Level 3 Outdoor Pursuits Leadership

The OP Leadership Course is designed for students who want to perform at a high level in Outdoor Pursuits. It is ideal for students who are contemplating further training and careers in the outdoors. 

There is an emphasis on students acquiring the judgement and skills to be able to act with independence in the outdoors. There is a strong theme of personal adventure and most course modules are supported by an extended adventurous trip where the students can apply their learning whilst under direct supervision. 

Students in the Leadership course will have opportunities to learn skills in group management, leadership, safety planning and evaluation. They will assist with planning and running outdoor activities for younger students and may assist with junior camps. 

As there are more of these experiences, most of which require some investment of personal time, a strong commitment to the course is expected. It is preferable that students entering should have prior outdoor experience, such as the Level 2 Outdoor Pursuits Challenge Course. 

However, the right attitude is more important than anything else. Students seeking direct entry (e.g. new students) should consult the HOD. Students are assessed against NZQA Achievement Standards, and Unit Standards in Outdoor Recreation. These are mostly at Level 3 and Level 4. 


Students in the Leadership course will have opportunities to learn skills in group management, leadership, safety planning and evaluation. They will learn how to plan and run outdoor activities for younger students and may assist with junior camps.

The practical pursuits will likely include:

  • Kayaking: Students learn the skills to be independent whilst kayaking on Grade 2 rivers, culminating in an assessment trip to the Upper Shotover River (or similar). Learning to kayak roll is an expectation for this module. 
  • Rock-climbing: Includes lead climbing, safe descents, belays and anchors. Multi Pitch climbing and rock rescue may also be traught and practised. 
  • Tramping: An opportunity to tramp in the backcountry. 
  • Alpine Expedition: A 3 day trip to Mount Cook for rock climbing and an alpine tramp to Mueller Hut. 
  • Alpine skills: Avalanche Awareness/backcountry trip: Safe alpine travel skills are assessed on a backcountry trip on skis or snowshoes. An Avalanche Awareness course is also offered as a prerequisite. 
  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Training and assessment at Treble Cone. Similar to Level 2 OP, but with opportunities to be assessed at the next level. 
  • Leadership: Opportunities to observe and then plan and lead EOTC activities for junior students at MAC. This is hands-on experience with practical leadership and facilitation skills. 


Learning takes place through a mixture of theory and practical instruction sessions, classroom discussion and individual research. One afternoon per week is allocated to practical lessons. There several extended trips during the year, so a strong commitment to the course is required.


The Outdoor Pursuits Leadership course is open only to Year 13 students. There are limited places available in the course so entry will be by application only 
You should have done the Outdoor Pursuits Challenge course or an equivalent course at a previous school. The right attitude is far more important than hard skills, so the course is open to any Year 13 students with a genuine passion for the outdoors. Students seeking direct entry to the course, and all new students to the college, should consult the Head of Department. 



How is the course assessed?

Level 3 Unit Standards in Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Avalanche, Risk Management and Leadership. Level 3 or 4 Unit Standards in Snowsports.

100% assessed internally assessed. 

End of course qualification

Contributes to NCEA.

For more information go to: op.mtaspiring.school.nz


The course leads to a tertiary outdoor education course, a career in teaching and instructing in the outdoors or in the adventure tourism industry. 



$675. This covers transport, additional costs such as hut fees, and use of specialist outdoor equipment. Students will need their own ski or snowboard gear, including a helmet. A season pass for Treble Cone is also required (Local schools price is $199).