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INSIDE Oxygen: pre-hospital use Packrafting: a new era of river exploration Dropping your climber: ideas on prevention Releasing auto-locking belay devices NZOIA’s achievements: the last 3 years River Crossing: methods and decision making Bush magic: nursery spiders and common names Profile: Hillary Outdoors, Great Barrier Island NZ Mountain Safety Council: working together NZOIA Board: the low down of being on it


Excellence in Outdoor Leadership

NZOIA QUARTERLY ISSUE 70: JULY 2015 ISSN 1175-2068 PUBLICATION The NZOIA Quarterly is published four times a year by: New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association Inc. PO Box 1620 Nelson 7040 New Zealand © NEW ZEALAND OUTDOOR INSTRUCTORS ASSOCIATION Except where followed by a copyright statement, articles from the NZOIA Quarterly may be reprinted without permission, provided that the name and date of our newsletter are mentioned.

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Member Organisation

Chairperson’s Report Kia ora all There’s been plenty happening on the Board and NZOIA office front since the last Quarterly. Penny has been and returned from her sailing adventure around the North Island, and still managed to keep on top of assessments, training courses, revalidations, syllabus reviews, revising the NZOIA Safety Management System, the TRoQ processes etc, with help from Shona. And Natalie has been doing a great job of Symposium organising, writing funding applications, developing an on-line logbook, keeping an eye on the finances etc, all while she prepares for her new family adventure. Natalie, you’ve done a great job for NZOIA, in particular picking up the Business Manager role in the last year. A big thank you and best wishes from the Board for your year of parental leave. From 1 June last year to the middle of May, there were 79 assessment, training or refresher events, close to 300 qualifications gained and 350 participants in training or refresher workshops. The NZOIA Technical Sub Committee, of Convenor Dave Moore and Penny, have been working on the Alpine 2 syllabus, the avalanche prerequisite for Alpine 1, assessor currency and applications and reviewing the revalidation process. Some of these and other issues will be up for discussion at the Assessor’s Conference on 1st October. If you are an Assessor and want to have your say, make sure you sign up for the Conference, and take the opportunity to stay on for the Symposium. Our new operating model with Wellington-based executive support from NZRA has worked well this year. We have rolled over the agreement with NZRA for a further 12 months. Andrew

and NZRA are providing cost effective support for the office team and keeping us connected with the Wellington funding, policy and regulatory environment that impacts NZOIA and the outdoor sector. The NZOIA financial year ends on 30 June, and we will come through the year with a small surplus for the second year in a row – thanks to Natalie, Penny, the Board and NZRA. On the qualifications front, we have recently finalised a partnership agreement with Skills Active that will enable benchmarking of NZOIA qualifications to the NZQA framework. This means that it will be possible to receive a NZ Certificate alongside an NZOIA qualification. Penny will now be working with Matt Cowie at Skills Active to develop processes for this. The message we received at last year’s Symposium and AGM was that NZOIA members want to see the NZOIA qualifications system maintained, but better linkages with the NZQA framework – we are now on the path to making this happen. We have also put in place a pathway for MSC instructors who want to become NZOIA qualified. Other topics on the Board agenda have included reviewing the NZOIA strategic plan, the Adventure Activity Regulations and their impacts on NZOIA members, how we better connect with the other players in the outdoor sector such as the adventure tourism industry, and connecting with the current SportNZ review of “active recreation”. We will be looking for one or two more elected Board members at the AGM in October. If you are interested in being involved in deciding the future of your association, check out the article from Ajah on being a Board member and if you think this is you, put your name forward. See you at the Symposium. Gillian Wratt, Chairperson

Congratulations on these recently gained NZOIA Qualifications! Abseil Leader

Christopher Demmer, Jonas Baum, Danielle Love, Peter Hibbert

Bush Walking Leader

Brendan Kerr, Angus Webster, Craig Stapleton, Joshua Kirby, Jesse Dowd, Robert Gray, Timothy Rodgers, Ben Pearson

Bush 1 Cave 2

Frankie Sanders, Edward Coles, Rachel Palma, Jackson Taylor, Jean Cane, Gavin Murdoch, Hugo Verhagen, Janina Gould, Kieran Chandler, Jim Davidson, Anne Bilton, Rod Pancoust, David Lamond Chris Whitehouse

Kayak Leader

Robert Gray, Michael Hinton, Coral Jervis, Kathryn Kinvig, Timothy Rodgers, Angus Webster

Kayak 1

Meg Armon, Tim Shaw, Asher March, Katarina Te Maiharoa, Sam Brewer, Philip Palzer

Rock Climbing Leader

Blair Kaad, Coral Jervis, Jesse Dowd, Michael Hinton, Joshua Kirby, Craig Stapleton, Kathryn Kinvig

Rock 1

Brad Saville, Gareth Riches, Jamie L’Hullier, Nathan Kelly

Rock 2

Andy Fullerton, Owen Lee

Sea Kayak 1

Alastair Burns, Justin Fitton, Christopher Thornton

Sport Climbing Endorsement

Anita Sword, Magnus Hammarsal, Nathan Kelly

Sport Climbing Instructor

Maika Hemera


Excellence in Outdoor Leadership


Thanks Bivouac!

Member Discount

Bivouac has been an ongoing supporter of NZOIA for many years, offering our members a great discount on purchases and providing prizes and sponsorship for member surveys and events such as the NZOIA Symposium. As a Full Member of NZOIA you are entitled to a 20% discount off RRP (some exclusions apply – see below) on purchases at Bivouac stores. If you know what you want but can’t get to a store then you can also redeem this discount by placing an order over the phone 0800 248 682 or via email Not only that, 2.5% of the transaction is allocated to NZOIA. This means that by shopping at Bivouac you are helping to support your association at the same time! Simply present your membership card at time of purchase. Exclusions: electronic items (GPS, GoPro, Transceivers etc), some publications, gift vouchers, sale/clearance items, items sold on behalf of another organisation such as DoC hut tickets or BANFF Film Festival Tickets.

Membership Promotion Bivouac are coming to the party once again! It’s membership renewal time again… Your NZOIA Membership is due every year on the 1st July and you would have received an invoice via email in May – check your inbox or contact NZOIA if you need us to re-send. Some of you have already paid and we thank you for your punctuality.

All those who have paid their membership fees by the 20th July 2015 will go in the draw to win a Black Diamond Ion Touch Headlamp worth $49.90. The latest Ion Headlamp is the smallest, lightest, most fully functional headlamp running on AAA batteries (alkaline, lithium or rechargeable) and features a touch sensitive housing that allows you to switch from full power to dimmed, strobe or red night vision mode with the swipe of a finger. Ideal for ultralight adventures and emergency use.

NZOIA National training




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Inspirational speakers and trainers

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Options for attendance – see registration form

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The call is out for guest speakers and training workshop facilitators – could this be you?

Registration closes 1 August 2015

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31 MAY 2015!

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Excellence in Outdoor Leadership


NZOIA Members Recognising


The NZOIA Excellence awards recognise the highest achievements of individuals involved in outdoor recreation and education in New Zealand. Nominations are requested from the membership for this year’s NZOIA Tall Totara, Emerging Instructor and Life Membership. Awards will be presented at the 2015 Symposium.

Do you know someone deserving of an NZOIA award or Life Membership? Request a nomination form from, or download from Forward your written submissions, to by 31st July 2015.


