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OutdoorsMark Safety Audit

The Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award


If you want to bring a group to Taranaki for a taste of the outdoors, you'll find our blend of knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm produces an experience that's unrivalled in the outdoor world.

Our location close to Egmont National Park, the Taranaki Coast and Rivers make us an ideal choice for a group of friends, local or visiting schools, colleges, youth clubs and voluntary organisations like the Scouts and Guides.
We love introducing beginners to Outdoor education and adventure sports, making sure that they enjoy themselves and progress at their own pace. That's why everything is geared towards making your visit an enjoyable one.

We offer two different adventure experiences. For local or visiting groups staying in the area we offer adventure days. For visiting groups who want to make use of our self-catered facilities and arrange everything for their trip in one go we offer adventure packages. You can even choose to add meals to both experiences.
Have a read through the information on this page to help you decide what suits your group, then call.

TSB TOPEC - 3+2 Programme

TSB TOPEC, Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits & Education Centre, is currently providing career pathways to Taranaki schools. Working in collaboration with Taranaki Futures and Spotswood College who provide the consent to assess umbrella, TOPEC is providing a 3+2 programme for year 13 students which allows them to work towards the National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (Leadership) at NCEA Level 3. It is the first 3+2 programme at Level 3 in Taranaki.

The programme lasts for 30 weeks, with two days a week being spent at TOPEC and the remaining three days spent in school. The possible career paths identified through the programme cover a wide variety of jobs including paramedics, armed services, working with children, management jobs and community based and outdoor activities based careers. TOPEC is currently engaging with students from a number of schools within Taranaki with the aim of expanding engagement to more schools.

The staff at TOPEC includes registered teachers who have extensive experience with the specific demands of standards based assessment. Skills Active is providing assessment of the unit standards. This involves a Registered Assessor making decisions using unit standards as the basis of the skills and knowledge being demonstrated by the trainee. Taranaki schools have used TOPEC's expertise in delivering and assessing courses for a number of years.

Industry Training

Are you working towards a National Qualification with NZOIA or Skills Active? If so we can assist you in gaining experience working with groups, different environments or completing pre assessment activities.

We are one of the few commercial rafting operators that regularly group guide trips which is a skill in itself. Experience the challenge of escorting the little ducks down the river and managing up to three rafts in a dynamic environment.

We also accept students from Tertiary institutions on work experience from NZ or overseas looking to develop people skills in a Centre environment.

Industry Training - Trainee Instructor
During this exciting course you will receive personal skills training in kayaking,  rafting, bush walking, mountaineering, caving, rock climbing, first aid, orienteering, high and low ropes, adventure based learning, risk awareness and hazard management. As part of a personalised programme you will receive training in leading groups in an outdoor environment
Depending on your own experience you may have the opportunity to work towards the following:

  • Raft guide grade 2
  • Certificate in Outdoor Recreation
  • Unit Standards in specific outdoor activities

At the end of experience with us you'll be able to look back on an incredible experience. During your time with us you will have:

  • Been Coached by the leaders in the field.
  • Paddled and climbed along side experienced teachers and instructors.
  • Been able to use the TOPEC name to open doors in the outdoor industry.
  • Benefited from access to our vast array of experience working in the wider world of the outdoor industry.
  • Received input from long-term career professionals every day.
  • Had access to a fantastic range of equipment.
  • Lived and played in the beating heart of the Taranaki Outdoor scene.
  • Trained in a variety of teaching and coaching styles.
  • Spent time with like-minded people.
  • Had the greatest chance possible to achieve your potential as a climber, caver, paddler and mountaineer.
  • Had access to a mentor to assist your development.
  • Given access to learning and / or credits towards the variety of Governing Body qualifications - given your start point experience.

To help streamline your career development even further, our staff will be able to guide you through registration with each of the necessary national governing bodies helping you to understand the progression and pre-requirements for each scheme.

You will also be able to pick up plenty of advice and guidance from our staff during your stay. Provided you meet the pre-requirements, you will have the opportunity to attend assessment courses for National qualifications.

Along with the structured course content there will be many opportunities to gather valuable work and personal-skills experience and career advice from those around you. This course is also ideal for anyone who is either taking a career break or works in the outdoors industry overseas and would like to develop a rich awareness of NZ legislation, structure and good practice.

All course costs are met by the participants

Industry Training - Volunteers

TOPEC does accept volunteers to help with running of the centre of to assist the volunteer in gaining experience in the industry. All volunteers will be required to complete personal information requirements and agree to police checks.

River Safety

Many people live near or enjoy visiting New Zealandís rivers.  However, more people drown in rivers than in any other New Zealand aquatic environment.  On average 48 people drown each year in New Zealand rivers and many more have to be rescued.  21% percent of people who drown in rivers are under 18 years old.  Many of these accidents could be prevented if people had an understanding of how rivers work and learned some river safety skills.

River safe is a classroom, pool and river-based learning programme about enjoying rivers safely developed by Water Safety New Zealand. 

It is targeted at primary or secondary school students but has importance for adults and parents. It has been developed for use with levels of the Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum. It can be used at any age level to develop knowledge, skills and awareness.

Professional development course can also be organised for School Teachers, youth leaders or other organisations on demand.

At TOPEC we use the Davidson lodge and the Tailrace to deliver River Safety education. A combination of multi media clips, riverbank and practical activities make the course fun and meaningful to all participants. We are an accredited River safe Provider and have highly skilled staff to facilitate learning.

Please click here to download the river safety brochure.


What better way to learn a new outdoor activity than with your family? We've put together a list of courses designed for the entire family to enjoy together. If your kids are eight years old or over you can bring them along and take to the mountains, lakes and rivers of Taranaki with them. Always under the watchful eye of our expert instructors you'll develop your skills together, alongside other families. Our distinctive philosophy means that you'll leave ready to go out and enjoy your chosen sport under your own steam too. But most of all - you'll be able to enjoy that activity together.

Self Catering

To guarantee great value for visiting schools, colleges, youth clubs or voluntary organisations, weíve cooked up these tasty self-catering packages.

With an optimum group size of 30, our new adventure packages provide unrivalled value for money along with the opportunity to arrange everything you need for your trip in one go. You can create your own tailor-made programme, choosing from a range of adventure activities, and with TOPECís high standards applied to every detail from the moment of booking right up to minute you leave, itís a guaranteed way to take the headache out of organising an activity break

Useful Information

Participants must be 8 or above.

Instructors will assume full responsibility for the groups during sessions. The visiting group leaders are responsible for supervision after 4,30 pm. E.g. in the evenings and overnight.

  • All specialist equipment is provided.
  • All those rafting, kayaking, river sledging / bugging, body boarding , canoeing must be water confident.
  • You are welcome to hire extra gear from our equipment store.
  • Overseas visitors must make sure the group can communicate in English.
  • For special needs groups, alternate arrangements may be necessary, please phone to discuss your requirements before booking.
  • All our instructors are appropriately qualified and experienced.
  • All sessions are entirely weather dependent. Every effort will be made to accommodate your booking but should conditions be such that we cannot run your session we will offer an alternative activity.
  • Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre is a registered charity
  • To ensure the wellbeing of the group every ten young people must be accompanied by an adult leader or supervisor at all times.
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