Join our Kaiako / Instructor crew - Outward Bound

Join our Kaiako / Instructor crew

Here at Outward Bound New Zealand (OBNZ) we are always on the lookout for Kaiako / Instructors who are passionate about people and passionate about the outdoors as a medium for growth.

At the coalface of our mahi / work, are our Kaiako, who work directly with our students and guide them through outdoor experiences based in and around our base in Tōtaranui / Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough.

Who are we looking for?

There is no set pathway to becoming an Outward Bound NZ Kaiako. We have Kaiako who have come from completely different industries but feel an alignment with our mahi, and we also have Kaiako who have come through more traditional outdoor training pathways.

Our Kaiako range in age currently from mid 20’s to early 60s, with an average age of around 30.

Having an alignment with Outward Bound’s purpose is the key ingredient. Find our Kaupapa / Values here. Fundamentally, we are looking for passionate and motivated humans who seek growth and development for themselves and for those around them.

What skills do you need?

We operate in multiple outdoor spaces so our Kaiako need to have a base level of skill in these areas, coupled with an ability to teach. The broad range of skill that is required is very unique and we accept that people will have areas to grow so don’t be put off if there are areas like this for you, or even areas you have no experience in. That’s very normal, and there is no normal pathway to being a Kaiako here.

In any given month our instructors take our students through experiences in several different areas including:

  • Moana/Sea – in the beautiful waters of Tōtaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound), teaching our students how to sail and giving them independence in our cutters while we shadow them for safety and quality in our launches
  • Ngāhere/Bush/Wilderness – helping students gain the skills to navigate, travel, and manage themselves over multiple days as a group off track in the Marlborough Ngāhere
  • Tātahi/Waterside – Experiences white water kayaking in and on our local Awa/rivers, coasteering on the coast of Pukatea/Whites Bay, Waka Ama on Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Piki Toka/Rock Climbing – On a natural wall on site in Anakiwa
  • Kahikatea/High Ropes – We refer to our High Ropes course as Kahikatea as it is nestled in a beautiful grove of Kahikatea – a NZ native tree that has been standing for hundreds of years. Our students are taken through an experience high in the Kahikatea grove with the manu|birds.

There are also some licenses and courses that we need our Kaiako to have, such as having a Class 2 license and P endorsement, Boatmasters and VHF quals, Pre Hospital Emergency Care first aid qual. These can be attained after you've started the recruitment process with us, so if you don't have them, that shouldn't stop you from applying or getting in touch. 

You can refer to an overview of complete skills required here.

Note: it is not expected that new Kaiako will have all of these skills and experience. The biggest 3 areas we operate in are the Ngahere / Bush, Moana / Sea (sailing), and Tātahi / Whitewater Kayaking. We like people to have experience and skill in 2 of those 3 areas to minimise the growth needed in a new Kaiako.

How to best prepare yourself for working at OB in the future

There are courses that offer training towards becoming an Outdoor Instructor and give you a good baseline of skill in the outdoors. Further to this, other companies and clubs offer shorter, targeted courses to gain skills in certain areas.

Sailing and boat driving is often a new area of skill for our Kaiako. Learning dinghy sailing provides a great base to sailing our cutters, and any power boat driving you can do is beneficial.

As mentioned earlier, there is no specific pathway to becoming an OB instructor and if you’ve been in the workforce for several years it is likely you will bring transferrable skills to our context.

Get in touch for more information about specific training that might set you up well to work with us in your future.

Where do we work?

Outward Bound NZ is situated in Anakiwa, Marlborough, NZ. In Te Tau Ihu, the prow of Te Waka a Maui, the top of the South Island, it’s a stunning playground for all of the natural spaces we operate in. Our school has been here since it was established in 1962 and the facilities and community have grown over this time.

Our onsite community is around 50-60, which includes whānau / family of staff. We have approximately 28 Kaiako and 20 other staff on site.

Who are our students?

