The Trustees, staff and volunteers of Adventure Specialties Trust all share a commitment to Jesus Christ and are dedicated to achieving the Adventure Specialties Trust mission. Trust instructors are outdoor education professionals who

  • are members of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association
  • hold Advanced First Aid and risk management qualification
  • are “people” people committed to going the extra mile

“Committed To Going The Extra Mile”

Lyndsay SimpkinLyndsay Simpkin – Trust Founder 1955-2014

Lyndsay Simpkin along with his wife Glenda started Adventure Specialties Trust in 1984. Throughout this time until his death in April 2014 Lyndsay served the Trust with a God given passion and commitment that now sees the Trust still delivering quality outdoor experiences. Lyndsay’s heart was particularly focused on those that were disadvantaged in some way and because of this legacy the Trust continues to serve those who are less fortunate. Lyndsay was an influential leader in the outdoor industry and was the driver behind many new initiatives. This included establishing an annual National conference for Christian outdoor leaders, developing a national training programme and developing numerous adventure programmes including the “Journey”.  In 1997 Lyndsay was awarded the Tall Totara from the New Zealand Outdoor Instructor Association (NZOIA).  This is a highly regarded national award given only to those that demonstrate excellence in instruction, excellence in the development of other instructors and excellence in service to the outdoor instruction community of NZ. Lyndsay also served on the NZOIA board was a senior assessor for NZOIA and was a well-respected voice in Christian Camping and the wider outdoor community. Being a keen adventurer Lyndsay has climbed many mountains, kayaked numerous rivers, explored the underground world and paddled vast portions of the NZ coast. His enthusiasm for the outdoors rubbed off on all that met him and he was always looking for the next adventure. As a consequence Lyndsay was multi-talented and held many instructing awards including NZOIA awards in Bush, Rock, Alpine and Kayaking. He also had travelled extensively overseas having many adventures in interesting places including climbing in Mongolia and Nepal. Lyndsay will however be most remembered for his commitment to serving people, his heart to see people reach their potential and his determination to see Adventure Specialties Trust grow to fulfil this passion.  This passion was routed in a strong Christian faith which he demonstrated outwardly with his love to people and service to our communities. Lyndsay is survived by Glenda his wife and their 2 boys Tim and Nick.


Tim Wills – Chief Executive Officer

Tim is Chief of Operations at the Trust. Previously Tim has held the positions of Training Coordinator and the Auckland Programme Manager and has worked with the Trust since 1993. Prior to joining the Trust Tim had extensive experience in the outdoors while at school and university and as a Youth Worker with the Te Ora Hou programme in Christchurch and then as an Instructor with ACTS Institute in Wellington. Tim has a BA in Geography and has a Diploma in Secondary School Teaching. Tim spent two years in Japan teaching English and climbing. Tim’s kayaking experience includes descents of many Grade 4 and 5 runs in the North and South Islands. His sea kayaking experience also includes many coastal areas of the upper North Island. He has also rock climbed in most of the major areas in New Zealand and at some overseas locations including Australia, Europe, USA, Thailand and Japan. Tim is also a keen mountaineer and has spent time climbing  in the Southern Alps including the ascent of Mount Cook. He has also had a taste of overseas mountaineering in places such as Nepal, Switzerland and Japan. Tim is a member of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA)  and holds NZOIA instructor qualifications Rock 2, Bush 2, Alpine 2, Kayak1 and Sea Kayak 1. He is an assessor for NZOIA for Rock 1, Abseil 1 and Kayak Leader Awards. Tim is a member of the New Zealand Rafting Association and is a Grade 5 Raft Guide and Grade 3 Trip Leader. He is also qualified in “Pre-hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreational Personnel”. Tim is also an assessor for Skills Active in many areas of outdoor education. As Chief of Operations Tim is responsible for the core operations of Adventure Specialties Trust and oversees the Auckland and Christchurch Operations Managers. Tim is married to Kim and they have four children.

