Our Team

Meet the bunch of outdoor adventure-loving good sorts who work with us.

This whānau of misfits are passionate, fun-loving, ‘life’ adventurers who love to serve those we are privileged to rub shoulders with.

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NZOIA MEMBERS

Providing industry standard qualifications  since 1987.

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POLICE VETTED

We maintain a high standard for all our staff.

SKILLS ACTIVE ASSESSORS*

*Senior instructors

ADVANCED FIRST-AID QUALIFIED

Our team are trained and fully qualified in advanced first aid.

Management

Tim Wills

Chief Executive Officer

Our main man, Tim, has more than 30 years experience in outdoor pursuits. Tim is an accomplished kayaker, climber, skier and will often be found adventuring locally and abroad in the mountains or on the water getting “big air” (well, so he says) on his kiteboard.

He also thinks he’s a pretty good surfer (and Kelly Slater look alike but we know better). The father of four doesn’t see his role as a job but rather a lifestyle – he says the Trust is in his DNA – and his family have always been part of the adventure.

Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography
  • Diploma in Secondary School Teaching
  • NZOIA Rock 2, Bush 2, Alpine 2, Kayak1 and Sea Kayak 1 instructor
  • NZOIA Rock 1, Abseil 1 and Kayak Leader assessor
  • NZOIA technical sub-committee convenor
  • New Zealand Rafting Association member, Grade 5 Raft Guide, Grade 3 Trip Leader
  • Certified in Pre-hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreational Personnel
  • 2013 NZOIA Tall Totara award recipient for excellence in outdoor leadership

Jared Partridge

Development Manager

Jared loves being part of an organisation where he can live out his is passion for people, wilderness spaces and adventure each day. Outside of work, you will still likely find Jared in the great outdoors either climbing a peak, skiing off it, paddling or exploring …

… Aotearoa’s stunning coastline with Christina (the better half) Esme (daughter) and Wiremu (son) joining in. He also enjoys chilling out on his deck in the Waitakere Ranges with a glass of something delicious in hand.
Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Sport and Recreation (Management and Marketing major)
  • Diploma in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership
  • NZOIA Bush 1, Rock 1, Kayak 1, Alpine 1, Sea kayak 1 instructor
  • New Zealand Rafting Association member Grade 3 Raft Guide
  • Certified in Pre Hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreation Personnel

Amy Horn

Adventure Therapy Manager

Amy is passionate about developing our programmes that focus on personal development and therapeutic change. 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!
Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Diploma of Outdoor Recreation Leadership
  • Masters in Counselling (currently studying)
  • NZOIA Kayak 1, Bush 2, Sea Kayak 1 and Rock 1 instructor
  • Pre Hospital Emergency Care
  • Canterbury Youth Workers Collective member

Mark Johnston

Training and Safety Manager

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.
Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Sea Kayak 2, Kayak 1, Rock 1, Alpine 1 and Bush 1 instructor
  • Certified in Pre-hospital Emergency Care for Ski Patrollers and Outdoor Recreational Personnel
  • New Zealand Rafting Association member and Grade 2 Guide

Jeff Lappin

Auckland Operations Manager

Jeff trained with us as an outdoor instructor in 2006 but it took 10 years for him to return! In that time he got married, had three children and became a teacher. He is a keen tramper, caver and fisherman, and is always up for a bit of exploring.

He loves to see other people realise that they are actually capable of achieving things they didn’t think were possible for them. He and his wife, Helen, also enjoy great coffee and exploring kid-friendly cafes for their three children, Joelle, Charlotte and Elise. Recommendations gladly accepted!

Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor in Primary Teaching
  • Diploma in Biblical Studies
  • NZOIA Bush 1 and Rock 1 instructor

Anita Sword

Auckland Operations Assistant

Anita first joined the trust in 2010 as a Field Instructor and has returned in 2018 as part of the administration team. She shares her time between working here at the Trust and working as an Early Childhood Teacher.