Emerging instructor Awarded to an instructor who displays great potential for the future, and who demonstrates strong commitment to professional development and qualification acquisition. The ideal recipient should preferably have at least one NZOIA qualification and be recognised as a talented instructor who stands out from the crowd. Generally awarded to a young person but older people who are new to the instructional scene will be considered: • Outstanding amongst their peers • Young person or someone new to the industry • Demonstrated commitment to personal outdoor • 3-4 year commitment to working as an instructor recreational participation and a high achiever or outdoor educator (relative to age and experience) • Current NZOIA qualification holder • Two referees

Tall Totara Awarded to a current instructor who personifies ‘excellence in outdoor instruction’. A highly respected role model, someone who has contributed significantly to outdoor education in New Zealand through both work with clients and with aspirant instructors: • Currently active as an instructor • Well regarded by peers as an inspirational role model, and someone who constantly strives for improvement and excellence • A minimum of two referees from different perspectives (e.g. employer, peer) are required • Generally holds one or more NZOIA Level 2 qualifications • A member for minimum seven years • Strong technical, instructional and educational skills • Demonstrated high level of achievement in personal outdoor pursuits and a role model in this regard

Life member Awarded to a member who personifies the very best combination of an excellent instructor, a high achieving personal performer, and an outstanding contributor to the work and promotion of the association: • Long term contribution to NZOIA for a minimum of 15 years • Diverse areas of contribution including (but not limited to): • Assessment • Governance • Technical committees • Administration / qualifications development • Newsletter articles • Voluntary contribution to the work and promotion of the Association • Recognised high level of achievement in personal pursuits and a role model in this regard • Recognised academic, management, leadership, governance, educational, literary, or technical achievements



Oxygen Use Henry Worsp, Peak Safety

Organisations such as outdoor education centres, ski patrols, fire brigades, rescue teams and some expedition companies carry oxygen to help stabilise unwell patients prior to evacuation by emergency services. Traditionally supplementary oxygen has been used for a range of different ailments, often without much thought as to why it is being administered. Commonly, when asked why a patient was being given oxygen the responder would reply “because it can’t do any harm” rather than identifying how it was beneficial for that particular patient. This article seeks to clarify some of the times when oxygen should or should not be used in the pre-hospital care setting. We understand that not everyone has access to oxygen but for those that do this will hopefully shed some light on its application. Our cells require oxygen to metabolise, however there are times in an emergency setting when the patient is carrying decreased amounts of oxygen due to injury or illness. This could be due to the lungs not working effectively, such as during a pneumothorax, asthma attack, or airway constriction during anaphylaxis. It could also be due to a depressed respiratory effort following a head injury, drug overdose or during a resuscitation. All of these patients should be given supplementary oxygen as the amount of oxygen in their blood is likely to be greatly reduced. But what about the case of a heart attack, a stroke or someone who is having a major bleed? In the past these patients have all been administered oxygen as a matter of course but recent research has proved that, in many cases, we could be doing more harm than good. Studies have consistently found that patients suspected of having an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) actually show a decrease in cardiac output when put on oxygen instead of breathing atmospheric air (, even resulting in slightly higher mortality rates. Increased oxygen levels in a patient having a stroke have been shown to cause vasoconstriction in the cerebral blood vessels (Cornet et al. 2013). In the case of an infarctic (blockage) stroke this certainly has the potential to make things worse.


In the case of a patient suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, administration of therapeutic oxygen has the potential to reduce their ability to regulate their breathing. Recent studies showed a significant increase in the mortality rate of those COPD patients given high concentrations of therapeutic oxygen. Even in major bleeds, as long as the patient is respirating effectively there appears to be no benefit to administering supplementary oxygen although studies on this front are limited. The ability to measure the amount of oxygen in a patient’s blood therefore is a vital piece of information to assist with decision making around oxygen administration. Historically pulse oximeters have been mainly limited to the clinical setting but more recently the development of quality battery powered versions have given the pre-hospital responder the ability to measure oxygen saturations in the field. The accuracy of these devices depends on the amount of patient movement, perfusion, sensor quality and the way in which it is positioned on the patient. With good quality equipment we can generally say that anyone who has a oxygen saturation greater than 94%, and who is ventilating well does not require supplementary oxygen.

References Burls, A, Cabello, J, Emparanza J, Bayliss, S, Quinn, T (2011). Oxygen Therapy for Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Retrieved from viewarticle/752314_5 Cornet et al. ( 2013). Critical Care. The potential harm of oxygen therapy in medical emergencies. Retrieved from content/pdf/cc12554.pdf

Packrafting: A new era of river exploration Dulkara Martig

If you’d asked me about packrafting 18 months ago, I would have visualised people floating down rivers in cheap Warehouse duckies with bike helmets. Times have changed; a modern-day packraft is the ultimate tool for amphibious exploration and I reckon New Zealand is one of the best places on the planet for it. Here’s an insight into what packrafting is all about.

A brief history of inflatable craft Inflatable rafts have been around for thousands of years. Some of the first rafts used cow or goat skins as an air-tight bladder. These were the traditional form of water transportation for many people living in remote villages in Central Asia and were mostly used for transporting cargo and to cross big rivers safely. In the 1800s inflatable rafts started being used on exploratory trips, mostly in the American Rockies and in the Arctic. This was around the time that rubberised fabric was invented which allowed for more durable and versatile constructions. Interest in compact, inflatable rafts increased further during World War One with the need for emergency equipment as flights over large bodies of water became common. As life rafts evolved, becoming increasingly lighter and more durable, the interest in rafting for recreation increased. By the 1950s and 60s the use of inflatable craft for recreation had spread significantly and people started going on more adventurous and obscure journeys. This was also around the time that light-weight air mattresses started being used to float down rivers in Australia and to cross the Grand Canyon. In New Zealand, the earliest recounts I found of rafting were in the early 1900s when three Kiwis headed down the Waimakariri River on a large square raft made of kerosene tins! By the 1960s ‘cowboy’ rafting was becoming popular and rafts would be made out of tyre tubes roped together and amateur adventurers would propel themselves with manuka branches, or whatever else they could source on the side of the river.

New Zealander John Mackay published ‘Wild Rivers’ in 1978, telling the story of exploratory expeditions on six of New Zealand’s wild rivers. I came across the book at a friend’s place and managed to track Mackay down. He was surprised when I phoned him up out of the blue asking about his book which was over 40 years old! When we met up in Auckland he had a twinkle in his eye and a big smile as he recounted trips down various rivers in decades past. When I asked what inspired him, John simply stated; laziness. “We’d see rivers on the train and daydream about floating down admiring the amazing country without too much physical effort.” The first time he went rafting they caught the train to Mount White bridge and put in from there. They used long sticks, which worked reasonably well as paddles. Their initial vision was of standing up on their raft, paddling along with manuka poles. They would often carry paddle blades which they’d then attach to the poles but sometimes they wouldn’t use blades at all. “We thought it’d be a cruisy way to see some beautiful country. Often we’d find ourselves meandering along looking at trout but most of the time it was also bloody hard work.” They had minimal information, trips were mostly exploratory. In contrast, today we have plenty of information: water gauges, Google Earth, blogs and previous trip reports. People are even starting to use drones to scout rivers. Advancements in technology and some innovative designers have seen inflatable crafts evolve into the modern-day packraft, designed to carry a person along with around 20kg of food and equipment down remote rivers. An Alpacka ‘Yukon Yak’ weighs less than 2.5kg, has a spraydeck (optional add-on) and packs down to the size of a small two-person tent. It sits nicely at the bottom of your backpack and is ideal for exploring new country on and off the water. Contrary to what many assume, these boats are made of tough material and can endure hard use; rocky shallows, bush bashing and class 3 whitewater. Some paddlers are even using these rafts to run remote class 5 whitewater. u     


Personal experiences of packrafting in New Zealand I come from a background of both tramping and whitewater kayaking and now am addicted to the fun, the challenge and the exploration factor of packrafting. I find myself visiting places I’d never thought to go to before. I distinctly remember my first real packrafting trip. It was a gloriously sunny South Westland day, one of those days where you find yourself grinning ear to ear, not wanting to be anywhere else on earth. I hitch-hiked from the front door and walked up the Wanganui River valley. My daypack weighed less than 6kg as I sprang along the trail and boulder-hopped my way to a put-in spot. I inflated my raft (which took less than 5 minutes) and hopped in, beaming as I cruised down the rapids towards the main road. Not only was it much more fun than walking alongside the river, but it took around one third of the time! A river run which would otherwise be a helicopter-run became a regular afternoon trip. It wasn’t long before I began heading off on overnight and multiday trips. One of these started in Nelson Lakes; we tramped to the very source of the Clarence River at over 2000m elevation. From here we walked down the dry riverbed to Lake Tennyson where the Clarence was big enough to start paddling, and we paddled all the way to the sea. Another trip started with a meandering float from Lake Heron down Lake Stream into the mountains (a real novelty - there can’t be many rivers that head into the mountains!) before crossing two alpine passes and paddling out the south branch of the Ashburton River. My local favourite (being based in the Nelson area) is the Pelorus River, recently flung to fame in the barrel scene in “The Hobbit”. It’s the ultimate weekend-warrior trip and can be done from the Hackett road-end to the Pelorus bridge in less than 48 hours door-to-door from Nelson (hitch-hiking included).

