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Board Talk

Being a NZOIA Board Member is a voluntary role. Board Members volunteer their time in the interests of the sector and NZOIA members. Check out what they are doing on behalf of NZOIA members below:

August 2017   |    Board Talk

Strategic planning for the next 3 years was the main focus of the Board meeting last month.  With Sport NZ funding now in place through until 1 July 2020, the Board is looking at what we think NZOIA should look like in 3 years time.

We identified three key questions/areas of focus:

  • Funding model – what can we expect in future grant funding and should we further review our membership/assessment/course fee model
  • Membership – what are the opportunities to further grow NZOIA’s membership and how do we capitalise on these
  • Alignment with NZ Certificate qualifications – recognising that NZOIA qualifications are valued in the “market place”, how to best to continue to make them available in the context of NZ Certificate developments, and where to with the alignment process with Skills Active.

We will run a session at the Symposium/AGM on these topics, but in the interim if you have views on NZOIA’s strategic directions you would like us to hear drop an email or pick up the phone to your elected Board members (contact details are on the website), or email the NZ Board at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Other agenda items were the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update, and review of the NZOIA Code of Ethical Practice for Outdoor Instructors.  Jo Thompson (Martindale) is leading the process for consideration of any revisions at the AGM so drop her a line if you have any views on that - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Gill Wratt - Chair

May 2017   |    Board Talk

The best news for the April Board meeting was the success of our application for SportNZ funding for the next 3 years.  This guarantees $100k of grant funding per annum through until the financial year ending June 2020.  Well done Sonya and Deb who put a lot of work into the applications. We still need to keep growing NZOIA membership and will be making small increases in some course fees for the coming year.  It will also be the first year of the new $200 flat rate membership and registration fee, so we will have to see how that pans out.
We also had some success with an application for NZ Community Trust funding - $15k towards our Assessment and Membership Coordinator’s salary.
Other agenda items in addition to the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update, were the Skills Active/NZOIA partnership agreement, NZOIA strategic plan review, dealing with and learning from incidents and investigations, organisational membership, NZOIA Quarterly editorial committee and the NZOIA Code of Ethical Practice for Outdoor Instructors.
Skills Active/NZOIA partnership agreement
We are close to finalising the agreement, including how the two organisations work together on the next stage of SA outdoor qualifications so our alignment process works cost effectively for both organisations.
Dealing with and learning from incidents and investigations
Penny presented an outline of NZOIA processes for investigating incidents involving NZOIA members and sharing learning.  This outline is now on the member section of the website. In essence any serious incident on an NZOIA event is investigated by the TSC and reported to the Board, staff and assessors by the Operations Manager (Penny), with learnings shared with NZOIA members via the 4YA or Quarterly.  For a serious incident involving an NZOIA member or within NZOIA scope NZOIA expertise can be offered to Worksafe/Police/Coroner as appropriate and we will review the outcome of the investigation for any learnings for sharing with NZOIA members.   Alongside this NZOIA will offer support to any member involved in a serious incident.
Organisational membership for leader qualifications
This is now termed Affiliated Membership, and is now live – check out the criteria for this on the website and if you know of an organisation that could be interested drop a line to Pip Russell in the NZOIA office.
NZOIA Strategic Plan
With SportNZ funding confirmed for the next 3 year period, it is now time to review the NZOIA Strategic Plan and think about how we position for the period after June 2020.  Ben Corcoran and Cam Walker are taking a lead on this, so if you have any strong views about the future directions of NZOIA drop them a line or give them a bell.  It will be on the agenda for the next Board meeting on 7th July.
NZOIA Quarterly editorial committee
Jen Riley does a great job producing the Quarterly pretty much single handed.  The Board decided last year that she should be supported by an editorial committee.  A Terms of Reference for the committee was signed off at the Board meeting, and membership comprising a Board member as Chair (Matt Barker), NZOIA staff member (Sonya Sutherland), TSC Convenor (Tim Wills) and the Quarterly Editor (Jen Riley) agreed.  The Terms of Reference will be available on the members section of the website shortly.
NZOIA Code of Ethical Practice for Outdoor Instructors
This was signed off at the 2016 AGM and since then the Board has been discussing how it make it a “living document”.  Any new members will be required to agree to operate according to the Code as part of NZOIA’s Membership and Registration Terms and Conditions.  It will also be introduced at the beginning of NZOIA assessments.
It was agreed at the AGM that the Code should be reviewed annually as an AGM agenda topic.  If you have any burning issues with the document as signed off at the last AGM, Jo Thompson (Martindale) will look at revisions for the next AGM (24th September).