Jared PartridgeJared Partridge – Business Development Manager

Jared has worked at Adventure Specialties Trust in three different capacities.  Beginning as an instructor he brings considerable field experience to his position. Jared has also had the benefit of working for four years in the commercial  field managing an importing business. Prior to beginning work with Adventure Specialties Trust Jared worked at a number of outdoor education establishments in New Zealand and also with the Capernwray Bible School programme, Upward Bound, in Austria. Jared has a Bachelor in Sport and Recreation majoring in Management and Marketing, and a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership from the Auckland University of Technology. While on the Diploma course he was awarded a prize for the top student. Jared is a member of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association and holds NZOIA instructor qualifications; Bush 1, Rock 1, Kayak 1, Alpine 1, Grade 3 Raft Guide and Sea Kayak Guide. He also has a Certificate in Pre Hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreation personnel. Jared is a keen kayaker with experience of many of the North Island Grade 4 and 5 runs. He enjoys rock climbing, ski mountaineering and sea kayaking. Jared is married to Christina and they have two children, Esme and William.

Website profile PicJeff Lappin – Operations Manager (Auckland)

Jeff has returned to the Trust after starting his journey here as a CORI student in 2006 to 2007 doing a Diploma in Biblical Studies and a National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation Instruction.  Since then he has done a number of things including gaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Teaching at Laidlaw College.  Following that he spent two years teaching as a PE specialist, Sports Coordinator and Wastewise facilitator at Avondale Intermediate School.

Jeff loves getting into the outdoors and sharing experiences with people, helping them to make lasting memories in beautiful environments.  Whether it’s a short bush walk with is family or something more challenging with a group of friends, he loves to see other people realise their capability in achieving things they didn’t think possible.  Jeff is a keen tramper, kayaker and fisherman, and is always up for a bit of exploring!

When he’s not at work you can find him doing another kind of exploring; he and his wife, Helen, like to find out where the best coffees are in the best kid-friendly environments for their three children – Joelle, Charlotte and Elise.  Recommendations gladly accepted!

Mark JohnstonMark Johnston – Regional Manager South Island

Mark worked with Adventure Specialties Trust as an instructor from March 1996 to December 1998 and rejoined the staff in July 2003 to spearhead the development of a branch of Adventure Specialties Trust in Christchurch. Prior to his involvement with the Trust Mark had extensive involvement in the Scout Association, both as a participant and as a Leader and also leadership experience in a number of Christian youth camps. Marks previous work experience has been in the horticultural field where he completed an apprenticeship in Horticulture and Amenity Turf Management with the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Mark is a member of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructor Association and holds NZOIA instructor qualifications; Sea Kayak 2,  Kayak 1, Rock 1, Alpine 1 and Bush 1. He is also qualified in Pre-hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreational Personnel. Mark is a member of the New Zealand Rafting Association and is a Grade 2 Guide. Mark is a keen tramper, skier, rock climber, mountain biker and kayaker. He has kayaked many rivers in both the North and South Islands and his sea kayaking experience includes the Marlborough Sounds, Abel Tasman National Park, Bay of Islands, Great Barrier Island, Fiordland and Alaska. Mark is married to Diana and they have two sons, James and Caleb.

Amy Profile PicAmy Horn – Adventure Therapy Manager

Amy works from our Christchurch Branch with a national role overseeing our Adventure Therapy programmes.  Amy initially joined the Trust as an instructor in the Auckland Branch from 2003 – 2007.   Since then she has been overseas, worked at Outward Bound NZ, completed her Degree in Psychology and worked for Child, Youth and Family in residential services. Amy is particularly passionate about our programmes that focus on personal development and therapeutic change. Amy’s role is focused on developing these programmes further. Amy has a Diploma of Outdoor Recreation Leadership from AUT and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Canterbury University.  She is currently studying towards her Masters in Counselling at University of Canterbury.  Amy holds NZOIA awards Kayak 1, Bush 2, Sea Kayak 1 and Rock 1.  She is also qualified in Pre Hospital Emergency Care.  Amy is a current member of the NZ Outdoor Instructors Association and the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective. In her spare time Amy loves to get outside for adventure and a challenge.  She can often be found mountain biking, running, paddling, tramping or competing in a rogaine or adventure race.  When she’s not doing that you’ll find her in the kitchen decorating cakes!

andy-balcarAndy Balcar – Programme Manager (Christchurch)

I started Youthwork in 1993 as a volunteer leader with Te Ora Hou Otautahi. This became a full-time role for two years where I worked in Alternative Education. In 1997 I completed a Parks and Recreation Degree and in 2001 the Graduate Diploma in Teaching in Learning. After two years teaching in mainstream education (Social Studies, Geography and Outdoor Education) I moved back into Alternative Education with an outdoor focus. Since 2005 I have been training youth workers through Praxis delivering the National Diploma in Youthwork. In 2016 I started working at Adventure Specialties Trust and am particularly enjoying seeing the great outdoors work its magic on people as they learn, grow and discover more about themselves in community.