I’m seeing the wilderness from a fresh perspective and instead of long stretches of river bank travel (on foot), I’ve enjoyed floating out, saving both time and energy…and having more fun! So far I’ve found that I can save at least half the time when compared to walking. For keen world-adventurers, a packraft is an easy way to explore some of the Earth’s most beautiful wild places and you carry everything you need within the typical 23kg baggage limit for an international flight.

Nick Riordan pack rafting the Pelorus River.

Safety implications Typically there are two main ways people begin packrafting: via a background in whitewater and via a background in tramping. The increased stability of a packraft compared to a whitewater kayak means that people can end up navigating technical whitewater before they’ve developed the skills needed to do so safely. They’re unlikely to be aware of this until something goes very wrong. With experience we develop good judgement, and most importantly the ability to accurately assess what is within and beyond our level of competence. Without a background in whitewater, a novice packrafter is all too likely to be unconsciously out of his or her depth. I would recommend having proficient river-running skills in a kayak before taking up packrafting, unless you’re sticking to flat water. Scaffolding your learning from lakes and slow moving non-technical rivers and slowly building up through the grades means that by the time you get to the harder stuff you’ll have a range of experiences to draw from.

Hooker River, Mt Cook.

Packrafting has inspired me to do more off-trail, multi-day wilderness journeys. I’m drawn to areas where I can link together interesting routes; trips which seemed downright crazy suddenly appear both exciting and logical. Google Earth is a useful tool for scoping out potential expeditions and is particularly useful when trying to determine whether a river will have enough water to paddle. Many of these rivers are small, obscure and very isolated and there is often no information documented on them.


Most of the risks are the same as in whitewater kayaking, especially in the event of a swim; for example pinning and foot entrapments. And you’re more likely to swim if you capsize when packrafting. Rolling is possible (with modifications - like adding thigh straps) but it requires much more practice to master. Being able to self-rescue is critical because performing rescues of teammates can be difficult. A packraft is challenging to move around a river at high speed, so therefore is getting to a capsized friend quickly. Also, a capsized packraft will float downstream significantly faster than a whitewater boat which will fill up with water and often get pulled into an eddy. I recently had a friend test out one of my packrafts on the Hooker River. I was on the bank with a throw bag, it was easy to get him to shore after he’d capsized but we then chased the packraft downstream for over a kilometre before being able to retrieve it

Essential safety tips

Pelorus River.

safely. It was interesting watching the way it flew downstream and how it breezed past river features which would catch a plastic kayak. Thus, being stranded without vital outdoor gear during a more remote packrafting trip is a risk that needs to be taken seriously. These are good reasons to test out your equipment and become confident reading water and manoeuvring a packraft on roadside river runs before heading out on more technical wilderness trips. It’s also best to begin with trips where you can paddle next to tramping trails for easy retreat and support.

The future of packrafting in New Zealand It is exciting watching packrafting evolve. Many people are modifying their rafts extensively, creating self-bailers and putting in thigh straps for better manoeuvrability (and rolling). New innovative models are becoming commercially available. New Zealand is the perfect playground for a packrafter and is held in high regard amongst the international packrafting community. Although we have limited rivers long enough for multi-day rafting and canoeing, we have a huge range of smaller creeks and rivers in remote wilderness areas. Many of these are inaccessible for ordinary kayaks, or prohibitively expensive to access via helicopter.

Don’t paddle above your skill level.

Scout! And make good decisions about what to run in relation to your personal competence.

Rescue skills and equipment are similar to whitewater kayaking – know and practice rescue skills, and carry rescue equipment.

River communication: use clear hand and signals, make sure your team-mates are on the same page.

Swimming: learn how to swim effectively and safely in whitewater.

Self Rescue: be efficient getting back into own raft. Practice, practice, practice!

Keen to learn more? •

The American Packrafters Association:

Facebook search ‘Packrafting in New Zealand’ to join a growing group of keen (and aspiring!) packrafters.

Roman Dial’s book ‘Packrafting! An introduction and how-to guide’.

Blogs. There are lots of good ones which will come up in a basic google search. Roman Dial and Luc Mehl are good ones to start with.

Movie edits. A good place to start is with Roman and Luc’s blogs – check out the ‘show up and blow up’ series for technical packrafting. Dulkara Martig, NOLS instructor and World Challenge Leader, holds Bush 1

Qualification Review Update The NZOIA Qualification Review is nearing its end with the Cave Review well under way. Draft Cave Leader, Cave 1 and Cave 2 Syllabus and Assessment Guides have been developed. The Cave Leader and Cave 1 documents have been finalised with the Technical Committee and have now been sent out to the wider reference group for further input. This is the real test to see if we have got it right, as new eyes from industry endeavour to make sense of what we have come up with and see if it will work for them as employers and employees. Draft 1 of the Cave 2 documents are now being pored over by the original Technical Committee. Once the initial Review of Qualifications is complete NZOIA will embark on a 5 year rotational review of all their qualifications. First off the block are the Rock and Wall qualifications. There are a number of qualifications in this area and they have all been getting a lot of use, so I am looking forward to receiving feedback on these and how they all fit together. If you are interested in being part of this review please contact me at The NZOIA Leader Workbooks will also be going through review this financial year.

Any feedback that comes in for each discipline will be collated and used at the time of the review. The plan for the next 5 years (unless there are significant updates that need addressing) is as follows:



2014 - 2015


2015 - 2016

Rock and Wall

2016 - 2017

Bush / Alpine

2017 - 2018

Sea Kayak

2018 - 2019

Kayak / Canoe

2019 - 2020

Canyon / Cave Penny Holland, NZOIA Operations Manager


FOUR WAYS TO DROP YOUR CLIMBER and some ideas on prevention dave brash It should be mentioned that there are way more than four ways to drop your climber – humans are very inventive. The methods described here are among the more common ones. All the scenarios described here are real. Let’s start with the easiest one.

1. DROPPING THE CLIMBER OFF THE END OF THE ROPE This method was employed by belayers in over half of the lowering incidents reported in ‘Accidents in North America Mountaineering’ 2003-2013, and was the cause of the demise of the much loved scion of Payne’s Ford, Willie Butler, who was lowered off a route on a shortened rope. The solution is simple: tie a knot in the end of the climbing rope. So why doesn’t this always happen?

Fig 1. How did that happen? Belaying with a Grigri.


Back to the Grigri.

A group spends a week in the Wanaka region, mostly climbing at the Hospital Flat crags. The fitting grande finale is at Wye Creek. For four days, they have been climbing short routes. At Wye Creek, they are aware of the long 30 metre routes and sloping ground at the base of the cliffs and decide it is a good idea to incorporate a knotted end of the rope into the safety checks. However, despite having otherwise good pre-climb buddy checks, this is not done consistently, and a near miss occurs when a climber is lowered off the popular Main Cliff route ‘About Time’ (30 metres). The belayer is standing on a lower ledge and stops lowering just in time before the rope slips through their hands and belay device.


Mitigation: •

Consider tying a knot in the end of the rope as standard practice at all crags, even with short routes, so it becomes as automatic to check as the rest of the pre-climb checks.

If a rope bag is used as the norm, there is a triple advantage: clean rope, no coiling, and an end permanently tied into the bag.

2. LOWERING THE CLIMBER WITH A GRIGRI (Note: I am using the term Grigri as a generic term for assisted belay device. There are some devices that actually lock off when in ‘full throttle’: these comments don’t apply to those devices.) This is the most common cause of dropping a climber I have come across first hand. I have seen a few climbers dropped with a Grigri, and have heard of more; however I still haven’t seen or heard of a lowered climber being dropped on an ATC. Why the difference? In a high stress situation, (for example, the belayer sees the climber descending too fast), the limbic system initiates the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ reaction, bypassing the logical, thinking part of the brain and it is intuitive to hang on tight. I have seen how this stress reaction works with the Grigri several times: the belayer’s reaction is to hold on, or even pull down harder, not to let go of the lever. This reaction can actually work in favour of the belayer with an ATC, because when the **** hits the fan ‘hang on tight’ is the call from the lizard part of the brain, and that works for the ATC.


