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Professional Misconduct - Disciplinary Action Pathway

An NZOIA member has responsibility for promoting the highest standards of outdoor instruction and guiding. Professional integrity is key to the credibility of an instructor or guide.

An instructor or guide has privileged interactions with people. This brings considerable responsibility regarding behaviour. It's important that NZOIA members are aware of these responsibilities, and realise that any breach could result in repercussions such as the loss of NZOIA qualifications and Membership.

The NZOIA constitution provides guidance in section 5 for investigating breaches of rules and professional misconduct by Association members. The NZOIA Board is able to utilise disciplinary measures as outlined in the constitution to ensure members consistently demonstrate professional conduct and best industry practice.

The Board has established the following process:

Anybody who has a concern as to a breach of rules or professional misconduct by an NZOIA member that they believe should be investigated, should put their concerns in writing and send to the NZOIA Operations Manager. This needs to be a formal complaint, detailing what the concern is and why it is a breach of the rules and/or professional misconduct and should be the subject of an investigation under the rules of the Constitution.

The NZOIA Operations Manager will refer the issue to the TSC Convener, the Board members with portfolio responsibility for qualifications and standards, and/or the NZOIA Chair for a decision on action to be taken.

If it is decided an investigation is needed, a sub-committee of at least two senior NZOIA members will be appointed to carry out an investigation and report to the Board. NZOIA will pay for the time of those carrying out the investigation at the standard assessor’s rate for the time taken for the investigation – up to a limit of 5 days.

The investigation will be carried out in the context of clause 5.5 of the Constitution that “The Board shall be primarily concerned with preventing a recurrence of undesirable incidents rather than with punishment”. 

The Board have discussed the issues of ratios and working within scope of NZOIA qualifications.  The Board does not intend to set ratios, as we believe it is a reasonable expectation of a qualified instructor to be able to make a decision on an appropriate ratio according to the specifics of any particular situation.  We note that there is some guidance on ratios given in the NZOIA Safety Plan.   If a member has a concern with another member’s ratios or another member operating out of scope, they should first raise with the other member, then they have the option to take it through the mechanisms in the Constitution as a professional misconduct issue.

For more information regarding the disciplinary measures and appeals, refer to the Constitution.

Download the Professional Miscounduct - Disciplinary Action Pathway

Link to the NZOIA Constitution

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 - 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 e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and cc This e-mail 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

March 2018  |  Board Talk

The Board met in Nelson in late March.  Agenda topics included discussion and reporting back on several initiatives the Board and staff have been working on in recent months, and other ongoing operational matters that staff were seeking feedback on or that needed Board sign off:

Strategic priorities and Strategic Plan revision – being led by Ben Corcoran

Mountain bike qualifications – Dave Mangnall course director for a first joint assessment with Skills Active in Rotorua on 30 April – 2 May.

Membership growth – Ashley Cheeseman and Cam Walker are underway on their membership advocacy roles in the central North Island and the Queenstown Lakes areas respectively, and Sonya is making good progress on new membership benefits

SUP quals – process with SUP NZ underway

Advocacy – exploring the possibility of NZOIA presentations at the physical educators conference (PENZ – Jo  Thompson/Matt Barker) and the Tourism Industry Summit (Cam Walker/Noel Saxon)

Qualification revalidation – tasked the NZOIA Technical Sub Committee (TSC) with considering additional flexibility for those needing to put their qualifications on hold

TSC membership – agreed to expand to 3 members

Business plan and financial reports and draft budget for 2018/19

Gill Wratt (Chair)