We deliver courses to independent individuals aged 16+yrs. To date, our oldest student has been 82 years. We run a Leaps & Bounds course for 13-15yr olds who are accompanied by their parent or caregiver. We also offer a range of courses for physically and intellectually disabled students.



What’s the Recruitment Process?

After you’ve applied with us (see below), our team can determine what the next steps are. Our process has changed somewhat and we are no longer running what was known as a 'selection course'. Typically, the recruitment process follows something like below:

Often a different approach is needed for different people and there are many variables to how an applicant will work through the process.

Kimi Kaiako / Recruitment Course

These courses are 5 days long and are a mixture of observing Outward Bound operate as an organisation, observing our Kaiako working with students, and some skill checking from our team. There’s also a lot of information delivered to applicants about things like accommodation, contracts, Kaupapa, safety, operations, etc. Our aim for this course is for both the applicant and us as an organisation to get all the information we both need to make a good decision about employment as a Kaiako.

2024 Kimi Kaiako Dates

Below are the dates that we are running Kimi Kaiako/Recruitment courses. There will typically be 2-4 spaces on these courses and while they’re scheduled for the below dates, will be dependent on having the numbers to run the course.

5 - 9 Jun  |  30 Jul - 3 Aug  |  23 - 27 Sep  |  1-5 Dec

What are the benefits/remuneration?

Kaiako start their first 6 months on a day rate of $218.74. This increases as you gain more responsibility and become more experienced in your role.

 Other benefits include:

  • Overnight allowance when away from school and responsible for students of $181.60
  • Allowance for working with students aged 16-18 of $22.70 per day to recognise the higher degree of supervision required
  • Training allowance
  • Professional Supervision sessions – 1 on 1 discussions with an external professional supervisor
  • Hauora budget of $500 per year for your wellbeing
  • Onsite accommodation, no electricity costs
  • Equivalent of $2400 per year for PPE and gear allowance (with lots of pro deals to acquire gear)
  • Food supplied for all work days
  • Retention bonus payable after 3 years

How much do our Kaiako work?

Kaiako are contracted to work 200 days of a calendar year. 180 days as Kaiako on courses and 20 days of training.

We run one course every month, so 12 courses a year. Each course is a 22 day block and Kaiako work 18 days of that block with 4 days off throughout the block, and a minimum of 5 days off between course blocks.

A typical year will have Kaiako work 5 courses on, and then have a complete course off (which equates to almost always a full calendar month off). So there are 2 months of every 12 that you are completely away from working as an instructor. This is to acknowledge that the mahi is super engaging when you are on, so you will need time to recover, but mostly to fill your own bucket in ways outside of work.

Typically our Kaiako spend 3-4 years in the role. There is a significant amount training and upskilling involved from both our organisation and our Kaiako so we ask that people stay with us for 3-4 years.

There are succession opportunities within the organisation such as Duty Managing the school, mentoring our new to OB Kaiako, and supporting the development of your peers in training. Beyond instructing, there are a range of management opportunities that arise periodically.

Staff training involves 16 days of communal training annually scheduled within course breaks, and 4 days of personal training. The personal training has an allowance attached to it and the type of training is bespoke to each Kaiako.

How do I apply?

You can find an application pack here which has more info and is best supported by a cover letter and CV.

Please complete the application pack and send it to our Pou Whakaako / Training Manager, Chee Joe,

Application Pack

Start dates once job is offered

We will typically have 2 start dates annually for new to OB Kaiako to start the induction process. In 2024 those dates are around mid-February and mid-August.

Overseas applicants

Outward Bound NZ a member of the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme.

We have seen this process take a varied amount of time and there are more barriers in place for us to hire internationals. One of the biggest being that we almost exclusively need to see people on the ground here in Anakiwa.

The path to employment here without a Kimi Kaiako Course is dependent on several factors and things like having similar experience to our working context will help a lot.

If you are a candidate from overseas the best way is to apply as above and we can determine the best way forward. 

Contact us

For any queries about becoming a Kaiako at Outward Bound, please contact Chee JoePou Whakaako / Training Manager.