Our Story

Our History

Photo By: Gareth Eyers

OPC was founded in 1972 by Graeme Dingle with Sir Edmund Hillary as patron. The vision was to provide opportunities for New Zealanders, in particular youth and those disadvantaged in some way, to learn and grow through exposure to a range of adventurous activities.

OPC is a value-based organisation. Our goal is not simply to introduce people to the New Zealand outdoors, but to sow the seed for change and growth through that introduction. We want people to explore their values and consider what values and behaviours are important for a healthy society: values such as outstanding, ownership, perseverance, personal integrity, courage and compassion. All of these values can be clearly seen in our previous and current Patrons; Sir Edmund Hillary, Barbara Kendall and Dame Jenny Shipley.

The other secret to OPC’s educational success is the philosophy that was introduced by our founder Graeme Dingle. Dingle believed that in order for young people to thrive and achieve, they needed to be introduced to new experiences and skills in such a way that would encourage them to want to take part again. For this reason, he believed in an instructional style that offered support and caring at an individual level; giving people the skills to succeed. He also believed that the best experiences were FUN!

Our goal is for students to learn more about themselves and the infinite possibilities that exist for them. We understand that not everyone will necessarily excel or even like every outdoor activity. We do know that working as a member of a team in a variety of settings will produce many meaningful learning moments. We also hope that many young people will be introduced to an activity that they will want to take up as an active recreational pursuit for life.

OPC’s Vision:

The “OPC Experience” is a New Zealand benchmark for quality outdoor education and leadership training, and is recognized internationally.

OPC’s Mission:

Contributing positively to the life journey of young people through adventure and rich outdoor learning experiences that develop care and respect for self, others and place, in the spirit of Sir Edmund Hillary.

We exist due to the generosity and support of our sponsors and customers, all of whom share our belief in the educational growth that can be gained through the outdoors.

OPC’s Values:

Being the very best you can be
Personal Integrity
(ngakau tapatahi)
Walking your talk and honouring your word – particularly during difficult and challenging times
Unconditional care, love, and respect for yourself, others and the environment