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OutdoorsMark Safety Audit

The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award



TSB TOPEC is situated on the banks of the Waiwhakaiho River, in bush reserve, some 10 kilometres from New Plymouth. TSB TOPEC was formed in 1986 by a Charitable Trust of interested parties to provide Outdoor education to Taranaki school students.

TSB TOPEC is closely linked with Taranaki Secondary School who form the main user group of the organisation. Throughout the school year, school groups of 30 students ( generally at year 10 level ) attend TSB TOPEC for a week long, residential course in adventurous activities.

Activities include Rafting, Climbing, Tramping, Bush trips, Caving, Kayaking, Ropes course, Bridge Swing, Adventure Based Learning, Mountaineering and Overnight camps.

Courses are subsidised by grants from various organisations including the main sponsor – The  TSB Community Trust. The Lions Clubs of Taranaki maintain accommodation huts on a voluntary basis and are a valuable contributor to the continued success of TSB TOPEC.

TSB TOPEC has accommodation for 80 students with separate staff quarters. Students cook, clean and look after the camp under school staff supervision throughout the week course.

Facilities and accommodation are available for private hire at weekends and holiday periods.



Steve Ralph
Director B.Ed (Hons)

Steve Ralph took over as the Director of TSB TOPEC in 2007 having previously been a HOD Physical Education and more recently Deputy Principal at a local Area school. His role within TSB TOPEC is to manage all aspects of the Centre and ensure that strategic planning is in place to ensure future development. He has detailed knowledge of the NZ Education system, NZQA and oversees the management of standards based assessment courses.

Steve holds the following outdoor qualifications: National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation, National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (Tramping) and National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (River Guiding), Avalanche 1, NZOIA rock 1, Grade 3 raft guide, outdoor first aid and he also holds the MLTB Mountain Leader and SPSA awards.

He has been awarded a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety and the highly regarded Nebosh International General Certificate in Occupational health and Safety. Steve is also a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001:2015 Adventure Activities and is trained in ICAM advanced accident investigation.

Having moved to NZ from the UK in 1997 he has continued to teach and instruct in the Outdoors and discover the kiwi way of life. Steve has travelled throughout the world seeking adventure in countries such as France, Spain, Canada and Nepal.


Claire Allen
Office Manager

Claire joined the team at TOPEC in 2017 as their administrator. She comes with a background in banking and account management through her various roles in the private sector. Claire has also given her time to the wider community, volunteering in various roles in social, school and sporting groups. She, along with husband Terry, are parents of 3 girls – all of whom attended TOPEC in their high school years- and so have seen first-hand how the TOPEC experience can benefit and encourage students to push boundaries and enlarge expectations.


Josh Kirby


Alan Sarten

Alan is old School TOPEC and he has been part of the operation for a long time. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in and around Taranaki. He has recently returned from his South Island OE where he showed his mettle in the cold South Island rivers and mountains. He is a Taranaki Dairy Farmer and shows this in his instructional style – a down to earth approach. Alan is famous for his cheesy jokes which always makes a group groan. He is Grade 3 raft guide, Bush 1 and has years of rock, and caving experience.


Seton Pennell

Seton (spelt NOTES backwards), is a kiwi born lad that has travelled throughout the world living and has experience working in many different countries and jobs, ranging from being a sailing instructor in Turkey, indoor rock instructor in England, White water raft guide in Argentina and working for outward bound in Australia for 3 years.

He has loved the outdoors since he was a kid whether it was eeling, sailing, camping or swimming in ocean or rivers, Seton has enjoyed it all. His personal hobbies now are rock climbing, hiking, sailing, kayaking and camping.

Seton loves sharing the outdoors with others and helping others to see the many great exciting things that are on offer for all here in NZ


Jenn Wilson
Senior Instructor / Teacher

Jenn is a trained Secondary Teacher from Canada, whom has now made Taranaki her home. She is leading our Level 3 course and managing operations.

Jenn is in the process of completing her Masters degree in Education, focusing on female leadership in Outdoor Education. Jenn comes to TOPEC with qualifications in ski racing, mountain biking, avalanche safety, outdoor leadership, and wilderness first aid. Jenn has previously worked as a ski patroller in Canada and volunteers with SAR. She is passionate about sustainability and conservation. Jenn’s favourite outdoor activities are backcountry skiing and mountain biking; she also loves climbing, sailing, surfing and hiking. She is excited to be able to lead students around the amazing outdoors of Taranaki.


Zoe Avison

Zoe, after completing a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, majoring in outdoor education and sport management; travelled Europe and worked in Norway as a sea kayak guide. Her love for the ocean brought her back to New Zealand and eventually back to do what she loves most in her hometown.

Board of Trustees

Callum Mahy ( Chairperson )
David Grigg
Steve Ralph ( Treasurer / Secretary )
Matt Lash – HOD PE Francis Douglas Memorial College
Philip Hewlett ( PPTA Rep )
Kirsty Linnell - ( Deputy Chairperson )
Martin Chamberlain ( FDMC Principal )
TBC - Lions Clubs Taranaki Representative
Grant Robinson

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