I have been highly aware of this hazard for many years and have sought to mitigate the risk by: •

Focusing on correct lowering and stopping technique when teaching students;

Being next to the belayer on at least their first lower;

Getting the belayer to let go of the lever at least once or twice on their first lower, and using the ‘Stop’ command with beginner belayers at different times to check their awareness;

Having backup belayers with beginner groups;

Maintaining active supervision, especially during transition at the top.

I did all this with a beginner group earlier this year, and still had a climber dropped to the ground. The climber was being lowered off a low angle route; he unweighted slightly on a ledge 5 metres above the ground. The belayer pulled down harder on the lever, the climber put full weight on the rope again and accelerated. The belayer froze in full throttle mode, and the climber decked (no injury). Interestingly, although the back up belayer was apparently vigilant he did not react and the rope slid through his hands. I was 4 metres away, watching, and still was unable to do anything.

Learning: Instruction, ratios and supervision on this session were good, and a climber still hit the deck. What will I do in the future? •

Use ATCs in preference to Grigris with beginner groups unless unavoidable, e.g. commercial climbing wall;

Change back up belayer technique from holding rope to waist belay;

Emphasise and monitor that the climber must fully weight the rope before the belayer touches the lever.



Communication is integral to safe practice, especially at the top of the climb, where belayer and climber are distant from each other and failure will be catastrophic.

Lucy Aitken Read

Scenario: A lead climber nears the top of a route at Cattlestop Crag. Because of the low angled top, and the belayer being close to the cliff at the bottom, there is no line of sight. The climber leans back onto the rope to be lowered, but there is slack in the rope, and the climber drops. The belayer has already pulled back on the lever when the climber shockloads the rope, and is unable to let go of the lever before the climber hits the ground. Serious injuries resulted. Communicate, communicate, communicate: I teach my students to use three senses involved in communication before they weight the rope. In order of importance they are visual, verbal and kinesthetic (feel of rope slack or tension). If any of these senses cannot be utilised there is potential for miscommunication and catastrophe. Firstly, if leading, discuss the mode of descent before leaving the ground (Lower off? Abseil off?). Agree on concise, clear verbal communication. At the top, every time, beginners top roping or experienced climbers leading do the following: •

Climber looks down at belayer says ‘Got me?’

Belayer takes in, looks up at climber, says ‘Got you’.

Climber looks down and checks belayer’s attention and hand positions, then weights the rope. (When I am about to be lowered I also like to keep one hand on the belayer’s side of the rope during transition – this aids feel of tension/slack in the rope, and provides extra back up, but this is not recommended for beginners.)

Fig 2. Poor belayer positioning – too far out from the rock.

‘Hang on a minute, you were just saying how the freeze response works in favour of the ATC’, you may be thinking. True - when the forces aren’t too great, as in lowering the climber. When the lead climber falls the forces can be great enough to overwhelm the ‘hold on tight’ reaction, and poor technique in paying out rope can exacerbate the problem. The latest NZAC Climber has an article which describes two lead belaying failures causing grounds falls at a climbing wall; I have seen one, again at a climbing wall. Dropped lead climbers are becoming more frequent, probably due to ever skinnier single ropes. This is not a comprehensive ‘how to belay the lead climber’ primer, but a spotlight on two very common faults which can lead to a loss of control if the climber falls at the wrong time:

Belayer positioning: This is especially important when the leader is low on the route as:

Climber says ‘Lower me down’, still with visual contact.

Fall factor forces are higher down low.

The critical transition is completed and the climber can be lowered. Belayer must be completely sure the climber’s full weight is on the rope before lowering.

The belayer can be swung into the wall.

The leader can fall onto the belayer.

Visual contact is the most important form of communication. If climber and belayer cannot see each other there are a few options in the group situation: •

Belayer moves back from the cliff until he can see the climber: another person can crouch down and hold on to the back of the belayer’s harness to add some ballast.

Instructor can stand in position where she can see the belayer and check the procedure.

After the climber clips the first runner, the belayer should stand close into the wall, and to one side, i.e. not under the climber. Choose the side which is most likely to keep the rope clear of the climber (Fig 3). As the climber gets higher on the route the belayer can return to a front on position below the climber but never too far away from the wall – bad luck about that sore neck.

In multi-pitch and especially alpine rock climbing, some or all of these three communication cues can be missing. What to do in this situation is another can of worms, outside the scope of this article – and outside the scope of our instructional environment. In an instructional setting, we should aim to maximise all three cues, but the visual is the most crucial. A danger sign is when the climber at the top doesn’t look down at the belayer. All beginners will look down before weighting the rope because they are not yet habituated to the exposure, but this reaction can quickly disappear with increased confidence. Don’t let it disappear.

Fig 3. Good belaying position – close to the rock.

u    11.

Paying out rope:


If the brake hand is above the ATC when the climber falls (Fig 4) there is a fair chance the hand will be sucked into the ATC and the climber dropped. The correct two part sequence for paying out the rope is shown in Figs 5 and 6. If your brake hand is below the ATC at all times, the stress response will work in your favour and once you have reprogrammed your technique, you’ll find rope payout is just as fast and efficient as feeding the rope in from above the ATC.

This incident occurred in April (names have been changed). Joe topped out on the Tombstone and brought Jan up on his ATC guide device, set up to belay in autoblock mode off the anchor.

Don’t underestimate how hard it can be to hold a lead fall; practise holding falls with a back up belayer.

Joe decided to lower Jan off back to the ground in autoblock mode, and followed the Petzl recommended method: he hooked a carabiner into the Guide to act as a lever to tilt it upwards and release the auto-block while holding on to the brake side with the other hand. The ropes jammed in the V (Fig 7) with the top (climber’s) side squeezed beside the bottom (belayer’s) side. Joe pulled up higher on the carabiner lever; the jam released suddenly, and the climber dropped; she hit the ground from about 7 metres up and suffered a broken ankle. An assumption is made that the ‘freeze’ reaction discussed with Grigri lowering came into play here – if Joe had been able to let go of the lever carabiner, then Jan should have stopped falling. Great in principle but when the ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response kicks in, it’s a different story.

Fig 4. No! If climber falls now they’ll potentially hit the deck.

Fig 7. Jammed rope – reverso in autoblock mode.

The Reverso/Guide type device is a wonderful tool, coming into its own when belaying from above with two ropes, alpine rock climbing or in a group of three. In addition a simple and foolproof 3:1 raise can be set up in a matter of seconds. When it comes to lowering the climber though, it’s user beware, despite the manufacturers’ instructions, which are disarmingly blasé. Don’t use the autoblock mode for lowering unless you have no choice, and try to avoid having no choice. Fig 5. Paying out the rope, Step 1.

Let’s look at another scenario: You are guiding your beginner friend up the classic Little Big Wall (Hospital Flat again!); he gets pumped trying to get through the crux of the second pitch, and is hanging from the rope swinging gently in the breeze. ‘Lower me down’ he pleads.

What are the options? Firstly, avoid the problem. Belay with an Italian Hitch off the anchor belay rather than the Reverso if you think you may have to lower a free hanging second, and you can lower immediately. Is the answer ‘No, I haven’t done that: I’m belaying with a Reverso in auto-block mode’? OK then, here are some options: •

Fig 6. Paying out the rope, Step 2.


Bring the climber up rather than lowering them down – you can set up a 3:1 raise in a jiffy, and he will be through the roof and on the slab again in no time.

Wriggling the carabiner that the rope runs up and over will gradually lower him a short distance to a ledge; then transfer the lowering system to an Italian hitch and lower him down. Take care to keep him safe during the changeover.

Carabiner lever (Petzl method): Simple and fast, but difficult or even impossible to lower a heavy weight, especially when the focal point is fairly high. The leverage and subsequent control can be increased considerably by substituting a nut key for the carabiner, but it can still be difficult. If these methods are used, the brake rope must go to an Italian hitch back up belay or prusik on the harness. If this doesn’t work you will need to go to:

Something more complicated. This method was workshopped in a recent Rock 2 assessment by candidate Loz Ogle, and assessor John Entwistle supplied the following summary of the findings: 1. Work to free the carabiner, as this minimises the tendency to twist the system. (Note: a twist in the system contributed to Joe’s error.) 2. Do this by attaching a long Dynema sling or prusik to the Reverso carabiner and redirect it upwards through the anchor and back to your harness (or foot)…so you have a mini pulley system. 3. Before weighting it, set up a tied off Italian Hitch on your harness i.e. a redirected belay. (Fig 8 – belayer safety is removed for simplicity.) 4. Now weight the mini pulley system by using your body weight. The load should now be on the Italian Hitch on your harness. Ease your weight off the pulley system to lock the Reverso and then carefully release the Italian Hitch. 5. Now reload the pulley system and commence lowering in a controlled manner.

