Fulltime summers for 15 years!

Rachael Moore, Industry Advocate, TIA

Q. What qualifications did you attain at school? In which subjects?

I studied right through high school, achieving UE and then Bursary in my final year. I studied calculus, physics, chemistry and English.

Q. Outline your career path once you left school?

I completed a BA in Psychology / Minor in Business Administration. I started at Otago University and completed my degree at the University of Canterbury. During university holidays I got more involved in the outdoor instruction sector. After I finished university I began raft guide training, with a specific goal of working on rivers in Nepal. I applied to train with a Queenstown rafting company, achieved my qualification to guide that summer then headed off to work in Nepal – via a quick stint in Queensland, Australia to hone a few more skills! From there it was pretty much fulltime summers for 15 years as I travelled the world as a rafting guide and eventually a technical rescue instructor. It was a fantastic lifestyle and challenging work. I worked in 13 different countries around the world, introduced thousands of people to the beauty of rivers and made many lifelong friends.

Following a decision to return to New Zealand, I took up a teaching post at Tai Poutini Polytechnic for 18 months, teaching the rafting programme and risk management. During this time I also moved into safety auditing and leading the development and assessment of New Zealand’s rafting qualifications and guide training.

This led me to working for TIA as their Adventure Project Leader and ultimately to my current role as Industry Advocate for tourism.

Q. What have been highlights for you?

It’s hard to choose – it’s been a wonderfully fulfilling career so far! The main thing is the wonderful friendships I’ve made all around the world; the bond forged working together on challenging rivers is very strong. Otherwise here are a couple of things I’m proud of:

I’m very proud to be the first woman in some places in the world to guide and trip-lead various rafting expeditions. A challenging example was in Turkey where it was unheard of for a woman to do this, particularly working for a Turkish company – leading a trip there was a real milestone for women in the outdoors.

I’m also very proud of my role in the New Zealand rafting sector. I help to maintain our rafting qualification system and keep the river rescue skills of New Zealand guides among the highest in the world.

In the last few years a highlight has been running the project that resulted in the SupportAdventure website – a safety management site for New Zealand’s adventure operators. The website and its content was a huge collaborative effort across our industry and really contributes to supporting safety in our sector.

Rachael Moore with others photo Waynne Williams


Q. What attracted you to the industry and kept you in it? The initial attraction was due to a love of kayaking and adventure on rivers, and exploring remote places.

I love the small-business nature of the adventure tourism sector. The people are very positive, with many people living their dreams. There’s a real sense of camaraderie, challenge, fun and achievement. It’s also a great industry for taking up opportunities and creating your own path.

Q. What are the challenges for young people? There is a seasonal issue with rafting (and many other adventure tourism activities) which means you may need to travel if you want to raft all year long.

It’s important to figure out your financial pathway. You need to be self-directive about managing your financial goals.

Q. Any advice for a school-leaver? It’s all about attitude and personality in adventure tourism. It’s a ’people matter’ sector. If you’re positive and like working in a team there are plenty of opportunities.

Be prepared to have a go. Plan for the future and don’t be afraid to try something new when an opportunity arises.

When you’re deciding where to work, choose an industry that you enjoy and…learn how to manage your money to make things work for you, consider taking a business studies paper alongside getting out there and adventuring!