December 2017  |  Board Talk

The key topic on the agenda for the last Board meeting of the year, held on 1 December in Nelson, was membership growth and member support.  Sonya updated the Board on the work she has been doing  with the Board Advocacy and Membership Portfolio holders Cam, Matt and Noel on additional benefits that NZOIA could be offering members and initiatives to increase NZOIA’s membership.  We now have four organisations that have taken up NZOIA Affiliated membership and are receiving enquiries from others.
We considered a proposal from the NZ stand up paddle boarding organisation (NZSUP) to work with them to develop NZOIA SUP qualifications.  There are about 150 registered SUP instructors and 50 commercial SUP schools in NZ.  NZSUP are keen to offer a more rigorous instructor assessment process than they currently have, and see the NZOIA model as being able to provide that.  The Board decided to move forward with this, subject to NZSUP finding/providing funding to cover the costs. 
There was also a proposal from NZOIA member Toine Houtenbos for connecting with the international canyoning organisation ICOPro and developing an RCC process with them.  Toine will be working on this with support as needed from Penny and the NZOIA office.
Alignment between NZOIA and NZ Certificate outdoor recreation qualifications was again on the Board agenda, with Gill, Penny and Deb reporting on a meeting the previous day with Grant Davidson (SA CEO) and Maren Frerichs (SA General Manager Industry Engagement).  Penny and Deb are meeting again with Maren, before Xmas to finalise the process for a joint SA/NZOIA mountain bike assessment in March/April next year. 
So lots on the agenda, plus the regular financials, health and safety, business plan update, and TSC update.
Best wishes to you all from the Board for Xmas and New Year, and some great outdoor adventures.

Gill Wratt (Chair)     

Representing Excellence in Outdoor Leadership

 Photos: Andy Thompson Photography

Emerging Instructor mgl9851email

2018 - Mark Parfitt

2017 - Rata Lovell-Smith

2016 - Jon Harding

2015 - Tim Shaw

2014 - Alan Haslip

2013 - James Geddes
2012 - Sophia Mulder
2011 - Cameron Walker

2010 – John Hannam

2009 – Jye Mitchell

2008 – Samuel Langridge

2007 – Vashti Duncan

2006 – Ben Barlow

2005 – Rebecca Wylie

2004 – Nicci Mardle

2003 – Regan Edwards

2002 – Holly Thompson


Emerging Guide


2018 - Not Awarded

2017 - Cameron Walker

Tall Totara mgl9862email

2018 - Keiran McKay
2017 - John Furminger
2016 - Dave Moore
2015 - Drew Brown
2014 - Mike Atkinson
2013 - Tim Wills
2012 - David Brash
2011 - Gareth Wheeler
2010 - Ray Hollingsworth
2009 - Ian Logie
2008 - David Mangnall
2007 - Ian Barnes
2006 - Linda Wensley
2005 - Graham Charles
2004 - Mark Jones
2003 - Jo Straker
2002 - Mick Hopkinson
2001 - Don Paterson
2000 - No record of being presented
1999 - No record of being presented
1998 - No record of being presented
1997 - Lyndsay Simpkin 
1996 - John Skilton
1995 - John Davidson
1994 - Ray Button
1993 - Hazel Nash
1992 - Bev Smith 


Life Members

2018 - Andy Thompson
2013 - Matt Cant
2012 - Mick Hopkinson
2010 - Ray Button
2006 - John Entwisle
2005 - Jill Dalton
2004 - Jo Straker
2000 - Grant Davidson

Our Assessors

Find an Assessor Here

The quality of our assessor pool is the foundation of our credibility and top reputation. Our Assessors are amongst the most highly regarded, qualified and experienced people in our sector.  Becoming an NZOIA assessor is the pinnacle of achievement for an outdoor instructor in New Zealand and recognition of the highest level of competence, and the ability to judge competence in others. The process of assessing and qualifying leaders and instructors is a significant responsibility.

How to become an NZOIA Assessor

Assessors need to be highly competent practitioners with a rich history of experience and expertise to pass on to others. This means that personal recreational experience is important as well as extensive logged instructional or guiding time.

The Technical Subcommittee oversees the selection of assessors and the Operations Manager manages the advertising and selection process, which includes consideration of NZOIA’s needs, e.g. the geographic spread of assessors and demand for assessments. Retaining a relatively small assessor pool is an important factor in maintaining quality control and moderation.

There are two ways to become a NZOIA assessor:

  1. NZOIA has a demand to increase its assessor pool in a particular discipline or location and advertises for Assessors. When this happens you may contact the Operations Manager for an application.
  2. A workplace or area has a demand to have a Leader Level assessor in their workplace or community. Contact the Operations Manager for application documents, which are welcome at any time and are considered on the basis of:
    a) Meeting all selection process requirements.
    b) Providing evidence of sufficient demand for your services (8 candidates per every two years for each discipline you assess in).

For the prerequisites and further information please contact the Operations Manager:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Assessor training and development pathway

If your assessor application is accepted there is a training pathway to follow:


Attend and pass a NZOIA generic assessor training course – this covers generic principles of assessment, risk management, and NZOIA ethos and systems.