Fig 8. Reverso auto block lower using long sling and Italian hitch.

Complicated? Requires extra gear? Well yes, so it’s best to avoid the situation altogether if you can. However if you are using a Reverso to belay from above, be aware of the potential risks and glitches, always back up any lower with an Italian Hitch on your harness, and practise before you need to use it.

We want your story! We are looking for contributions from you, the NZOIA members,for the NZOIA Quarterly. Do you have a story to tell? Do you know someone who has thoughts to share?

Photo: Johnny Johnson

Dave Brash, NZOIA Rock assessor and owner of ‘Dunedin Climbing’

Articles could be: A personal adventure and how your experiences have impacted your instruction of others. / An incident, near miss or accident that others could learn from. / A personal profile - an interesting tale about how you got to be where you are now in the world of outdoor instructing. / An organisation that is doing innovative and interesting things - with its programme, philosophy, direction and instruction. / A reflection on any aspect of outdoor instruction that you think would be educational and beneficial for others to hear. Contact Jen Riley the editor with your ideas and for guidelines:


Belay Devices MARK JONES

The pioneering French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” That point was reached with belay devices when Black Diamond developed the ATC. Then they started adding thingsfirst the teeth with the XCP, then the auto-block accessories on the Guide. Additional metal for additional capabilities, but were these solutions to problems that never existed? One contributor to a Mountain Project forum discussing a climber dropped and damaged by their partner using the Guide wrote: “Solving this non-existent problem of how in the world to belay the second, they [auto-blocking devices] encourage inattention, introduce multiple inconveniences, harbour dangerous idiosyncrasies, and provoke absolutely hilarious work-arounds, as evidenced by the video* illustrating everything the modern belayer has to do to lower a second.” You might agree with the sentiments expressed above, or not, depending on your allegiances to the “KISS” philosophy, but one thing is for sure, people love gadgetry and accessory features, and as a result manufacturers of belay devices now all have a version with an auto-blocking mode on the market… Auto-blockers are here to stay. The problems alluded to above with auto-blocking devices result from people using, what is essentially a great tool, for the wrong purposes. They are brilliant to second two people simultaneously after leading on skinny ropes. They are ideal when guiding on less than vertical terrain where the need to release a climber under load is unlikely. Once it gets steep and overhangs and/or roofs are involved, sensitive paying out of slack and lowering can become routine to the belaying process, and in those cases I think that the auto-blockers can become a problem, rather than a solution. If you knew you were going to have to lower a climber you’d be better to belay with something else- like an Italian hitch. Basically guide plates are ill suited to lowering and techniques for doing this are really an emergency procedure. I’ve witnessed a number of assessees getting into more strife than they bargained on attempting to release their guide plate when their second is hanging below an overhang or is “incapacitated”. In light of this I spent some time playing about with a Petzl Reverso 3, a Kong Ghost, and a Black Diamond ATC Guide with 80kgs of deadweight to figure out what gives with getting them stuck and how best to unjam them. When the device is used in auto-blocking or guide mode and a climber weights the rope, the dead rope going to the belayer’s controlling hand is pinched beneath the loaded rope going to the climber. This is very secure when set up correctly and does not slip. However if the climber cannot unweight the rope this presents a problem when it comes to being lowered. One solution to lower the second is to incrementally ratchet the additional carabiner (the one that is jammed by the rope against


the device). This is only really useful for lowering quite short distances, say less than half a metre. Using a bina or nut-pick to lever the device into an orientation that allows lowering was relatively easy (see the Petzl instructional video on this style of release com/watch?v=93YDB1jj21s). However if the loaded rope is allowed to slide beneath the dead rope (see Fig. 7 in Dave Brash’s article) the system will progress from the climber’s rope being pinched to being quite jammed. At this point a nutpick ceases to be effective and a redirected sling becomes necessary (see the Black Diamond Instructional video https:// Using this method I sometimes found that effecting a release required the full weight of my body (72kg clipped to the sling) whilst also pulling up on the loaded rope (there was no edge between the load and the anchor so it did present a maximum weight scenario). I had heard that a foot loop was sufficient to release the guide, but found this impossible in all but ideal circumstances. None of the devices was as easy to release as the instructional videos would have you believe. As expected new ropes were easier to release and worn fuzzy ropes more difficult. Thickness of rope had little bearing on how easily the device released or whether a lower became jammed. The crucial thing to ensure easy and smooth lowering and to avoid jamming was to ensure the belayer’s rope was not oriented in such a way that the loaded rope could override it, i.e., keep it pulling in two dimensions only, through the groove and away from the climber’s rope, as in Fig. 8. Like Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s eloquent expression regarding design, practice has also reached perfection when there is nothing left to take away. I’m not sure I even came close to that point. But what my short session reinforced for me was the value of practicing with your own device to discover its idiosyncrasies and the various variables involved. I did learn that what looks straightforward in the manufacturers instructional video tutorial can turn pear-shaped very quickly. Complex and powerful workarounds are better avoided by being fully conversant with the tools you use. And better to avoid using devices in auto-blocking/guide-mode when you are belaying on terrain where sensitive paying out of slack and lowering are expected. * (The video referred to in the MP forum watch?v=G3zOisWbuB8 was actually pretty similar to Black Diamond’s own video tutorial on how to lower using an ATC in guide mode (except for an additional step redirecting the dead rope to a higher point on the anchor before in was connected to the harness, which I think is an unnecessary complication, and can contribute to the likelihood of getting a jam).

Mark Jones, lectures at AUT and assesses 3 NZOIA disciplines.

Natalie Thomson seconding at Arapiles.

Releasing Auto-Blocking

Excellence in Outdoor Leadership

The last three years: what we have achieved There have been some substantial developments at NZOIA in recent times. Some of these changes have occurred at the Board level – we now have a board composition of 4 elected directors and 3 appointed directors. This has provided NZOIA with increased experience in governance, business, political and strategic expertise. We have also had a change of internal organisational structure with the introduction of a Business Manager and Operations Manager supported by administration and executive support staff. A new website has been introduced which has reduced the amount of paper driven administration, and new organisational systems have been developed to increase efficiency in the office. NZOIA is a not-for-profit and as comes with this territory, we often feel under resourced both financially and people wise. We are extremely grateful to those members (and non-members) who volunteer their time to help NZOIA achieve great things – such as participating in qualification reviews, contributing to the Technical Sub Committee, offering training workshops at the symposium, and generally helping out when we need a hand. In the office, it has been nice to reflect on what has been achieved in the last 3 years, check out the list below for a summary and also take a look at what is on the horizon.

What we have achieved: •

The ‘Art of Kayaking Film’ production in conjunction with Tai Poutini Polytech, the NZ Kayak School and Paddle

Discounted access to publications and products such as the NZ Whitewater Guide, Ropes Rigging & Rescue Field Guide and SurfEars earplugs

Facilitated 3 successful Symposiums

Faster response times to email and general enquiries

Regular member correspondence through the NZOIA 4YA

A review of all the Qualification Syllabuses to ensure they are meeting industry needs

Implementation of a regular review system for qualifications

Development of Leader Qualification workbooks

Free Range Assessment process

Free Range Revalidation process

An in-depth review of the Assessor’s contract, including higher pay for assessor to come closer to market rates

More comprehensive insurance for our assessors

Input into TRoQ SRG (Targeted Review of Qualifications Sector Reference Group) and Technical Expert groups

An NZOIA representative on Skills Active SAM (Senior Assessor Mentor) selection panel

Apprenticeship Partnership with Skills Active – enabling members to access NZQA quals and apprenticeship funding by cross-crediting their NZOIA qualifications

A simplified and accessible transition package for Mountain Safety Council members to NZOIA

Introduction of a new accounting system allowing website integration and enhanced financial reporting.

