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:

    Board Talk July 2019

    Board Talk March 2019

    Board Talk November 2018

    Board Talk August 2018


    Board Talk - July 2019


    The Board held its last meeting for the 2018/19 financial year last month.  It’s been a very busy year for our team in the office and for NZOIA Assessors.  The Business Plan target for qualifications gained and courses/refreshers attended for the year was 300 for both. As at the end of May the actuals were 521 qualifications gained and 443 people attended training courses/refreshers.  Well done to Penny, Pip, Steff and Sonya in handling this much activity, and a growth in membership.  NZOIA members have an awesome team supporting them!

    Membership has grown, with 1375 members year to date - 89 more than the same time last year.

    The financials are looking better than budget - forecast to come out around break even, including project work. With reasonable cash reserves the Board is not seeing any need to review membership fees this year.  NZOIA’s current Sport NZ funding of $100k per annum runs out this year.  Preparing an application for the next Sport NZ funding period will be a priority for Sonya and Deb once we know the process and criteria for this.

    The “no courses cancelled” strategy has generally worked well and the Board decided to continue this until December 2020.  It does create extra work, for Pip in particular, and members committing early saves staff time.

    It was great to have Sash Nukada in his new TSC Convenor role attend the Board meeting. A few health and safety items came up for further discussion at the Assessors’ Conference in October, including reporting of potential H&S issues and near misses from courses/assessments, and (not) driving while tired.

    Reviewing revalidation has been on the agenda this year, but not made it to the top of the to-do list.  The Board is appreciative of Simon Goodwin now taking a lead on this to get it moving.

    We revisited the Strategic Plan considering the RoVE (Reform of Vocational Education) process and the hold on qualification alignment work with SA.  Actions around the alignment have been replaced with actions focusing on maintaining and building NZOIA qualifications and profile.  The revised Strategic Plan will be available on our website shortly.

    Gill Wratt - Chair 


    Board Talk - March 2019

    Reform of Vocational Education

    Whether and how NZOIA should engage in the consultation process for the Reform of Vocational Education (ROVE) was discussed at the recent Board meeting. Thanks to the members who provided feedback. We are currently working on a submission and expect to have it finalised and on the website next week for member information.  It will essentially outline what NZOIA is and does, and comment that:
    • we believe the review provides opportunity to improve the way qualifications are offered in the outdoor sector, and
    • we support the concept of Industry Skills Boards (ISBs) that have a stronger role in advising TEC/NZQA, including providing what the consultation document refers to as “capstone assessments”. 
    We have agreed with Skills Active to put the work on alignment of NZOIA/NZ Certificate qualifications on hold until there is clarity on the future shape of vocational education.
    The consultation documents are available at ROVE consultation.
    Other Board meeting topics
    Financials:  Sonya and rest of the NZOIA team are doing a great job of managing the financials to be ahead of budget year to date with healthy cash reserves.
    Strategising for a Better Future for New Zealand through Outdoor and Active Recreation:  There is a move afoot to develop an “Outdoor and Active Recreation Manifesto” for NZ - to present and raise the profile of the welfare benefits of outdoor and active recreation in the context of Government initiatives on a Living Standards Framework and a Welfare Budget.  Sam Newton, Advocacy Manager for Recreation Aotearoa, will be taking a lead in refining some wording.  Board Chair, Gill Wratt has been involved in discussions on this.
    Adventure Activity Regulations:  Board member Gemma Parkin has initiated discussion with Aidan Tansell of WorkSafe regarding TE audit requirements and whether it is time for a review of how the regulations are working and if there are any refinements possible learning from the second round of audits.
    No cancelled courses:  The Board agreed to continue the “no cancelled courses” policy until the end of the 2019 calendar year.  We will review in the middle of the year to see what the financial implication have been over the first 6 months and whether NZOIA can afford to continue for further years.

    Gill Wratt, Tim Wills, Noel Saxon, Jo Thompson, Travis Donoghue, Matt Barker, Gemma Parkin.

    Board Talk - November 2018 

    We welcomed Gemma Parkin and Tim Wills, new Board members elected at the AGM, to their first Board meeting.  The elected members (as per the NZOIA constitution) re-appointed Gill Wratt for a further year and the full Board confirmed her continuing as Chair until the next AGM.  Gill has indicated her intention to step down from the Chair role over the next year.

    With new Board members we also revised the Board portfolios.  Tim, Jo, and Travis will look after  Qualifications & Standards; Matt, Gemma and Noel on Membership and Advocacy; and Gill, Travis and Gemma Operational Excellence.  The portfolios mirror the 3 pillars of the NZOIA Strategic Plan.

    A draft Strategic Plan was put out for comment before the Symposium and AGM. Following discussion at these forums, it was agreed to add under Operational Excellence that “We will honour the principles and values of Te Ao Maori”, and reflect the discussion on diversity with the addition of inclusivity to the Membership and Advocacy Strategic Goal - “Grow, enable and support members to work in the outdoor sector in a professional, ethical, inclusive and sustainable manner.  The next step is to explore what we are currently doing and consider where to next.  We discussed setting up a small working group of interested members – watch this space.  Explicit reference in the Plan to looking to Asia Pacific for growth opportunities was removed.  While the Board is keen to explore new opportunities as they arise, proactively seeking overseas opportunities is not a current priority.  The new Strategic Plan will be on the website soon.