Gill Wratt - Chair

January 2017   |    Board Talk

The Board met pre Xmas on 8th December

Key agenda items in addition to the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update included Sport NZ funding application for 2017-2020, Skills Active/NZOIA partnership agreement, new qualifications, the WorkSafe Adventure Activity Regulations performance review report, dealing with and learning from incidents and investigations, NZOIA profiling opportunities, organisational membership for leader qualifications and logbook App possibilities.

Sport NZ funding applications

Sonya and Deb have been hard at work putting together a funding application.  It was submitted to meet the due date of 19 December and we should know the outcome by late March.  The good news is that provided we meet the broad funding criteria we are guaranteed at least 50% of our current funding for the next 3 years – that’s $50k per annum (current funding $100k per annum).  Thanks to those who filled out the Insights Survey – the responses provided really useful information on the reach of NZOIA qualified people into the community.  A recent survey completed by 12% of members show this sample instruct 63,000 individual participants pa. 91% surveyed work with young people 14-18yrs & 53% with 5-13yrs. 23% often work with Asian, 34% with Pasifika & 72% of participants were from urban areas. This potentially means a 500K+ participant reach pa across our membership”.

We’ve also submitted an application to NZ Community Trust towards the admin support costs for the NZOIA Instructor Training and Assessment Scheme, and for some website upgrade work.

Profiling NZOIA

We’ll continue to work with Last Word Writing Services to identify conference and publication opportunities to profile NZOIA and NZOIA qualified instructors and guides.  The latest profile article was an opinion piece in the Christchurch Press on 18th December (

New qualifications

Ongoing work on mountain biking, multi-sport and artificial whitewater course qualifications, and ensuring avalanche courses (BARM or equivalent) are available prior to next year’s Alpine 1 assessments.

Skills Active/NZOIA partnership agreement

Penny, Deb and I had a constructive meeting with Grant Davidson, Maren Frerichs and Matt Cowie in December to review the partnership agreement.  Benchmarking to qualifications that SA currently offer is now complete and about 30 NZOIA members have taken up the opportunity to qualify for the National Certificate qualification alongside their NZOIA qualification.  We talked through and agreed steps on how to make the process for future qualifications as seamless as possible.

Adventure Activity Regulations performance review

The NZRA Outdoor Sector Advocacy Manager, Sam Newton and Tourism Industry Association’s Rachael Moore have been following up with WorkSafe NZ on this review.  We have provided them with comment.  There has been very little feedback from members on the review report (it’s on the members section of the NZOIA website).  Remember if you do have comments on the review or the regulations more broadly – positive or negative, please email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

or talk to one of the Board members (contact info also on the website).   We can’t advocate for NZOIA members unless we know your views.

Dealing with and learning from incidents and investigations

This has been a topic of ongoing Board discussion over the last year.  There are a couple of articles on this topic coming up in the next Quarterly.  Deb and Penny were tasked by the Board to look further at documenting processes for investigating incidents involving NZOIA members and sharing learning.

Organisational membership for leader qualifications

Following from the adoption of this at the AGM, Penny has been working with Ultimate Hikes to fine tune the process.  Our new membership staff member Pip will be working on this while Penny is testing her repaired leg on the ski slopes of Japan. They will be finalising the criteria and making any necessary refinements to our systems when Penny is back in February.

Gill Wratt - Chair


October 2016   |    Board Talk

The newly elected Board members joined us for the post AGM meeting in Nelson on 28th October – welcome to Jo Martindale and Ben Corcoran, but sorry to bid farewell to Jo Parsons and Dave Ritchie.  Jo and Dave thanks for your contribution to the Board.  The Board now comprises elected members Jo Martindale, Ben Corcoran, Cam Walker and Matt Barker, and appointed members Stu Allan, Noel Saxon and Gill Wratt, with Technical Subcommittee (TSC) Convenor Tim Wills also attending the Board meetings.

The Board meeting covered the usual review of the finances – it’s a bit early to tell how we are looking for the year yet, health and safety, business plan update, project update, AGM follow-up, NZOIA profiling activity and TSC update.  We also had Skills Active General Manager Industry Engagement, Maren Frerichs update us on her role and focus, continuing the collaboration between the two organisations.


The Board congratulated Sonya and Penny on another excellent Symposium and associated Assessors Conference.  There were 141 participants over the 5 days.  Sonya is now onto finalising a South Is location for next year – watch this space.


Penny and Dave Mangnall are progressing the work on mountain biking, multi-sport and artificial whitewater course qualifications.  Penny is also working on ensuring avalanche courses (BARM or equivalent) are available prior to next year’s Alpine 1 assessments.