Electronic invoicing and receipting

In-house production of membership cards and certificates, reducing long term production costs by 50% and decreasing turnaround time for members to receive their items

Promotion for Instructors – Choose a Professionally Qualified Instructor Flyer

Advocacy to Worksafe in regards to the Adventure Activity Regulations (NZOIA was a driving force behind the exemption for contractors who are contracting to an organisation that does not need to be registered)

New website allowing online course applications, an assessor search feature and a module for assessors that holds resources and other valuable information

Greater consistency in reporting for assessments

And of course, the general day to day running of NZOIA!

What is on the horizon? •

Development of Assessor Resources to use on assessments for greater consistency across the nation

Audited SMS against WorkSafe’s Safety Audit Standard (SAS)

Partnership Agreement with Skills Active to benchmark NZOIA qualifications with NZQA qualifications.

Review of the River Rescue syllabus in conjunction with Whitewater NZ

Technical field guides for NZOIA disciplines

Full review of the Revalidation process

Extra options to revalidate your qualifications such as attending a River Rescue course (Kayak) or Backcountry Avalanche Risk Management course (Alpine)

Developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Whitewater NZ and Leave No Trace NZ

AUT joining the Assessment Centre pool

Introduction of the Active Assessor Newsletter – a regular publication to keep assessors connected, informed and for moderation purposes

We are continually trying to improve services and quality for our members and provide a solid advocacy service for the industry. We have a few more projects on the horizon, but if there is anything you think we could be working on then send us an email and let us know: Excellence in Outdoor Leadership


Natalie Thomson, NZOIA Business Manager


RIVER CROSSING THOUGHTS ON METHODS AND DECISION MAKING Jim Masson In the November 2011 edition of the FMC Bulletin (No. 186) there was an article written by Brian Williams titled “Fording for Everyone”. One of the key topics in the article was the use of rope(s) to assist crossing safely. The article contained a wide range of information that seems to have been the catalyst of a lot of discussion, argument and extra training in the case of some outdoor organisations. Prior to the NZOIA Symposium of 2013, I was approached and asked if I would run a workshop on the use of ropes in river crossings. As a Rock, Bush and Alpine assessor, as well as having some, albeit historic, experience within the rafting and swift water rescue fields, I briefly considered doing so. The more I thought about it, the less keen I was to be involved. I thought this reaction interesting so decided to try to put some thoughts together as to why I felt so strongly about it. Jen Riley caught me in an unguarded moment and I found myself committed to an article for the Quarterly, so here goes, albeit a bit later than she wanted! (Thanks Jen). I believe that it is necessary for us to establish the parameters of any discussion of river crossings techniques. In the context of an instructional / guiding setting there is very much a duty of care where we should not be exposing our client or student groups to avoidable hazards. There can sometimes be a level of risk that you may accept as a group of peers or whilst on a private trip, either as a conscious decision or possibly even an ‘heuristic trap’. When in the instructional / guiding role every decision must be made after considering all the options available and then the possible consequences of an action or decision. To paraphrase a very experienced NZOIA / NZMGA / all round outdoor experienced older gentleman; “What we do as consenting adults is one thing, what we do with student or client groups is another.”

Laura Halliday using large stick for support. Photo: Bridget Janse.

rigging systems. Very few had experience using ropes to support river crossings whilst dressed in bush / tramping / mountaineering clothing and whilst wearing a pack. This made me more confident that I had a reasonably accurate perception of the situation.

Tai Poutini students crossing with mutual support. Photo: Ariana Andrews.

I have / had used various rope techniques crossing rivers in the past, mainly based on the information within my old ‘Safety in the Mountains’, published around 1960-something. This was my prime reference when starting my ‘bush apprenticeship’. It should be said that the methods actually work quite well; the rope provides support and a feeling of security. I believe that there are two problems though. The major one being is that if you were to lose your footing there are some problems that may occur. Even if the rope was tensioned across a river, it is impossible to regain your footing if you were to lose it. Try it; hang on to a rope with your body downstream in a decent current. Let the current take your legs and then try to stand up again. You cannot. The other problem is the potential for you and the rope to get tangled / stuck / trapped. This can occur even with the best rope management and can be lethal.

I have spoken to a range of outdoors types asking if and when they had ever used a rope in the river environment. At least half of them had but almost always in a rafting or kayaking situation, with supporting equipment and techniques such as zip lines, releasable towlines, buoyancy aids, river knives and releasable

Rope entanglment is the part that concerns me the most. Imagine a scenario where the group you are supervising arrives at a river. It does not look too bad but the current is a bit swift and you decide that you must cross and so pick a good spot considering all the factors such as depth, run out, entry / exit


lot, and also whilst crossing rivers but they are for balance, not support). If I am alone and the water is deep or fast, I use a pole. The other is the mutual support with a party of four or five linking arms through the small of the back and grabbing the opposite pack strap(s). This is strong and provides good support. There are all sorts of variables such as where do you position your party members but the technique works in a range of configurations and situations.

Anna Drabble crossing solo. Photo: Bridget Janse.

etc. Then, using what ever method you know, a rope is added to the mix. There are just too many variabes that could go wrong, and would be then very difficult to manage. Most scenarios involve one person in the water having an adventure and intervention by the supervisor challenging. There are two methods for crossing rivers that are currently promoted by the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council. Both have proved to be effective. The first is using a pole to assist an individual. Holding the pole across your body with the end of the pole upstream and using it as a brace and to break some of the flow. I have used this a lot and it is my normal ‘go to’. I actually prefer it to any mutual support method but that may be indicative of my physical size. The pole must be a decent length, as walking poles do not ‘cut it’. (Yes, I do use walking poles a

I really believe that there is no substitute for judgement as to appropriate methods used. During the weekend just gone I was on a trip up a West Coast valley. The previous day it had heaved down with rain and the river was carrying a bit of colour. On the way out I met a rather wet bloke and we had a yarn. He had a ‘route guide’ that had suggested that the crossing was close to the carpark; so that is where he had crossed. I believe that a blind man could have identified that with a bit more water this was not the best option however he was influenced by printed information that did not account for the dynamic nature of rivers. There was an easier three way braid 200 metres upriver which was visible from where he had crossed and was in the direction he was going. Judging speed, depth, entry – exit, run out, debris etc are far more important than just method. With a group of clients/ students/guests you have the absolute responsibility to use techniques to manage any given environmental situation as safely as is possible. I would rather not set myself up for a nightmare and choose to keep ropes out of my river river crossings! Jim Masson, NZOIA assessor for Bush, Rock and Alpine

NZOIA Training & Assessment ASSESSMENT FEES Assessment course

Course fee

Abseil Leader

Kayak Leader

Contact an assessor directly

Rock Climbing Leader Sea Kayak Leader Sea Kayak 1 Upgrade Sport Climbing Endorsement


$545 - $595

Kayak 2 – Class 3 River MMt Kayak 2 – Skills Instruction Alpine 1 Bush 1 & 2 Canyon 1 & 2 Cave 2

$730 - $780

Kayak 1 Rock 2 Sea Kayak 1 & 2 Alpine 2

3. On the course calendar, find the event you want to apply for (you will need to be logged into your member profile) and select ‘Apply’. Upload your logbook, summary sheet, first aid certificate and any other required documentation to your application. (NB: Non-members can attend Training Courses) 5. After the closing date we will confirm that the course will run.

Cave 1 Sport Climbing Instructor

2. Check out the Syllabus & Assessment Guide, if you are applying for an assessment then make sure you meet all the pre-requisites.

4. Applications close 6 weeks before the course date.

Canoe 1 Rock 1

Booking for an NZOIA Assessment, Training or Refresher Workshop 1. Go to

Bush Walking Leader Canoe Leader

The course calendars for Training and Assessments can be found at Members are notified of updates to the calendar via the NZOIA 4YA – our weekly email.


6. If we cancel the course we will refund all fees. 7. If NZOIA cancels a course, you will receive a full refund/transfer of your fee. If you withdraw before the closing date, you will receive a full refund of your fee. 8. If you withdraw after the closing date of a course, the fee is non-refundable. It is transferable under exceptional circumstances (e.g. bereavement, medical reasons), medical certificates/other proof may be required. Contact the Programme and Membership Manager for more details. TRAINING COURSES

Further Information Details of courses run by NZOIA, prerequisites and online payment are all available at:

Courses by special arrangement

Course Duration

NZOIA members

Non - members

1 day courses



2 day courses



It is possible to run assessments on other dates. You will need a minimum of 3 motivated candidates and the date of when you would like the course to be run. Go to the FAQ page on the website for details on how to arrange a course. Course Costs: all courses run by NZOIA are discounted for members.