    Other topics raised at the AGM were also discussed - advocacy, Adventure Activity Registration and membership fees. 

    The Advocacy Manager for NZRA, Sam Newton provides advocacy support for NZOIA as part of the support agreement the Board has negotiated with NZRA.  The last 4YA outlined some of the work Sam has been doing.  If you have an advocacy issue, get in touch with Sam (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and cc This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

    The Board does not support the idea proposed at the AGM of a CPI adjustment to membership fees every year.  Our aim is to keep membership fees as low as we can.  We recognise that the outdoor sector is not a high paying place to work, and want NZOIA membership to be affordable to outdoor instructors and guides. 

    We have advocated for NZOIA qualifications in the context of the Adventure Activity Regulations and will continue to do so.

    Other topics included:

    Course cancellations – as outlined in the last 4YA, the Board decided on a “no cancellations” policy for the 1st 6 months of 2019.  If this works out – operational and financially we hope we can continue it. 

    SA alignment - in particular the first mountain bike assessments for NZOIA and NZ Certificate run by NZOIA – well done to Penny, Pip and David Mangnall for pulling this together J.  We are now reviewing with Skills Active how this worked as the first assessment for both qualifications, and what can be done better for the future.  

    Revalidation review – this is still on the agenda, but has taken longer than planned to get underway due to other priorities.

    Annual business plan – an update from the office team and feedback on priorities from the Board.

    Membership growth project – follow-up on the interest created by Cam Walker and Ashley Cheeseman’s liaison work in the Queenstown-Lakes and central North Island regions.  This is an important initiative in both widening recognition of NZOIA qualifications and keeping membership fees as low as we can (although more members also creates more work in the office!)

    Best wishes for a fun and safe Xmas and New Year from the Board.


    Board Talk - August 2018 

    The last few Board meetings we have been making good progress on a review of NZOIA’s strategic positioning.  There are three headings, each led by an elected Board member – membership and advocacy (Matt Barker), qualifications and standards (Jo Thompson) and operational excellence (Ben Corcoran).  A key element is the relationship between NZOIA and Skills Active qualifications.  While it has taken a long time, as the SA qualifications suite evolves we are seeing how the two organisations can complement each other for the benefit of the outdoor sector. 
    Skills Active provides an apprenticeship-style in-house qualification process to achieve a NZ Certificate - a government accredited national standard qualification.  NZOIA assessments provide a practical and time efficient pathway for individuals and workplaces to become qualified through an external assessment process. This is of particular value for individuals who are not in permanent employment or who work for employers that do not have the internal capacity to operate the apprenticeship model.  Some larger employers value external assessment of their staff in preference to running an in-house process.  The NZOIA model also provides a practical assessment add-on to tertiary qualifications and the support of belonging to a professional association. 
    Alignment with Skills Active will enable NZOIA delivery of an accredited national standard qualification alongside the NZOIA award.  The Board considers this will add value for NZOIA members in an increasingly regulated operating environment, and will enhance the possibilities for international recognition/transferability.
    A key issue we are currently addressing with SA is the cost, particularly in staff time, in the alignment process.  SA make a financial contribution to NZOIA recognising our support for the development of outdoor leadership qualifications, but at the current level it is less than the cost to the Association.  
    Other agenda topics included discussion and reporting back on:

    Finances – there will be a small operating surplus on routine operations in the 2017/18 year, but a deficit after project work is added in.  This was budgeted for – using some cash reserves to pursue one off projects such as the SA qualifications alignment, new mountain bike awards and membership growth projects.   The Board also approved the 2018/19 budget.

    Health and safety – one safety question raised at an assessment is being considered by the TSC.

    Sector liaison and membership growth project – Cam Walker and Ashley Cheeseman have done some great work to increase awareness of NZOIA and NZOIA qualifications in the Queenstown-Lakes region and the Central North Island respectively.  Sonya has been pursuing additional member benefits (check out

    NZRA executive support – roll over of the agreement for support from the NZRA Chief Executive, Deb Hurdle and other NZRA staff as needed.  This provides a very cost-effective executive support arrangement for NZOIA.
    2017/18 Business Plan – numbers and satisfaction levels (over 95%) with assessments, courses and Symposium attendance all met or exceeded targets – well done to the office team and NZOIA assessors.  The main concern is the continued high level of non-renewal of NZOIA membership.  While NZOIA’s total membership grew, 21.5% (235 out of 1092 members) didn’t renew – slightly more non-renewals than previous years.  Some of this is tertiary students who get free membership when they sit NZOIA qualifications, but don’t move into employment in the sector.  While some drop-off is inevitable, the Board would like to see this level reduced, and is hoping the work Sonya is doing on membership benefits will have a positive influence.
    Feedback from the member survey.  The Board was pleased to see the generally high level of satisfaction of respondents - over 80% satisfaction in most areas.  In particular it is great to see recognition of the support that the NZOIA staff provide. (eg 99% satisfaction with staff communication).  A number of actions are underway in areas where there were lower satisfaction levels and/or useful comments on what can be improved.  It was also pleasing to see 91% satisfaction with the governance of the NZOIA Board.  For those who would like to see changes, the Board member contacts are all listed on the website and we welcome constructive suggestions.  There is also a session with the Board during the Symposium, and of course the AGM – so come along and have your say, or put yourself up for Board nomination. 
    Gill Wratt - Chair


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