Looking inwards and outwards at the Skills Active National Outdoors Hui

November 29, 2019

A one-day event for collaboration and conversation among outdoor recreationalists, hosted by Skills Active Aotearoa, has generated plenty of energy for positive change.

The National Outdoors Hui: Spring Forward took place this month in Wellington. Outdoor recreation professionals from around the country gathered for a day of “town hall” style speaker sessions, interspersed with networking and discussion, all around the central theme of making the sector resilient and relevant in the face of change.

This small but lively event was a huge success, and punched above its weight in terms of stimulating speakers and highly engaged attendees, made up of a mix of leaders, managers and key stakeholders from across the industry.

Skills Active chief executive Dr Grant Davidson says one of the big highlights was the presentation of the Supreme Outdoor Award, which recognises an outstanding leader who has contributed to the sector. This award went to longtime outdoor educator Liz Penman.

“The outdoor recreation industry is navigating change on many fronts,” says Dr Davidson, “including the reform of vocational education, school funding policy and a directional shift from Sport New Zealand.”

“All of this is taking place in the context of a society which is adapting its uses and perspectives on leisure time, nature, and technology,” he adds. 

Dr Davidson says the final session of the day was a group analysis session where there was a shared view that the industry is made up of motivated and passionate people, united by a desire to keep the outdoors positioned as a central element of Kiwi life.

“He waka eke noa – we are all in this together,” he says.

“The discussion concluded that what’s needed may be a ‘kaitiaki group’ with a mandate to speak for the sector, protecting and promoting it in all aspects, and embracing diversity, equity and kaitiakitanga. Perhaps this group could hold ongoing hui to keep bringing the industry together and creating space for collaboration.”

Dr Davidson says as a next step, Skills Active will share the hui outcomes with its strategic partners, and will reach out to the outdoor industry to pursue cooperative approaches to the structural changes taking place.

If you missed the hui, or if it was so good you’d like to do it all again, you can find videos of the presentations, slides, and key documents below:

Hui speaker sessions

Sam Newton (on behalf of Andrew Leslie): Future initiatives and engagement in outdoor recreation | Video | Slides

Fiona McDonald: NCEA and achievement standards reform | Video

Grant Davidson: What does ROVE mean for the outdoors industry? | Video | Slides

Geoff Barry: Active recreation and youth engagement | Video | Slides

Mike Daisley: Change, evolution and the transformation of MSC | Video 

Sam Newton: The Living Standards concept and outdoors manifesto | Video | Slides | Supporting materials

Steve Campbell: New kids on the block, engaging youth | Video | Slides

Nathan Watson: The key to successful digital content | Video 

Jane Zintle: Mana Taiohi – the new look principles of youth development | Video | Slides

Brett Holland: Amplifying the voices of organisations through collaboration | Video | Slides

Group analysis session: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats 

Pictured: Skills Active chief executive with award winner Liz Penman.


Media contact for Skills Active

Esther McLaren


021 195 5127

About Skills Active

Skills Active Aotearoa is the industry training organisation for recreation, exercise, sport and performing arts. We are a non-profit organisation, 50% owned by Māori shareholders, and funded by government to promote careers and workforce development in our industries, work with those industries to create world-class qualifications, and support workplaces to train staff.