Funding applications

SportNZ are running a workshop on 14 Nov to present the results of their Active Recreation Review and the process for funding applications for 2017-2020.  Sonya and Deb will attend for NZOIA.

Online logbooks

Great to see more people signing on.  Sonya is looking at what needs to be done make this mobile friendly.  The more of you sign up for this, the better information we can gain on the reach of NZOIA instructors/qualifications into the community.  This is important for our funding applications.

Profiling NZOIA

The team at Last Word Writing Services who provide support for NZOIA via NZRA are following up on the possibilities for NZOIA presentations at the NZ School Principals and School Trustees conferences in 2017

Code of Ethical Conduct for NZOIA members

The new Code of Ethical Conduct as adopted at the AGM will shortly (when Sonya catches her breath) be put up on the website.  Thanks to Jo Parsons for the work she did on this – no mean feat!  It was agreed at the AGM that it should be reviewed on an annual basis.  Jo Martindale took on this task, so if you have any suggestions on it please send them to Jo.  We also discussed how we make the Code meaningful for NZOIA members.  Penny will look into how it can be incorporated within assessments and revalidations so it is a living document.

Organisational membership Leader Qualifications

This was adopted at the AGM.  The next step is to work through piloting this with a couple of organisations over the next few months.  We hope to launch this in March 2017 once we have finalised the criteria and made adaptions to our systems.

Gill Wratt - Chair


22 July 2016   |    Board Talk

The Board held its second meeting of the year in Nelson last week.  Discussion at the meeting included reviewing the 2015/16 finances and activities, NZOIA and the adventure tourism sector, NZRA and outdoor sector advocacy, NZOIA Safety Management System, 2016/17 budget, membership fee structure, funding applications, TSC update, the NZOIA Quarterly and the NZOIA Code of Conduct.

2015/16 achievements

Some key stats for the 2015/16 year (1 July 2015-30 June 2016);

  • 1032 NZOIA members
  • 303 NZOIA qualifications awarded
  • 300 attendees at NZOIA training and refresher workshops
  • 143 Symposium attendees
  • Abseil, rock climbing, core knowledge, bush walking, kayak and sea kayak reviews completed for TSC sign off
  • Work underway on assessor resources, and on multi-sport kayak, artificial whitewater course and mountain biking qualifications
  • Benchmarking of NZOIA qualifications to those in existence on NZQA completed and a process in place with Skills Active for NZOIA qualified individuals to be awarded equivalent NZQA qualifications
  • Articles on NZOIA/NZOIA instructors published in Tourism Business, Tearaway (Voice of NZ Youth) the Australian Leisure Magazine and the Education Gazette, and the NZOIA brochure placed in satchels for NZ Principals, School Trustees Association and Blue Light Conferences
  • Sport NZ funding rolled over for 2016/17 ($100k)
  • Revision of NZOIA Safety Management System
  • Operating surplus achieved

Supporting a membership of over 1000, organising assessments and training/refresher workshops and keeping NZOIA qualifications current with a full time equivalent staffing of 2.85 people is an impressive achievement, especially with Penny being out of action for a couple of months earlier this year.  Well done to Penny, Sonya and their support team of Shona, Nicola, Steff and Jenny in the office. 

NZOIA and the adventure tourism sector

One of the topics discussed during last year’s Symposium and AGM that has been on the Board agenda since then is better connecting with the adventure tourism sector.  This sector is a growing employer of people with NZOIA qualifications, and we are seeing increasing interest from businesses in this sector in connecting with NZOIA.  The Board approved in principle an organisational membership model that would provide a mechanism for organisations to offer their staff NZOIA leader level qualifications alongside their internal training and assessment procedures.  We are also promoting the value to people working in the sector of gaining NZOIA level 1 and 2 qualifications – and the entre this will provide to appropriate NZ Certificate qualifications

This is part of working to grow the NZOIA membership.  With NZOIA’s Sport NZ funding only guaranteed until the end of this financial year, the more we can grow the membership, the stronger position we are in for the next Sport NZ application process.

NZRA and outdoor sector advocacy

New NZRA Outdoor Sector Advocacy Manager and previous Alpine Club GM, Sam Newton outlined his new role to the Board.  One of his focuses is looking at the impacts of the Adventure Activity Regulations on the sector – as noted in the last couple of NZOIA 4YAs, he is looking for feedback from operators – please connect with him by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have views/experience you think would be useful for NZRA to follow up with WorkSafe NZ on.

