills they might be struggling with etc. One of our most popular programs is ‘Surf Sistas’, where we have a bunch of beginner to intermediate women looking to improve their already built up skills. It’s an awesome program, all of the girls are addicted!


What are some unique services Aotearoa Surf School offers/ what makes you different than other surf schools?

At Aotearoa, we don’t simply push people onto waves and then send them on their way. We strive to teach people the confidence, knowledge and skills to be able to surf on their own, improve and fall in love with the ocean as we are. This includes everything from safety, to understanding how and where the waves break to understanding your board. We want to provide an EXPERIENCE that will never be forgotten. We want to EMPOWER you!


We also have some of the most qualified, experienced and awesome instructors in New Zealand who have been coaching and surfing for many years. Our team is what has made Aotearoa Surf the AMAZING surf school it is today.


We have something for EVERYONE! Our services are so varied, whether it’s a children’s birthday party, to a group of guys on a stag weekend, we can cater to your every need. Want a 3 day family package deal with a BBQ lunch and transport included? We can organise it. Bringing a team of 100 students down the coast to learn to surf and play beach games? No problem. Wanting to know which gear to hire and where all the best surf spots are? We’ve got you covered. Organising a women’s wellness retreat and hoping to have yoga and meditation included in your package? We know all the right people.


Finally, we’re ALWAYS available. We’re here to answer your phone call or email at any time, just give us a buzz. Our customer service is something we pride ourselves on, just check out our Google and TripAdvisor reviews – they’re awesome!

Do you have any summer events or camps that we should look out for?

Absolutely! This summer is going to be an absolute BLAST here at Aotearoa. The waves are always small, clean and fun throughout the summer and we have an INCREDIBLE team here waiting to show you exactly why they’re so in love with surfing and the ocean. We have a number of different camps for kids over the summer, whether you’re from around the area or just on holidays here;
  • Kids Summer Surf Program: ages 7 – 16, 4-day programs, 9.30am-11am
  • Ultimate Kids Surf Camp: ages 8-16, 5 night camp including accommodation, games, education etc.


We also have a number of options for adults during this time as well including:
  • Surf Sistas: ages 16-99, Women’s only surf improvement, all levels, Mondays 11am
  • 2-hour group and private lessons: all ages, all levels, EVERY DAY: 9am & 1.30pm (private) or 11am & 3pm (group)


How should prospective surfers get their gear for learning with Aoetearoa Surf School?

At our hire and sale shop located in Te Arai, we have the best quality, new gear to either hire for the day to explore New Zealand’s coast on your own, or to make a purchase. Each and every one of our clients TRUST that we would only sell them the best gear – because that’s what we do. We have boards and gear to suit any and ALL surfers.