Attend a Discipline specific training course:
– A two day course for a specific discipline for Level 1 or Level 2 qualifications but not for Leader qualifications.


Follow Apprenticeship Model: 
- For Leader qualifications the new assessor is expected to run the entire assessment under the guidance of a coach who is a NZOIA Senior Assessor.
- For Level 1 assessors this involves observing assessors running an assessment, and delivering parts of the assessment whilst being coached by the Course Director.


Level 1 Course Director – To progress towards becoming a course director the Level 1 assessor must complete three assessments as a second assessor with favourable reports from the Course Directors they have worked with and Operations Manager.


Level 2 Assessor – To progress towards becoming a Level 2 assessor NZOIA will advertise a need in a certain discipline. The assessor will have to meet the application criteria one of which is to have completed three Level 1 assessments as Course Director with favorable reports from the Operations Manager.



Level 2 Course Director – To progress towards a Course Director the Level 2 assessor can either:

Be a second assessor on a Level 2 assessment and get favourable reports from the Course Director.


Choose to co-assess on a single assessor assessment without pay and get favourable reports from the Course Director.


NZOIA Staff and Board

Of the industry, for the industry!



Penny tip toe ridge arapiles 2011

Penny Holland
Operations Manager

Alpine, Kayak, Rock Instructor & Assessor. Penny became interested in outdoor recreation while at Otago University and began instructing through teaching Outdoor Education. Since then she has worked at Outward Bound, as a glacier guide, and latterly at Aoraki Polytechnic as Team Leader. Penny continues to be an avid rock climber and her ten year old daughter has been to Arapiles 4 times! Penny is also into mountain biking, sailing, skiing, kayaking and pretty much anything in the outdoors.

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03 5390509


Sonya at Mt. Cook


Sonya Sutherland
Business Manager

Sonya is an Aoraki and CPIT graduate, who specialised in Rock, Kayak and Bush. She has been instructing and working in the outdoor and recreation sector for 20 years and has organised a number of events. A passion for personal devlopment and the outdoors has seen her work for organisations such as Outward Bound, Chch YMCA, Foundation for Youth Development and Sport Tasman. Married to another former outdoor instructor, with two children, Sonya is often out on family adventures in the hills running, tramping, mountain biking, orienteering and skiing.

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03 5390509     0275390509

Pip Russell

Pip Russell
Assessment and Membership Coordinator

Pip has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years within NZ and overseas. From glacier guiding in her earlier years to the more recent contracts with Antarctica NZ and World Challenge, Pip calls herself a jack of all trades and master of none…but whatever the adventure, she’s in! Joining the NZOIA team has meant Pip has traded the pack and boots for a skirt and desk and while a bit of a shock initially, Pip is loving remaining connected to an industry she feels so passionately about while being in a completely new role. When she’s not in the office, she’s enjoying time at home in Golden Bay, hitting up the Rameka on her bike or the limestone cliffs and swimming holes of Paynes Ford.

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03 5390509


Steff Willmore

Steff Willmore
Administration Assistant

Steff works part time for NZOIA as their Administrator Extraordinaire and is also a Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist. Steff has in the past worked for PGL, a UK based Outdoor Adventure company and several other outdoor based companies whilst travelling the world. She has always been a keen partaker in outdoor pursuits and in particular enjoys tramping, biking, surfing, snowboarding and climbing.  

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03 5390509



Gillian Wratt WEB


Gillian Wratt

Appointed Board Member


Mobile: 021 548110 
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Matt Barker


Matt Barker

Elected Board Member


Mobile: 021 2981214
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Tim Wills


Tim Wills

Elected Board Member


Mobile: 027 245 2692
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Noel Saxon


Noel Saxon

Appointed Board Member


Mobile: 027 2255957
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 Jo Thompson


Jo Thompson

Elected Board Member


Mobile: 027 4154103
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Gemma Parkin


Gemma Parkin

Elected Board Member

Great Barrier Island

Mobile: 021 907695
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Travis Donoghue

Travis Donoghue

Appointed Board Member

Waipa, Waikato

Mobile: 021 824 791
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Technical Sub Committee (TSC)

Tim Wills


Tim Wills


Technical Sub Committe Convenor

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


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