The Board signed off agreement with NZRA to continue to provide executive support and advocacy services to NZOIA for 2016/17.  This provides us with a link into a number of forums and organisations who are based in Wellington, and access to the expertise in the larger NZRA organisation that we can’t afford to have as dedicated NZOIA resources.

NZOIA Safety Management System

Penny and Sonya have put a lot of work in the last 12 months into reviewing the NZOIA SMS to meet new Health & Safety legislation and regulations, while at the same time maintaining a user friendly document for NZOIA Assessors – not an insignificant challenge!  Adventure Activity auditor, Mark Smith has recently signed off the revised SMS.

NZOIA Code of Conduct

Jo Parsons is reviewing this document taking into account the discussions and follow up on professional standards at the last Symposium.  We plan to make a draft document available for member comment prior to the Symposium and AGM.

NZOIA Quarterly

The Board agreed to establish an Editorial Committee to support Quarterly Editor, Jen Riley.  It will be chaired by Board member Matt Barker with the other members Sonya Sutherland (NZOIA Business Manager) and Tim Wills (TSC Convenor).  They will call on other expertise as needed.

Membership fee structure

The current NZOIA membership fee structure is complex and time consuming for both members and our office staff to deal with.  Penny put a proposal to the Board to simplify it.  With a bit of fine tuning a new model will be presented for consideration at the AGM.

Funding applications

Sport NZ funding for 2016/17 has been confirmed with the signing of a contract.  A proposal has been submitted to Water Safety NZ for support for NZOIA water-based qualifications, and to NZ Community Trust for support for the Symposium.  Deb Hurdle (NZRA contractor) and Sonya attended a Sport NZ workshop on their Active Recreation Review and process for the next 3 year funding period.

2016/17 budget

With the last three years of NZOIA operations bringing in an operating surplus and a good level of cash reserves, the Board signed off a budget for 2016/17 that will fund several one-off projects from reserves.  The budget for routine operating is break even, with a deficit budgeted after projects.  Projects will include membership growth including the organisational membership model mentioned above, and development of mountain bike, multi-sport kayak and artificial whitewater course qualifications.


6 May 2016   |    Board Talk

The Board met in Nelson in early April.  We have been fortunate over the past few months to have Shona working extra hours to keep up with organising assessments and courses in Penny’s absence.   We now have Penny back on deck – she made it up the stairs on her crutches to catch up with the Board, along with Deb and Sonya, and now (beginning of May) has discarded the crutches!  Discussion at the meeting covered a range of ongoing topics included professional standards, benchmarking with Skills Active, profiling of NZOIA, NZOIA qualifications and guiding, the on-line NZOIA logbook, Sport NZ’s Active Recreation Review, the Adventure Activity Regulations and review of the 2015/16 financials and business plan.
Professional Standards
Jo is still on the case of reviewing the NZOIA Code of Conduct, including exploring scope, ratios and supervision, with the intention of providing a draft/discussion document which will be made available to NZOIA members for comment. 
Benchmarking with Skills Active qualifications
Close to go live.  Penny, Deb and I met with Grant Davidson and Matt Cowie at Skills Active on Wednesday.  Check out the approach outlined on the Cross credit/RCC section of the NZOIA website.
Sport NZ Active Recreation Review
This review will set the criteria for Sport NZ funding beyond the next (2016/17) financial year.  Sport NZ have provided important financial support for the NZOIA qualification system, so the Board needs to understand future priorities.  There have been workshops on this review around the country and several NZOIA Board members and Deb have attended these.
Profiling of NZOIA and our qualifications
There’s been some good profiling of NZOIA organised by the NZRA communications consultants, “Last Word Writing Services”, over the last few months, with articles in Tourism Business, Tearaway (Voice of NZ Youth), the Australian Leisure Magazine and one coming up in the Education Gazette.  Matt Barker will be presenting on NZOIA at the NZ Principles Federation Conference that is being held in Auckland on the 31st May to 3rd June, and the Board have identified other forums during the year where we think it’s important to profile NZOIA.
Adventure Activity Regulations
Gill has continued to follow up with WorkSafe NZ on issues raised by NZOIA members, in particular surveillance visits and multiple site visits.  We have been advised that they are in the process of commissioning a review of the audit scheme to be carried out over the next few months. When we know the scope of the review we are likely to be looking for member input for an NZOIA response.
On-line logbook
Sonya is doing some fine tuning on this to improve its user friendliness.  It will provide us with useful information on the number of participants NZOIA members influence – valuable information for funders on the reach into the community of NZOIA qualifications.
Financials & Business Plan
All looking good for meeting break even on our operating budget.  It’s looking like assessment and training numbers will be up on last year.

Gillian Wratt - NZOIA Chair

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