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Christine ‘Grover’ Worsfold - Director


A registered Teacher and highly qualified Outdoor Instructor, Grover brings over 25 years in the outdoor teaching profession to TOPEC. 

Grover has also worked as a technical expert for outdoor audits, assisted in writing specific outdoor NZ Activity Safety Guidelines and delivered Tourism Industry Association workshops for OutdoorsMark audits. She also currently assesses for Skills Active and NZOIA. Her extensive knowledge, experience and zest for life are integral to the quality and vitality of the outdoor education programmes at TOPEC.


Claire Allen - Office Manager

Claire joined the team at TOPEC in 2017 as their administrator. She comes with a background in banking and account management through her various roles in the private sector. Claire has also given her time to the wider community, volunteering in various roles in social, school and sporting groups.

Claire, along with husband Terry, are parents of three girls – all of whom attended TOPEC in their high school years. Claire has seen first-hand how the TOPEC experience can benefit and encourage students to push boundaries and enlarge expectations.



Colleen Frederickson - Operations Assistant

After completing the Level 4 certificate in Business Administration & Technology at Te Pukenga/WITT, Colleen found herself joining the team here at TOPEC. She is a “behind the scenes superstar”, helping ensure things run smoothly.


Born and raised in New Plymouth, she loves her community. In her down-time she enjoys immersing herself in the fantasy worlds of video games, along with being a cat mum to her tuxedo cat Towzer.

Josh Kirby - Lead Instructor

Josh came to TOPEC at the beginning of 2016. He arrived with a Diploma in Outdoor Adventure from Whitireia Polytechnic. Josh loves sport, playing basketball and volleyball, and is passionate about rock climbing and being

in the bush. He has qualifications in Bush and Rock from NZIOA, PHEC,

and is a Grade 3 Raft Guide.

Josh is a vibrant, involved member of the community. If you are ever looking

for Josh around the TOPEC grounds, he can usually be located by his loud singing voice.



Don Paterson - Senior Instructor


Don was the Assistant Director of TOPEC back in the 90’s.  He has worked various roles over the years for Hillary Outdoors, the last as their Training Manager.  Don is a Teacher, and an award holder and assessor for many of the NZ Outdoor Instructors Association (NZOIA) disciplines.  He has recently been awarded Life Membership of the Association awarded to a member who personifies the very best combination of an excellent instructor/guide, a high achieving personal performer, and an outstanding contributor to the work and promotion of the association.


In his infrequent spare time, he remains competitive in orienteering, mountain biking, and adventure racing.  Other times he will be kayaking, climbing, mountaineering, skiing, taking photos, or sharing himself with his family and grand children



Seton Pennell - Instructor

This is Setons second time at TOPEC. Seton worked at Outward Bound in Australia where he developed his passion for instructing students in the outdoors. Seton loves all things powered by nature, rock climbing, sailing, body surfing even blo karting on extreme weather days and he always looks for opportunities to help improve the amazing environment that he lives in, either in pest eradication programs or waste reduction education. 

Jo Thompson - Senior Instructor

Jo's previous roles include mahi with Capable NZ at Otago Polytechnic and Aoraki Polytechnic, Skills Active Aotearoa Ltd and time running her own outdoor education business. Jo is also an assessor and elected member of the NZOIA Board and has a string of qualifications, including a Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance and a Bachelor of Adventure Recreation and Outdoor Education. She also holds NZOIA qualifications in Bush, Sea Kayak, Rock, Alpine, alongside NZ Mountain Safety Council Avalanche Safety Management Stage One, PHEC and Project Adventure Challenge Ropes certification.

Zoe Harvey - Instructor

Zoe completed a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, majoring in Outdoor Education and Sport Management. She then set off to travel Europe, popping over to Norway to work as a Sea Kayak Guide.

Zoe’s love for the ocean brought her back to New Zealand and eventually back to do what she loves most in her hometown, working with youth in the outdoors. She has qualifications in bush, rock climbing, sea kayaking and white-water raft guiding.


Emma Titchener - Instructor

Titch migrated south from Auckland and has a passion for rock climbing and tramping the tracks of Aotearoa. Level 3 outdoor leadership at high school sparked her into pursuing outdoor instructing as a career pathway. She is a graduate of the TOPEC Level 4 NZCOL, and a qualified Raft Guide.

An avid photographer and snapchatter, Titch also enjoys creating adventurous videos when being active in the outdoors. She recently discovered mountain biking, and has been eyeing up the Taranaki surf, so watch out!




Alan Sarten - Instructor

Alan has been part of the TOPEC operation for a long time. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in and around Taranaki. He is a Grade 3 Raft Guide, has qualifications Bush and years of rock, and caving experience.


Alan is a Taranaki Dairy Farmer and this comes across in his instructional style – cheesy jokes and a down-to-earth approach.


Board of Trustees

Rachael Berndt - Chair

Yvonne Shanahan - Treasurer

Sam Moore – TSSPA Representative


Kirsty Linnell

Phil Hewlett

Grant Robinson

Michelle Hofmans



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