Finance and Administration

Glenda Simpkin – Finance

She whom we fear when we fail to produce GST receipts! Glenda is co-founder of Adventure Specialties Trust, a current Trustee and is responsible for the day to day accounting needs. Glenda has had her share of adventures and enjoys skiing, caving and sea kayaking. She also enjoys travelling and reading good books!

Denise Talamahina – Administration Manager


Libbee Dove– National Funding Administrator

Libbee joined Adventure Specialties Trust in August 2016 and is responsible for our grant applications.  She holds a Bachelor in Communications Studies and had previously worked at the Trust as the Office Administrator.  Libbee has three of the cutest kids in the world who take up almost all of her spare time!  When she is not chasing toddlers she loves to read, drink strong coffee, take photos and get outdoors into God’s beautiful creation.


James McMillan – Senior Instructor

James joined the Adventure Specialties Team at the beginning of 2016.  Having previously worked for Hillary Outdoors on Great Barrier Island he further confirmed his passion for the marine environment.  James is a trained Teacher of Outdoor Education, Sustainability and Physical Education and has an Honours Degree in Sports Coaching and Development.  Over the past 16 years he has gained experience in Outdoor Education in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.  James holds both UK and NZ outdoor qualifications.  He has been in NZ for 4 years and holds residency in NZ.  His faith in God is intertwined with the environment and the people he comes in contact with both professionally and personally.

David Moss – Instructor

David joined the team in January 2013. He has completed a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Leadership at AUT University majoring in sea kayaking. Other pursuits studied include rock climbing, white-water kayaking and bush craft. Before joining the Trust David was working at camp in the Hunua area along with some sea kayak guiding around the Hauraki Gulf. In his free time David will usually be found cruising the sea is his kayak or jumping off waterfalls at some local canyoning spots. With a passion for the outdoors David loves taking people on adventures and helping them enjoy what God has made.

hannaHanna McLeay – Instructor

Hanna joined the team in September 2014 after graduating with a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Leadership through AUT in which white water kayaking was her chosen major.  Born and raised as a farming country girl, Hanna can’t get enough of the fresh air, exploring and kicks of adrenaline.  Additionally she has had experience as a Kayak Guide and loves to work with youth.  Hanna is a bit too excited to see people growing in themselves and loving the outdoors.  Aside from the adventuring, she also loves a great coffee!

Ben Pearson

Ben Pearson – Instructor

Ben joined the Trust in early 2015 after completing a Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management from QRC. He is passionate about having fun in the outdoors and exploring God’s creation. He loves introducing people to his outdoor playground, especially the ocean, in which he spends most of his time diving, spearfishing and pretending he can surf! During his time in Queenstown he also developed a love of snowboarding, canyoning and rock climbing and is stoked to have a job that allows him to pass on this love to others. Ben holds a Sea Kayak Leader award from NZOIA and is on his way to getting his Bush Leader award as well. He lives in Whangaparaoa and has four younger sisters all of whom he has practiced his instructing skills o for many years.

485490_10152750943370470_5508348810652372631_nHelen King- Instructor

Helen joined the team in April 2015, recently moving up from the South Island.  She has completed a Diploma in Adventure Tourism through NMIT majoring in rock climbing, white water rafting and bush craft.  Helen holds NZOIA leader awards in rock, abseil and bush.  She is also a Grade 2 NZRA raft guide and is trained in white water rescue.  She also has a Bachelor of Social Work through Massey University.  As a qualified Social Worker her social work experience is with young people and she loves the vibrancy and enthusiasm that they supply.  Helen is interested in working in the field of adventure therapy – using the outdoors to develop individuals, groups and families.  Helen is married and together she and her husband have enjoyed some spearfishing, surfcasting and snowboarding adventures – and love to explore New Zealand and other parts of the world, admiring God’s wonderful creation.

whale ridingHugh McLaren- Instructor

Hugh joined the team in January 2016, having trained and worked in Scotland for the past six and a half years.  He holds UK awards in White Water Kayaking and Open Canoeing, Mountaineering, Trail Cycling and Skiing.  Hugh is keen to experience a new country and culture of Outdoor Adventure, loves to be outside introducing people to God’s wonderful creation, and inspiring people to try new activities and challenges.