She is passionate about caring for our environment, learning about and incorporating Māori language and culture, facilitating sustainable learning principles and her Christian faith. She also keeps us on our toes by keeping things organised and making sure things run smoothly.
Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor in Sport and Recreation (Outdoor Education)
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching (ECE)
  • Diploma in Te Ara Reo Māori

Andy Balcar

Christchurch Operations Manager

Andy’s extensive experience as a youth worker, youth work trainer and teacher, in mainstream schools and alternative education with an outdoor focus, led him to his current role.

He particularly enjoys seeing the great outdoors work its magic on people as they learn, grow and discover more about themselves in community.
Experience & Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Parks and Recreation
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning

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 and responsible for our 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!

Libbee Dove

National Funding Administrator

Show me the money!! Libbee applies her many talents to raising awareness and support for the impact we are having in Aotearoa. Libbee has three awesome kids and an awesome husband who use up most of her spare time! She also loves writing, photography, holidays, strong coffee and long walks along the beach. She attends Church Unlimited where her husband is on the pastoral team. Libbee has a cat named Leo and a rabbit called Teddy.

JACI SKELTON

Administrator

Jaci comes from an admin/accounts background and loves being a part of the Adventure Specialties Team serving communities through the Outdoors. Jaci lives out West with her black lab Jet, her husband and two boys who love to fill their weekends with sport and hunting and fishing. Her family’s motto is ‘Do the mahi – get the treats’.

Instructors

anna SQUIRES

Instructor – Christchurch

Anna joined Adventure Specialties Trust in January 2016 as an Intern and has spent the last few years training and growing in experience. She has her NZOIA Bush 1 qualification and loves learning more about New Zealand’s fauna and flora (especially the edible varieties!).

Originally from coastal Southland, the outdoor adventures she enjoyed with her large family (8 kids!) led naturally into her passion now for rock climbing, kayaking and exploring our incredible backyard. Anna loves playing music and will often be found strumming away on her coconut ukulele which goes on most of her trips. Coming from a background of active youth involvement in youth and children’s camps for seven years, she is passionate to challenge, grow and inspire young people through interaction with God’s amazing creation!

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • NZOIA Rock 1

Anna Cunningham

Instructor – Auckland

Anna was born and raised in Tauranga, but is now based in Auckland and started her internship with us in January 2018. 

Anna has a background in working with youth as part of her church community. She also has experience in coaching gymnastics and trampoline. Anna’s passion for the outdoors started when she was young, as she grew up in a family that was always keen to get outside and explore the beauty of God’s creation. She is all about having fun and making the most of every day. Anna is most stoked when she is in the water, trying to catch a wave. This year she is most excited about helping others discover their full potential in the outdoors. 

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • Certificate in Youth Work

JOEL BUCKLEY

Instructor – Auckland

Joel had been involved in agriculture and the equine businesses. He then achieved a diploma in outdoor education at Hillary Outdoors Education Centre, with specific interest in all aspects of kayaking, caving and achieved NZIOA qualifications in bush and kayak.

After his studies he went on to sea kayak guide in Fiordland National park for two years before finding himself working for Adventure Specialties Trust in 2018. He is extremely passionate about the environment and all it has to offer to anyone willing to be involved in it, loving to bring people to appreciate nature by showing them its benefits mainly through the mediums of sea kayaking and finding edible plants to mix into the night’s dinner. 

His faith has developed over the years with influence from his family, youth camps working as a youth leader and his different work places over the last seven years, and seems to connect most when he is amongst nature.

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Kayak Leader
  • NZOIA Sea Kayak 1
  • National Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Instruction)

David Moss

Adventure Therapy Facilitator

David joined the team in January 2013. He has completed a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Leadership at AUT University. Currently holds two NZOIA awards in Rock Climbing and Sea Kayaking.

