From: SKGABC member
To: Finn Steiner
Hi Finn. Would you be willing to have a quick chat with me re: working in New Zealand? I am curious how your SKGABC certs transferred / equivalency and what you found out about the sea kayak industry in general or specific to amazing companies you either worked or or heard of. I am curious for a number of students I instruct who are interested in potentially working there and planning the 'eternal summer'.
From: Finn Steiner
I had applied to several companies but in the end traveled most of the time. I did however research a lot and ask lots of questions, and have done a fair bit of coaching for the recreational club (KASK -Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers) and SKISLS (the rough water section of the club) as well as a trip for the Marlborough Sounds Adventure Company (MSAC). As far as SKGABC certs all companies I communicated with simply asked me for a valid 40-hour WFA, my Guiding Cert (SKGABC, Paddle Canada, BCU, etc) and a valid work visa (easy for under 35's). The industry is mainly day trips, with the highest density of guiding being done on the northern south island, that being Picton, Nelson, Motueka, Abel Tasman, and Golden Bay. All have well respected paddling shops - MSAC did the occasional overnight - as do a few others - and I really liked the vibe of the place there. In terms of resumee, they were more interested in relevant experience - years spent guiding, language skills, interpretation/quick learning of such- rather than physical, hands-on "I can glass a boat in 30 seconds and list forty species of barnacle" skills. Application time is July thru August, and can go as late as September. They tend to prefer Canadian or British guides to other alternatives.
The bulk of the season runs mid November thru early April, with there being a lull just after christmas followed by hiring of additional guides for the Feb-April school groups as this is a popular activity with them. That hiring is usually done around mid December - walking into shops and having a conversation with them is more likely to get a positive response versus e-mail. On the north island, Deb Vulturno of the Tsunami Rangers has done a lot of paddling and would be a better resource to contact. Regarding the coaching I did, that was more syposium-based and done privately with myself covered through event insurance stipultating that "All instructors must be qualified kayak instructors or have equivalent status", and I was contacted through the club as they knew I had prior surf coaching experience.
Level Two Guide
Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of B.C.