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New Zealand Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 4)


Wanaka, Central Otago

One year full-time (34 teaching weeks)

On and off campus with field trips throughout the year (some of these will be overnight)

  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    15 February 2021
    28 June 2021 - 16 July 2021
    5 April 2021 - 16 April 2021
    27 September 2021 - 8 October 2021
  • Central Otago
    14 February 2022
    4 July 2022 - 22 July 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022
    3 October 2022 - 14 October 2022

A great first step into outdoor and adventure education.

Enjoy studying in Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand’s best outdoor classroom and the country’s epicentre of outdoor pursuits. Our Certificate will provide you with the core skills and knowledge you need to work in the outdoor adventure industry, including kayaking, rafting, rock climbing and tramping, mountain biking, nutrition, health, physical and psychological performance, and leadership. 

Take your gap year within New Zealand and get the chance grow your personal and life skills. It will also enhance your understanding and skills in leadership, personal communication, group interaction, tikanga, kawa of mana whenua and sustainable practice. 

Graduates may be eligible to apply for full registration on the New Zealand Register of Recreation Professionals (NZRRP). 

This qualification may enable you to engage in paid or volunteer roles as a trainee instructor, leader or guide within community and private outdoor or adventure education/recreation/tourism providers. 

For more details contact the Programme Coordinator, Pete Eley ( to discuss the programme.  

What will I be able to do when I graduate?
  1. Manage yourself across a range of outdoor activities, taking into account equipment, weather, local conditions, logistics and safety management.
  2. Apply principles of health, physical and psychological performance to enhance personal competence and safe participation for a range of outdoor activities. 
  3. Apply a framework of kaitiakitanga that incorporates respect for the tikanga and kawa of local iwi and/or hapū, sustainability, and the environment in which you are operating. 
  4. Use leadership theories to inform personal leadership and leadership of peers in a range of outdoor activities. 
  5. Apply the safety management system of an organisation, including being able to respond appropriately within an emergency care situation. 
  6. Plan, prepare and lead outdoor activities in low-risk, low technical outdoor environments, under direct supervision.
Entry requirements

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Other requirements 

  • We will also require you to complete a Statement of Offences Against the Law form.

It is desirable that all applicants also:

  • Have or be working towards a reasonable level of fitness including the ability to swim a minimum of 50 meters and the ability to carry a full overnight tramping pack on multi-day trips.
  • Look at obtaining your full driver license as soon as possible (highly recommended). The outdoor industry sees the gaining of/or the ability to gain a 'P' licence as highly desirable.
Additional costs

You will need to supply some of your own equipment during this programme. You will be sent a detailed equipment list as part of your enrolment pack.

Your workload

Your week will run from Monday to Thursday with Friday being an Independent Learning day (you are expected to practise skills learned during the programme on these days). This is a full-time programme and a typical practical week may involve between 20-30 contact hours, which may include online components. You should commit yourself to a 9.00am-4.30pm day, but these times may vary, especially during daylight saving months. In addition, there are field trips during the year when you will be required to be away for one or more nights.

What you will study


Develop and apply knowledge and skills in the pursuit of kayaking, to manage self and peers on Grade 2 whitewater and experience sea kayak journeys.

Rock Climbing

Develop and apply knowledge and skills to the pursuit of Rock Climbing, managing self and peers.

Mountain Biking

Develop and apply knowledge and skills in the pursuit of mountain biking, to manage self and peers, on grade 3 trails.


Develop and apply knowledge and skills in the pursuit of rafting being able to guide a raft and perform appropriate rescues on Grade 2 whitewater.


Develop and apply contemporary knowledge of leadership and leadership theories and how these can be applied to self and peers in the outdoors.

Te Taiao

Develop a practical knowledge and understanding in environmental sciences and sustainable practice in the outdoor context.


Develop a practical knowledge and understanding in tikanga, kawa of mana whenua and sustainable practice.

Further study options

If you pass this Certificate, you will be eligible for entry into our New Zealand Diploma in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 5)* in 2021. Opportunities exist for you to bridge into other Otago Polytechnic qualifications and you could increase your career prospects with our Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

*subject to final approval

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Links to useful websites

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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