Hugh is a passionate Kayaker who has paddled many beautiful and challenging rivers across Scotland and the French Alps, as well as having completed multi-day Open Canoe expeditions across the breadth of Scotland.  In the winter he has been privileged to ski some of the steep terrain of Scotland and long descents of the French and Swiss Alps and is looking forward to fully embrace the outdoor potential that New Zealand has to offer!

FB_IMG_1441127811906 2Jock Barr – Instructor

Jock joined Adventure Specialites Trust in August 2016 after working in the Adventure Tourism Industry for the last four years and then marrying his wife, Gwyneth.  He loves the idea of using the outdoors to enhance peoples self confidence and see’s this as particularly important for youth.  He holds NZOIA Rock 1, has a Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management from QRC, and has spent the last two years working with youth in the American Summer Camp industry.  Jock loves all things outdoors and when he’s not at work he can be found anywhere from a rock cliff, mountain bike trails, rivers, in the trees or in the ocean, and he loves that he can enjoy all of these areas with his wife, Gwyneth, and anyone else who wants to give it a go.

Screenshot_2015-08-18-20-59-34 croppedGwyneth Barr – Instructor

Gwyneth joined the Adventure Specialites Trust team in August 2016 after most recently working in the Adventure Tourism Industry guiding in the Fiordland mountains.  She has been actively involved with youth work over the last eight years including assisting to run Outdoor Adventure Camps with Scripture Union.  Gwyneth gets excited about seeing young people develop and reach their potential in the outdoor world as well as discover more about who God is.  She also holds a Bachelor of Nursing and is a registered nurse having enjoyed nursing in a variety of settings including the Queenstown Lakes ski fields, Canadian Summer Camp, and Blenheim.  Gwyneth is passionate about God, the mountains and water and anything to do with them; in her spare time she is often keeping up with Jock whether climbing, skiing, tramping, mountain biking, learning to surf or the next fun outdoor activity to be picked up!


Stephen Miller – Instructor

Stephen joined the Adventure Specialties Trust team in November 2016 having completed a degree in Sustainability and Outdoor Education at CPIT.  His love of getting outside with people partnered with seeing the personal development that the outdoors can provide to both himself and the people he is instructing provides his motivation to share his love of the outdoors with others.  His passions include mountain biking, white water kaying, tramping and general adventuring!

Anna Squires – Trainee Instructor

Anna joined Adventure Specialties Trust in January 2016 as an Intern and spent an amazing year being inspired, challenged and encouraged by the people she worked with.  She is now employed as a trainee instructor.  Originally from Invercargill, she has been involved in the great outdoors since she was young and along with tramping, rock hopping around the coast and snorkelling, she loves playing her guitar and finding out more about New Zealand fauna and flora.  Coming from a background of active involvement in youth and children’s camps for 7 years, she is passionate to challenge, grow and inspire young people through interaction with God’s amazing creation!

Katie Gray – Intern

Katie moved from Nelson to join the Auckland team as an Intern in January 2017. She loves the outdoors, and enjoys swimming in clear rivers, sliding down snow slopes (on bum or skis), lying in the sun soaked tussocks, running trails, star gazing, and the exhilaration of getting high up in the mountains.  Katie’s background is in education (primary and ECE) and she loves to see people learn and grow towards their full potential.  She is super excited about bringing her love for the outdoors and her teaching background together at Adventure Specialties Trust.

Bethany (Beth) Plester – Intern

Beth joined the team in February 2017, having completed a Certificate in Outdoor Adventure at Whitireia.  She has been actively working with young people for the last 7 years, in various roles working to encourage and instile confidence within themselves.  Seeing young people overcome their fears and solving life’s obstacles excites Beth and she can’t think of a better way to do this than in the great outdoors.  She is passionate about God and can be found in her free time adventuring in his beautiful creation!

April Heath – Intern

April joined the ASPECS team in February 2017 as an intern after graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor in Education (secondary school, PE & Outdoor Education). She has a strong interest and passion in Te Ao Māori and how this can weave into outdoor experiences. She is on a journey in rediscovering the importance of her Taha Māori and would like this to be represented in her instructing – as she would like to help students find and understand their own culture.