Tertiary Programme – Diploma

Love the outdoors? Come and train with the best towards a career in outdoor education at our Tongariro Centre.

New Zealand Diploma in Outdoor and Adventure Education (multi-skilled) Level 5

This is a one year, full-time course of study taught at our Tongariro Centre in the central North Island. This programme focuses on further developing and enhancing technical, instructional and leadership skills, particularly learning to lead others over a range of outdoor activities. This course includes a combination of theory and practical lessons, as well as one day and multi-day trips. Entry requirements apply.

Please download the Prospectus for more course details.

Every year Hillary Outdoors offers two scholarships to students identifying as Maori for a place on either of our Tertiary Programmes – Certificate or Diploma.

The Tuition Scholarship is valued at $4,500 and is valid for one year of study.

To apply students must submit their course application, followed by a letter explaining their Maori Heritage, why they need a scholarship and what benefit it could bring to themselves and their Iwi.

For more information or to submit your scholarship letter please contact Tui Brabyn – Tertiary Administrator, Tongariro Centre.

We welcome students from all over the world to study with us.

Please read the application guidelines or apply here.


At the Hillary Outdoors Education Centre, we hold a strong commitment to ensuring effective pastoral care for all our learners. Our aim is to cultivate a secure and well-being focused environment where each student can achieve learning success. To realise this commitment, we align our practices with the guidelines outlined in The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. For a comprehensive understanding of the code, please refer to this link: Code Summary.

This Pastoral Care self-review is undertaken to gather, analyse, evaluate our compliance and required processes for the year prior and to plan, implement and monitor any changes required for our current practices.

Pastoral Care for Tertiary Students

Hillary Outdoors prioritise the well-being and safety of our tertiary learners through a multifaceted approach. This encompasses adhering to our Education Policy and Safety Management Systems, conducting regular reviews of our Tertiary Prospectus, Student Handbook, and Learner Success Plan. We engage a Health and Safety Advisory Committee (HSAC) and actively collect student feedback through both verbal and written channels. Our ongoing commitment is evaluated using student input, safety and incident reports, termly individual interviews, and a culture of open communication.

Our established systems for identifying and addressing emerging concerns encompass having an on-call Duty Manager, fostering transparent communication, taking prompt action to address incidents, and facilitating referrals to external support services when required. Incidents and near misses undergo thorough review by management and HSAC.

Our dedication to continuous staff development includes mandatory training in Mental First Aid, and Child Protection; in addition to seasonal and on-the-job training sessions, LGBTQ awareness, Pre-hospital Emergency Care, NZOIA qualifications, and scheduled Privacy Act training.

A robust learner well-being and safety framework is in place, featuring a Hau ora (well-being) Retreat week and courses, termly student interviews, an open-door policy, and a culture of communication. 

Diverse learner voices and feedback are embraced through student meetings, approachable staff, an atmosphere of openness, diversity role modelling, active pursuit of gender balance, and discussions on LGBTQ communities and Māori culture.

Our commitment to accessible complaint processes remains steadfast, even in the absence of complaints. We achieve this through well-outlined grievance procedures in the student handbook, explained during course orientation. Website resources are also provided for both domestic and international students for Dispute Resolution Schemes.

Hillary Outdoors’ Safety Management Systems require tertiary instructors and students to report all incidents throughout the course, and none were critical.  Countermeasures are put in place for trends of concerns (including near misses). Incidents and action taken is peer reviewed by our external Health and Safety Advisory Committee members.

Central to our approach is the respect for Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, which is upheld through collaboration with local iwi, the presence of an iwi trustee on our Board, holding DOC concessions, participating in regular hui with local iwi, and ensuring staff completion of a two-day Atua Matua course. Our tertiary students of diverse ethnicities engage in Powhiri (welcome ceremony), karakia (blessings), and waiata (Māori songs), acknowledging both place and people.

Active learner participation and engagement are intrinsic to our approach, facilitated by our diverse and approachable staff, transparent communication channels, and the inherent nature of our courses. Our dedication to learner well-being encompasses physical and mental health support, including weekly fitness sessions, safe and sound sessions.

International Student Pastoral Care

Beyond our commitment to Tertiary Student Pastoral Care, Hillary Outdoors has distinct measures in place to ensure comprehensive support for our international students. Our diverse team, including tutors from various cultures, is dedicated to prioritising the well-being and safety of our international learners. We focus on fostering student success right from their initial contact with us.

We consistently update our marketing materials in accordance with NZQA Code guidelines. Online video interviews with applicants enable open discussions on their current information and needs. Our Tertiary Prospectus and Student Handbook outline appropriate insurance coverage, English language proficiency, transparent fee protection, and adherence to fair refund policies.

To foster connections among international and tertiary students, we maintain a dedicated Facebook group that facilitates engagement before and after enrolment. We continuously gather feedback to assess the impact of our practices, obtaining vital insights through recruitment interviews and the enrolment process. This feedback helps refine our ongoing approach.

Annually, we revise our recruitment process format to guide potential international students in making well-informed decisions for their education.


Hillary Outdoors’ Tertiary practices closely align with our strategic goal of prioritizing learner well-being, safety, and success. 

Download the 2023 Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners Code of Practice here.

Check out our FAQs for more info!