Shanan Miles

Shanan Miles

Senior Academic Staff Member - Outdoor Education

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What do you love about your job?

I love that I get to head into the outdoors with students who want to be here. They learn in the environment, and I learn from them.

How would you describe your approach to teaching?

‘Train hard, work easy’. Pretty hard nose, really. The ‘Experiential Learning Cycle’ is one of my favourites and is epic for the outdoors, but the ‘Challenge by Choice’ model needs to be known by the student. I push students hard in the outdoors to see what they’ve got. See if they can push themselves to new levels of physical and mental toughness, learn technical skills, and the theories that make learning fun for all. When it comes time for them to be the instructor, those hard trips and challenging times mean they can work easy knowing their limits are well above their students. 

What is your experience in the industry?

Started as the ‘boy’ in many companies over the years. Done time at Salty Rock/Kiwi Adventure in Napier in the early 2000s and moved to Blackwater Rafting in 2004-2005 for some summer fun, and loved it. I returned all summers and spent the year 2008 as a Senior Guide. I then moved to OPC (Hillary Outdoors) for three and a half years, running schools, tertiary, and staff training there. I started my own company in 2012 and moved into outdoor contracting, working for polytechnics, high schools, and centres. I ran staff training, outdoor technical practical’s, and moved into the auditing side of things. Wintec approached me in mid-2016 to come and run the tertiary programme, and I am still here. 

What are your qualifications and educational background?

  • Certificate in Applied Outdoor Recreation (Level 4) 
    Kiwi Adventure Company, 2004
  • Advanced Certificate in Outdoor Recreation Leadership (Level 5)
    Aoraki Polytechnic, 2007
  • Diploma in Outdoor Education (Level 6)
    Includes National Certificate in Adult Training and Education
    Aoraki Polytechnic, 2011 
  • New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Assn Qualifications:
    Kayak 2, Rock 2, Bush 1, Alpine 1, Cave 1, Canoe 1

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I have a young family, so my girls take up most of my time, but I try and get them out and about as much as I can, the beach, mountain biking, down the river, tramping, they are keen on it all, and love camping trips. 

In the little spare time I have, I love hunting and fishing. All sorts and styles. Trout fishing with the fly rod has been awesome over the years, am on the rivers a lot anyway, so it works out well. Just ask some of my students how good a fresh trout is! I love getting the boat out for a few snappers or my favourite, gurnard. I have also been deer stalking for a while now and love fresh venison in the freezer. 

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