FMC believes that one of the great strengths of a club is the opportunity for newer members to complete an outdoor ‘apprenticeship’ under the guidance of the senior members. The larger and more active a club is, the greater likelihood it will have the right people with the right skills and time to be the mentors and instructors.

But even large and active clubs might have gaps in the experience or availability of suitable members. Looking outside the club is the clear option when it comes addressing these shortfalls.

This article brings together ideas for types of outfits which we have in NZ, plus a (non-exhaustive) list of links to try.  If you have feedback on the article, or other organisations to include, please get in touch.  


Volunteer based options

FMC affiliated outdoor clubs

There is an enormous wealth of collective wisdom within FMC member clubs. If you aren’t sure which clubs are in your region, use the FMC ‘find a club’ function on our website, and get in touch with them.

You may be able to send some of your members to the training events of other clubs, or have other clubs’ instructors come and train your members. Understandably, clubs need to first consider their own members’ needs, but if you discover that your club has some experts in one topic, and another club experts in different areas, both clubs could benefit through joint or reciprocal training activities. 

River crossing training on a WTMC Bushcraft course – Photo/ Kevin Cole

It is not uncommon for individuals to be a member of more than one outdoor club. If your tramping club lacks the skills to venture above the bushline in winter,  maybe you could join the nearest NZ Alpine Club section and eventually share some of the knowledge with your tramping club? The NZAC also offers a series of national courses at the higher skill level, run with professional mountain guides as instructors. 

NZ Alpine Club


Outdoor Training NZ

OTNZ is a network of volunteer outdoor instructors. Many were instructors when the Mountain Safety Council ran training, and after MSC stopped, the instructors formed their own volunteer organisation to keep offering the training. Regional ‘branches’ offer various courses, which may be of interest to your club or it’s members.  They also may be able to provide more tailored courses for your needs, so get in touch to figure it out.


The NZ Deerstalkers Association / HUNTS course

NZDA runs a highly successful ‘Hunter National Training Scheme’. Significant chunks of the syllabus are core outdoor skills, applicable to anyone who might venture into NZ wild areas. Spots on the HUNTS courses are limited to members, and are in short supply, but reaching out to a local NZDA branch might find you someone who could be willing to assist your club put on a training event for a specific aim. 

Professional options

NZ Outdoors Instructor Association (NZOIA)

NZOIA is an association of instructors and guides. Their core function is to administer a range of professional outdoor instructor and guide qualifications on behalf of approximately 1200 members.

Although some NZOIA members work for a company, others self-employ and are available for bespoke instruction.

You could use the NZOIA website “find an instructor” function as well as contacting NZOIA directly to place a notice/job ad in the association weekly newsletter.

You should budget between $250 and $400 a day for a professional instructor. 

NZOIA Home Page

Outdoor education centers

These are generally set up to cater for training and activities for school groups, young adults or corporates.  However, some advertise training for the general public, and others specifically invite enquiries from community groups for bespoke courses. Even if the closest centers don’t advertise training, it’s worth contacting them anyway. At the shoulder times, there may be opportunities to put training events on or utilise center instructors for club courses. 

Public training

Bespoke courses possible

Youth and young adult outdoor activity and training companies

These range from large companies with huge programs, through to small business or individual instructors. Some of these smaller companies that facilitate the adventurous journeys for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award will probably be flexible enough and interested enough to offer affordable bespoke training to clubs. 

Advertised courses or bespoke opportunities

Learning about shelter on a Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club Bushcraft course. Photo/Kevin Cole.

Adventure activity companies

There’s a wide range of ‘full price’ companies and independent guides who offer guided trips or instructional courses. Mountaineering, rock climbing and backcountry skiing trips and instruction is common, but there are also companies offering trips and instruction in other disciplines such as trans-alpine tramping, packrafting, canyoning, mountain biking and so-on. 

The price tag on some of these activities might put some off, but it is worth talking to these companies and guides to see what options there are to tailor activities to meet your budget.

Perhaps the cost of a mountain guide or other professional spread between several senior club leaders could be affordable, and would certainly be 

It’s too big a list to write here, but google will quickly give you a good steer on what is out there. 


This article brings together ideas for types of outfits which we have in NZ, plus a (non-exhaustive) list of links to try.  If you have feedback on the article, or other organisations to include, please get in touch.