David completed his 3 years of instructing for the Trust in 2016, he continues with the Trust in his current role. Before joining the us David was working at a 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, jumping off waterfalls at some local Canyoning spots or walking his dog with his wife Sophia. David has a passion for people and seeing them reach their God given potential, and using the outdoors is just the icing on the cake. 

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Sea Kayak 1
  • NZOIA Rock 1
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Leadership
  • Outdoor First Aid

Katie GRAY

Instructor – Auckland

Katie grew up tramping, tobogganing and swimming in the southern mountains and rivers. Her love of the outdoors was sparked by regular family trips into the bush and tussock country. It was her dad and mum that taught her to look closely at nature and to delight in it’s beauty and awesomeness. 

As a kid Katie ran everywhere. She still enjoys running (especially trail running) and her workmate Rani has her on sometimes about running around the workplace. Katie is really passionate about supporting people to grow into their best selves with the tools to achieve their goals and dreams. For Katie the outdoors is a place of fun, relaxation, joy, adventure, inspiration and spirituality. She believes wholeheartedly in the outdoors as an effective context for promoting growth and change. People see things differently when they are out there. 

Katie is a member of the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association. She has a Bachelor of Education and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching. She’s really stoked that she now gets to teach in the outdoors.

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • Outdoor First Aid
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Diploma in Teacher in Early Childhood
  • Praxis Certificate in Youthwork 

Tom BATTS

Instructor – Auckland

Tom Batts joined the team in January 2018 after working with Adventure Specialties on various programmes throughout 2017.

Tom loves going up things (usually running and climbing up hills, cliffs and especially mountains!) but has been learning to go down things too (skiing, surfing and controlled falling). He has a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation and Instruction, NZOIA level 1 awards in Bush, Rock and Alpine and was also awarded the NZOIA Budding Instructor Award in 2016.

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Bush 1
  • NZOIA Rock 1
  • NZOIA Alpine 1
  • National Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Instruction)
  • Outdoor PreHospital Emergency Care

laura vernon

Instructor – Auckland

Laura moved from the farming country side of Taranaki to the big smoke of Auckland city in March 2019. In-between these two life events she worked at an Adventure Camp for three years, travelled overseas, worked in a high school with at risk youth and gained a Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Management in Timaru.

Although now based in the city, you won’t find her sipping lattes in a high class mall. Most likely, Laura will be found sharing her passion for the outdoors with some great people; cooking a boysenberry and peach cobbler over a camp fire, skiing down some powdered lines out in the hills, kayaking, mountain biking or spontaneously picking up some fun, new activity to get on “the buzz” with. She is passionate about sharing life and adventures with people in the spaces God has created for us.

Experience & Qualifications
  • Diplma in Outdoor Instruction and Management
  • NZOIA Kayak Leader and Bush Walking Leader

kyle smart

Instructor – Auckland

Kyle loves all outdoor pursuits with a particular passion for the sea, regularly awaiting the next big storm to go windsurfing. Kyle studied Sport and recreation at AUT and majored in Outdoor Education. He really enjoys using God’s amazing creation as a means of showing others their true potential.

Experience & Qualifications
  • NZOIA Rock 1
  • Outdoor First Aid
  • National Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (Leadership) (Bush Walking)
The best gift anyone can receive is to believe in themselves and who they are.
Contact
Auckland (head office)

Physical: 1/4 Winston Place, Henderson, Waitakere City 
Postal:  PO Box 45152, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland 0651 
Phone: 09 837 6033 

Christchurch

Physical:  6/28 Acheron Drive, Riccarton 
Postal:  PO Box 7354, Sydenham, Christchurch 8240 
Phone: 03 348 4547 

Email

office@adventurespecialties.co.nz

Instagram
  • Down under
  • Rave in a cave.
  • Staff out coasteering 💦🌊🤙🏾
  • Instructor Tom living it up! Instructors heading out to the ocean tomorrow 🤙🏾🤙🏾