Tai Poutini. Guiding course. Any good?


Hi guys,

This is my first post I believe, although I've been lurking around these forums for some time.

My name is James and I'm currently studying at OPC on the @!#$. Lead certificate course and I'm considering studying at Tai Poutini and doing the Leadership and Guiding course down there next year to continue my education particularly, because I want to acquire rafting unit standards in a dedicated learning environment rather than "on the job" as a raft guide trainee. Hopefully someone around here has either studied there recently or knows someone who has, because I have a few questions I need answered.

First of all. Is it worth it? Are you more likely to get a job in a rafting operation with the Advanced Certificate and the Unit Standards under your belt? I know I'll still have to be assessed and get more hours on the water before getting the Awards, but surely I would have an advantage over Joe Blogs from off the street?

Do you know whether you have to be equipped with all your own gear? i.e paddling and boarding as these are the pursuits I'm hoping to specialise in. If so I'm from Rotorua so is it better to buy a kayak from here or somewhere else in the North Island and take it down with me (hoping to get a 4x4 van if I can get the funds) or buy it when I get down there? If its best to get it down there where is the best place to get one from? Preferably second-hand.

What are the instructors like? Will there be a steady progression of Grades that I'll be expected to paddle? Or will I be expected to go straigth to Grade 4+? I'm currently topping out at Grade 3 (Waihahonu).

If anyone is able to answer my queries it will be much appreciated.

bandito's picture

haha, side show!!!? hows the circus. havent been in a bandit since. quite sad really. .

ali's picture

How r u buttons? what u been up 2

bandito's picture

yes yes i am.

bandito's picture

the kernal? hows the kfc?:)

paul10's picture

bandit how is the bandit, and how is that kfc

jordy's picture

i know hardly anything about the course but I am pretty sure you wont get thrown into 4+water, they usually work on the arnold and that is like a II+ - III. get a van up there, things are more expensive down here, also the van doesnt have to be 4x4 my mate gets into almost all the good runs in a 2wd with bald tires,with good clearance there is no point in 4x4. Hope I sort of help... oh and also pays to have your own gear.

ali's picture

I did it a few years ago. Its was good course when i did it. I sea kayak rather than raft and have found that the graduates that we see year after year are pretty on to it so it would be safe to say it still is.
Fair progression, that is pretty taylored. our crew ran the lower kakapotahi and the lower hoki at the end of the course, not sure if they still do depends on the ablities within you group.
As far as gear goes, you will probably get a better choice of boats in vegas, get an all rounder, the surf is good, and the rivers r as hard as you want them to be. It pays to have you own gear, but perhaps wait till you get a better idea of what best suits the coures before you drop a few grand on kit.
For kayaking the taharoha is nice grade 3 and we did that lots, the kakapotahi, is a nice step up from this and you can walk the first gorge so the rest is 4ish depending on water and there is always the arnold, which is a sweet grade2 local you will get to know it well!!.
I only had a 2wd van and was sweet.
Most of your rafting is arnold and buller styles but they used to do a trip to the rangatata.
If your running 3 sweet you will be fine to start 2nd year. it would.
You job chances after a course...well that depends on so many things, but i know a lot of folks got jobs (and r still in the industry 6 years down the track.....)
hey good luck, the most important thing is a good attitude, if your not digging the course your on ask yourself why, and will the greener grass on the other side be better??

wendy's picture

Hi there
I did a similar course but know quite a few people that did Tai Poutini.
The course is a great way to get skills for your boarding and kayaking and rafting too, but with rafting as you said you will still be needing to do a lot after the course.
Most companies prefer trainees to at least have a grade 2 cert but others will take on someone with nothing, and thats where your kayaking will be an advantage, as they wont have to teach you the basics like how to read water and kayakers tend to pick up rafting easier. The advantage to having grade 2-3 cert in rafting is that when it is time to find a job you can do a few familiarisation trips and then go straight to being paid where someone with no quals may take up to 6 months or so to get themselves set up.
As to the gear, wait until you start the course to buy gear then you can try a few bits off other people and get a better idea of what you want to buy. You may even get some bargains off other students, or its not far to Chch to get to the kayak stores.
With the kayaking they tend to assess everyones abilities and instruct accordingly, working in groups of same ability where possible and they have some pretty top notch instructors
Anyway, hope that helps

jamesey0's picture

Hi guys,

Thanks for your replys which were all very informative and helpful. I have actually decided not to enrol in the course as I have been offered a trainee position at River Rats Rafting which is just far more convenient and will be less of an investment financially although Tai Poutini sounds as if they run an awesome course. Thanks anyway once again.

dan3's picture

Ive just finished the L&G course an i think its the best you can do, cool staff, cool class m8s and full of heps of mint mishing.
and course is requnised well in the interstry.
in the second year you need to have your own kit,board,kayak. you dont need to have a tent but a bivy bag makes life better in the wet. an a good sleeping bag! teck sort out your acc down in wanka as well. and if you want teck will sort out acc of the rest of the year for you as well @ your cost. the staff are the best in the country and help hook you up with a job as well. everyone that was on my course walk stright in to a job that teck helped set up.
you just have to be ready for a full on year
go for m8
cheers dan