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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:


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)     

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