Excellence in Outdoor Leadership 17.

Bush Magic

with Marj Nursery Web Spider

Have any of you paused to wonder at the parcels of cobweb strongly attached to the tips of manuka, broom and gorse in swampy areas. Most spiders spin their web to catch prey. This busy spider-mum spins her web to create a safe house for her offspring to live in until they are old enough to leave home. The nocturnal spider, Dolomedes minor, is endemic to New Zealand and found from sea level to sub-alpine regions. She is brown with a leg span of up to 6cm. The male is smaller. In summer she can be seen roaming about carrying an everexpanding white ball of eggs under her body. Before the ball becomes too big, she climbs to the tip of a bush and weaves her nursery for them, then spends the next week or so waiting in the undergrowth below the bush while more than 100 eggs will hatch into tiny spiders which will moult at least twice before emerging and ‘ballooning’ to the ground. Each spiderling releases strands of silk which are caught by wind currents and allow the spider to float through the air as if by parachute or balloon. The landing site is dependent on the strength and direction of the wind. When we see the many nurseries dotted over a stretch of scrub, we must wonder at the potential population of these spiders and their place in the food chain.


Tick. Old Man’s Beard Lichen Usnea species

This pale creamy-green lichen festoons beech trees in many of our National Parks and even trees in unpolluted urban areas. The Usnea genus is very sensitive to pollutants (especially Sulphur dioxide) so if you find it growing in your area… breath deeply as the air is relatively clean. Usnic acid, found in all Usnea lichens has strong antibiotic and antifungal properties.

4 Tick.

Old Man’s Beard Moss Weymouthis mollis

Long fine greeny-brown strands of moss hang from branches in areas of high rainfall such as Fiordland and West Coast. It creates an enchanted forest atmosphere from which extinct beasts or even moose may well emerge. It is also found in Argentina and Australia.


Chop. Old Man’s Beard Climbing Vine Clematis vitalba

A fast growing deciduous climbing plant which rapidly chokes any other vegetation. It is classified as an Unwanted Organism and DOC is pro-active in its eradication. It was introduced as a desirable garden plant in 1922 from its native UK / Europe and thrived. Seeds are dispersed by wind and remain viable for several years. Each stem can grow 10 metres in one year and the tangled mass of vegetation blocks light and so the supporting plants die.

4 Tick. Native Clematis Clematis paniculata (not called Old Man’s Beard)

The Pitfalls of Using Common Names – Old Man’s Beard Three plants are known as Old Man’s Beard in New Zealand. Two get ticks, the other gets the chop. This situation highlights the danger of common names being used to identify plants. Botanical names may seem unnecessarily complicated and difficult to remember but they serve to make it clear which plant is being discussed.

This also gets a big tick. Not all clematis are unwanted. In Spring the native clematis flowers high in the bush with splashes of pure white flowers. It has three leaves and smooth bark whereas C vitalba has five leaves and flaky bark. Marj Riley, keen botanist and noticer of nature

Save $100! Training & Assessment Combo Package Yes that’s right, we are offering you a training/assessment package. On completion of a NZOIA training course you will be given a $100 voucher to be used against the cost of a future assessment in the same discipline. We want to encourage members to attend a pre-assessment training course prior to an assessment. Why? Because we believe that.... • pre-assessment training leads to a better assessment experience for the candidates and the assessor • pre-assessment training will lead to a higher quality instructor in the field • pre-assessment training will improve the pass rate on assessments This trial offer begins on the 1 July 2015 and ends on the 30 June 2016. You will need to use your assessment voucher within 12 months of attending your training course. So if you are considering an assessment in the future, team it up with a pre-assessment training event. There should be one in the same island 3 - 6 months prior to your assessment. The 2016 calendar is due out by the end of June 2015.


Hillary Outdoors Great Barrier Island

Freya O’Donoghue

Hillary Outdoors (formerly The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand, commonly known as OPC) is a charitable trust that provides Outdoor Education primarily to young people. Hillary Outdoors opened its first centre in 1972 beside the Tongariro National Park. In 2006 a second centre was opened on Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf with more of a marine focus.

Previously primarily a seasonal centre, we now also run a number of 5 week long residential programmes throughout the winter months. Besides outdoor activities, life skills, community living, environmental education and sustainability are a big focus on these programmes. Students become a part of the island community, sharing meals, building tracks and planting native trees.

Great Barrier offers a unique and special environment for the marine based centre that challenges and inspires our visitors. Rugged coastlines, sheltered harbours, white sandy beaches and a diverse range of bird and marine life provide a perfect setting for educating young New Zealanders about the outdoors. The centre is located in a small community on the edge of Karaka Bay in the north of the island. With no mains power, water or sewerage, the community is self-reliant and endeavours to live as sustainably as possible. Our students are accommodated in relocated whaling station huts and are catered for by Orama Trust, with whom Hillary Outdoors has a close relationship.

“Living on a secluded island for 5 weeks isn’t easy, but the community on Great Barrier welcomed us with open arms and showed us the way of life through economic, social, cultural, and environmental sustainability.” - Hillcrest High School Student on a residential programme.

As a marine-based outdoor education centre we primarily run week long programmes for secondary school students. Instructors facilitate a group of 10 students throughout the week in a range of activities in and around the ocean. As far as activities go, coasteering and surf kayaking are often said to be students’ favourites. Feeding the friendly fish while snorkelling and sea kayak overnights are a weekly occurrence in summer. Sailing offers students the opportunity to connect with, and harness the power of nature. Fishing and gathering kai moana provide discussion around food sources, cultural practices and environmental issues. When the winds are too strong to be out on the water we take to the hills. For some the challenge may be navigating the steep terrain, for others it could be abseiling down a waterfall or trusting their team members in the high ropes. Before rock climbing, teams are traditionally challenged to squeeze into a zoo-like cage in a pest proof fence to access Glenfern Sanctuary where the local crag is situated. The view atop the crag while students are clinging to the rock, roped together for Via Ferrata, never gets old. “Great Barrier is a memory that is unforgettable in every single way.” – Student, Melville High School.

Our partnership with the neighbouring 230ha Glenfern Sanctuary, combined with unique island living provides an ideal environment to educate for sustainability. We are continually seeking ways of incorporating more environmental learning outcomes and action projects. Hakea Bombing for example sees teams sneaking through the sanctuary pulling out the hakea weed and ‘bombing’ other groups to get the most points. Students are encouraged to create a ‘bottle brick’ during their time at Hillary Outdoors, where they fill a fizzy drink bottle with landfill rubbish. These bricks are currently being used to build a bench in the shape of the island’s endangered native chevron skink. Students also learn about the community’s water source and undertake activities around healthy water ways when they go steep creeking. As a tight-knit staff team, our values and commitment towards the environment drives the continuing development of holistic place based learning opportunities on Great Barrier Island. We follow in the footsteps of Graeme Dingle and Sir Edmund Hillary as we share our passion for the outdoors and continue to deliver programmes that fulfil Hillary Outdoors’ Education Philosophy: Contributing positively to the life journey of young people, in the spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary, through adventure and rich outdoor learning experiences that develop care and respect for self, others and place. Freya O’Donoghue, Rock 1, Sea Kayak 1, Bush Leader, Kayak Leader


Working together to build a lasting outdoor safety culture Mike Daisley, New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Chief Executive Officer

For example, ‘occasional trampers’ may venture outdoors two or three times a year, and will often plan a trip the week before, or on the spur of the moment. They are just one of the groups in need of readily available safety resources, and this is just one instance where a safety course is simply not practical. By reaching these people, we can encourage them to plan earlier, helping them to recognise the need for safety in their expeditions. But what other groups should we be focusing on, what do they need to know and how do we best reach them? This is where information about where people go and when, and what hazards they might face will help to ensure we are working on the right messaging and resources to reach the right people in the right way.

Photo by Nathan Watson.

