The Diploma programme progresses your own technical skills to the next level and introduces you to the exciting world of sharing your skills with others. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, what better way to earn a living than sharing you passion with like-minded people!

You will work with a wide variety of real clients in organised, supervised instruction and guiding opportunities, receiving regular feedback and mentoring to improve your practice and prepare you for leading others out in the industry.

The nationally recognised New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) Leader qualifications are embedded into our programmes. They give you a kick start in the industry and connect you with the wider instruction and guiding community.

Generally you will need to have completed our Certificate programme to gain entry into the Diploma, however if you think you have the prerequisite skills for direct entry, give us a call and we can discuss your options. 

  • Level:
  • Credit Value:
  • Awards:
  • Location:
  • Method of Study:
    Full time
  • Holiday Duration:
    2 weeks
  • Teaching Duration:
    34 weeks
  • Total Duration:
    36 weeks
  • Start Date:
    February 2020
  • End Date:
    October 2020
  • $5,443 to $7,641 (depending on electives)

  • Domestic Breakdown
  •   Tuition Fee:
    $5,419 to $7,617
  •   NZQA Fee:

Core Elements

Compulsory Papers

  • Geography of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Meteorology and Applied Outdoor Leadership
  • Environmental Science
  • Exercise Physiology, Training and Injury Management

Elective Papers (3-4 to be chosen)

  • Whitewater Kayaking Advanced Practice and Instruction
  • Rafting Advanced Practice and Guiding
  • Rock Climbing Advanced Practice and Guiding
  • Mountaineering Advanced Practice and Guiding/Instruction
  • Sea Kayaking Advanced Practice and Guiding
  • Industry and Workplace Studies
  • Sustainability
  • Interpretation

Gear List

Diploma students are expected to supply all technical equipment for their chosen pursuits with the exception of rafts, sea kayaks, tents, stoves and some climbing hardwear.

They will already have their own personal clothing and equipment. A comprehensive list is available on application to the programme.

Graduate Profile

Graduates of the Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding are capable of leading groups and managing clients or students safely in a range of outdoor settings in the education or tourism sectors.

The personal technical skill-set of graduates will be equivalent to that required by professional level qualifications (NZOIA, SKOANZ, NZRA) so graduates are capable of operating in moderate to high risk outdoor settings. This recognises a fundamental principle in outdoor leadership; that an instructor or guide must be able to operate safely and effectively in risk settings which are higher than those in which they may be expected to manage client safety.

Graduates will specialise in technical pursuit instruction, education or tourism experience management.

Knowledge and skills in safety management and group leadership will allow graduates to make proactive decisions in the field. This creates the potential to guide and instruct clients, unsupervised, in a variety of outdoor settings of low to moderate risk.

Group facilitation, presentation and teaching skills will allow graduates to effectively deliver the stated outcomes of the organisation they represent. These could include technical skill delivery and instruction, personal development, environmental and health education and tourism experience management.

Knowledge of Aotearoa New Zealand’s special flora and fauna, its geophysical and socio-cultural make-up along with contemporary studies of global and local environmental issues allow graduates to “tell the story” of New Zealand while enlightening and entertaining their clients or students.

Further Study Options

Entry Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum of four years at secondary school
  • Completed NCEA Level 2 (or equivalent), inclusive of credits in Science
  • Applicants must have completed a first year Outdoor Education programme to level four or provide evidence of equivalent prior outdoor experience and academic ability
  • Applicants must hold a current (completed within 18 months of programme start) First Aid Certificate, which includes NZQA units 6400, 6401, 6402 or equivalent
  • Applicants must meet and document a range of outdoor experience requirements
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must meet IELTS (or equivalent) Level 5.5 with no band lower than 5.0

Special notes

  • Fitness is a Health and Safety requirement of this programme and potential students will be required to pass a fitness test at the start of the programme
  • It is preferable students are at least 18 years of age. Mature students who do not meet entry criteria, but demonstrate the motivation and commitment to study and are able to meet and provide documented evidence of outdoor experience requirements will be considered
  • Special Entry may be granted where evidence exists that the applicant can successfully complete the programme


This is a Safety Sensitive Programme