Over the past year, the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) has been working to redefine what we do; enabling more people to access the outdoors safely, and ensuring we continue to be as relevant as the day we were founded, 50 years ago. To enable people to enjoy their outdoor recreation safely, we need to work out how to reach more of them. More than a million people regularly experience New Zealand’s great outdoors and about three million get out at least once a year. This includes everything from multi-day trips into remote backcountry to short bush walks close to towns and cities. Our new strategic direction represents a coherent plan to build safety culture across the diverse groups of people that access the outdoors. It consists of three major platforms: safety messaging, identifying and responding to insights provided by the ongoing collection and analysis of information, and partnerships. Safety messaging means getting the right information to the right people at the right time; presenting credible, useful safety resources in the way they will be of the most use to the most people. People today want information to be readily available and easily shared, and we need to use a variety of media to reach people and let them know how to stay safe in the outdoors. We have recently undertaken national radio advertising across eight major radio stations in the lead up to Queen’s Birthday weekend, on New Zealand’s largest news website, and in Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine KiaOra. Understanding who needs what kind of information is also critical.


Our work programme needs to be informed by the insights we develop through the ongoing collection and analysis of information. This will mean we are able to provide messages that are relevant to the moment and to build on and enhance New Zealand’s outdoor safety culture from a solid foundation of facts. Forging clear partnerships with other organisations will help identify how we can best support each other to provide the best possible safety information and education, and to ensure we deliver targeted and consistent messaging. It is still early days, but already we have met with some success in our new approach. We recently worked with the MetService to develop a joint media release for Queen’s Birthday weekend, which focused on the weather forecast and relevant safety messaging. We have also been working with DOC on a safety wall for their new Queenstown visitor centre, and on new ‘out of season’ and winter tramping signage and information that will feature in the track huts and key track information areas, such as local visitor centres, in Fiordland over the winter months. As an industry, there are opportunities for collaboration as never before. We have also been working closely with other training providers, such as NZOIA and Skills Active, to ensure the skills and knowledge of our volunteers are put to good use, following the end of MSC training courses. It’s good to see the future of outdoor qualifications and direct safety training for people looking to access the outdoors is in good hands. By working together, we can deliver a consistent, considered approach that avoids reinventing the same service in slightly different ways. With a clear direction, we can offer clear benefit. Our new strategy will ensure we are relevant to more people than ever before and help New Zealand’s outdoor safety culture to flourish, today and into the future.

NZOIA is one of the pairs of good hands. As MSC are no longer offering outdoor training courses and qualifications/warrants: NZOIA and MSC have worked together to provide a smooth transition for MSC members who hold current qualifications/ warrants and for those who have just begun their training pathway. Current qualification/warrant holders who want to transfer them to NZOIA qualifications can do so through a Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) process. NZOIA and the MSC negotiated several discounts for those who transitioned their qualifications between 1 February and 30 April 2015. This has resulted in over 30 applicants in the processing pile. If you missed the boat on this deal then never fear as you can still use the standard NZOIA RCC process. MSC qualifications will not be eligible for transfer after the 31 December 2015. MSC trainees have also been provided with NZOIA training pathway options with the clear understanding that we offer instructor training courses in preparation for assessments. If you are a MSC qualification holder or trainee (or know of someone who is) and are wanting to transfer to NZOIA, you can find out more about the process on the MSC or NZOIA website. Penny Holland | NZOIA Operations Manager

The low down – being on the NZOIA Board NZOIA members have often asked me “what exactly is required to be a Director on the Board?” (usually the night before the AGM, while at the social gathering and after a few drinks!). Primarily, they want to know the skill set and time commitment they would need bring. I really appreciate this question (though a bit earlier in the night may have elicited a more concise answer!) as it is one that should be asked and understood. After all, if you are thinking about putting yourself forward for election, it’s important that you know what you are signing up for. I remember wanting to stand for election back in 2007 but not feeling confident enough. Thinking I was too young (almost half the age of some of the other Directors), thinking I was too green in the industry (I would have to sit alongside people that had assessed me in my NZOIA assessments who definitely still had guru status in my mind!), not knowing how much time I would need to commit (would I be taking on another part-time job?), and feeling like I would have nothing ‘smart’ to contribute. So here it is, the low down from my perspective, after 8 ish years on the Board as a Director (stepping down this year)… hopefully dispelling any myths that are out there.

fall off at NZOIA, but we are aiming for the highest performing Board possible to maximise the traction we currently have. The board is made up of 4 elected Directors and 3 appointed Directors. This year, there will one, maybe two vacancies for elected Directors from the membership which occurs at the AGM. The appointed Directors are chosen by the elected Directors as people who bring required skill sets from outside the NZOIA membership.

How much time will I have to commit? Being a Director is an unpaid role (though direct expenses, including flights, are covered) so it has been recognised by the Board that demands on the Directors time needs to be carefully managed. In the time I have been on the board, there have been a number of developments that have continued to help the capabilities of the Board and as a result, the time commitment required. Some of these are: •

Governance training for the Directors

New board structure (four elected Directors and three appointed Directors vs all elected Directors)

The funny thing about this is, the thing you think might be a negative, could actually be a positive. Ideally the Board will have representatives from a broad spectrum of the membership, enabling it to more accurately understand and represent it eg: if you are a younger/ greener member standing for the board, you are likely to bring perspectives that are relevant to that demographic of the NZOIA membership. Or vice versa with older/ guru’er members. This also is relevant to gender, location and especially different sub-sectors of the industry eg: education (both secondary and tertiary), commercial, adventure tourism etc. So no matter your age, stage or background, you will have a valuable perspective to add to the NZOIA Board of Directors.

Board portfolios: there are now three of these; a Director has shared responsibility in one area.

In an ideal world, there would be a steady changeover of Directors. Each year the Board grows and develops and any time a Director stands down, a certain amount of experience is lost with that Director. For this reason we really try not to lose too many at once! If this doesn’t happen, the wheels won’t

4 one day board meetings a year (usually in Nelson but may also be in Wellington or elsewhere)

(Ideally) attendance at the AGM, which is at the NZOIA Symposium

Emails, phone calls etc between meetings of approx. 1-3 hours per week. u     

Too young / too old / too green / too guru

1. Stakeholder Management 2. Qualifications and Standards 3. Strategy, Planning and Business Support. •

Change in staffing structure

Capabilities of the staff: of the industry, for the industry

The time commitment as it stands is:


Realistically the time commitment comes in fits and starts; there will be quieter periods where things are just ticking over, and every now and then there’ll be a flurry of action; lobbying required, decisions to be made, projects planned, stakeholders consulted etc. Being a Director on the NZOIA Board has changed dramatically in the last 5 years. It has gone from being a role where you ‘have your hands in there getting dirty’, to a much truer governance role – being accountable for the direction of NZOIA, financial responsibilities, deciding on strategic direction and business plan etc. Don’t let yourself be put off by my big words, governance skills can be learnt if you are not already an expert in this area…which leads me onto my next point….

Nothing smart to say (many of you won’t have this problem!) Do I know enough to be on the board? Will I have anything useful to contribute? Should I say that? Surely someone has already suggested it! And so on. In hindsight, I’m really glad that I had an old lecturer speaking in my ear, being my confidence, pushing me to stand for election. Anyway, the point of this is that you don’t need to know it all before you end up on the board. I liken it to starting a new job. You should have the skills to get the job initially but then be the type of person that is able to learn the rest of what is required. The rest of the directors are ALWAYS amazing to work with and are very supportive in the induction period and beyond.

If you are thinking of standing, it would be good if you had: •

A whole hearted commitment to NZOIA – what it is now and what it could be in the future

The desire to be part of shaping NZOIA to best meet its members needs in a very dynamic industry

Be able to meet the time commitment required, eg; make meetings, check emails regularly

Think laterally

A willingness to give back to the industry

Want to work ‘on the business, rather than in the business’ (governance versus operational)

Right now is a great time to be a part of the Board. The change in structure to the appointed and elected mix has ensured NZOIA can bring in some core skills that we struggled with in the past. The organisation is in good financial shape and there are lots of positive relationships shaping up. So if you’re excited about the future of NZOIA and want to be a part of it, put your hand up. Conversely if you’re rolling your eyes at your association and resent paying your registration each year, quit moaning and start contributing….(as a bonus elected Directors have their subs waived as a ‘perk of the job’ ;) If there is someone else you think would be great, shoulder tap them and see if they are keen. It is a pretty exciting time to be part of shaping the future direction of NZOIA! Ajah Dearlove, NZOIA Board




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This could be you!! 22.

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Takeshi Tani on ‘Cyber Pasty Memorial’ WI5+ / M7, Alberta, Canada Photo: ex-Bivouac Staffmember John Price


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