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Meet the Executive and Life Members

2017 EONZ National Executive

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Meet co-chairs, Fiona McDonald (left) and Libby Paterson (right), with our newest Life Member, Liz Thevenard (centre).
Check out Liz's story Waikanae's Liz receives EONZ Award


Fiona McDonald  - Education Consultant (Qualifications Pathways National Coordinator)



Fiona is an education outside the classroom consultant, project manager and assessor. She is involved with a range of projects working with a number of organisations and schools. She a member of the Ministry of Education (MoE) Reference group that was involved in the development of the EOTC Guidelines. She is on the MSC and EONZ Boards
Previously she has worked as a teacher, Head of Faculty, Assistant and Deputy Principal at high school level. She worked with Skills Active on the Outdoor Recreation unit standards review and has been a member of the TAG for Skills Active Leader qualifications. She was involved in the Achievement Standards alignment process and the PPTA unit writing group and was part of the Outdoor Education team for the development of the New Zealand Curriculum. 
Fiona managed the MSC, EONZ, NZAEE Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) project funded by SPARC. This involved coordinating the development of professional development and resources to support teachers and other outdoor educators. She managed the production of professional development and resources for Maori-medium schools funded by the Ministry of Education.
Fiona strongly believes in the value of quality integrated cross curriculum EOTC for students.

Libby Paterson - University of Otago

Executive Committee

Liz Thevenard - Dip PE, MA (applied)


Liz has been the on the EONZ National Executive for many years and the Chair for the past seven years. Liz has taught and lectured for 37 plus years in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector in health, physical education and education outside the classroom. She has specialised in educating in outdoor environments and is passionate about learning in authentic contexts. She is a regular contributor to publications, teacher in-service courses and conferences in the sector, In 2009 Liz was awarded the SPARC Supreme Award for outstanding contribution to outdoor education and recreation and in 2013 was awarded a Life Membership of Physical Education New Zealand (PENZ). Liz has spent her life dedicated to educating in outdoor environments on rock, river, bush or sea, planting trees, stream adventures, windsurfing or enjoying the beaches. She believes we as New Zealanders are blessed with the most wonderful environment and it is vital that our young people appreciate and enjoy the opportunities it offers.

Dr David Irwin - Ara Institute of Canterbury (Editor of Out and About)


Originally trained as a primary teacher many years ago, Dave now works on the Sustainability and Outdoor Education Programmes at Ara Institute of Canterbury where he has been engaged in teaching and research related to learning in the outdoors since the late 1990s.  Dave is interested in how both educators and learners grapple with their identity, finding out about their place in the world, and the role of education (and particularly experiential education) in change towards a more sustainable future.  Along with Allen Hill and Jo Straker, Dave contributed to and edited the book Outdoor education in Aotearoa New Zealand: A new vision for the twenty-first century, published by CPIT and available through EONZ.

Dr Allen Hill - Ara Institute of Canterbury

Dr Allen Hill is a Principal Lecturer in Sustainability and Outdoor Education at ARA Institute of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr Hill joined the team at ARA in July, 2016 from the University of Tasmania, Australia, where he was a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education since 2011.

Before his transition into tertiary education, Dr Hill was a secondary school teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand for 11 years. During this time he held a number of leadership roles including Head of Health and Physical Education and Outdoor Education, and Head of Assessment in a large co-educational state secondary school.

Dr Hill’s professional career can be characterized by an enduring commitment to the development of people through education coupled with a strong concern for issues of justice, equality, sustainability, transformation, and citizenship. How education can contribute to a more sustainable future through healthy people, healthy communities, and healthy environments is at the heart of his research and teaching interests.

Donald Matheson - Perry Outdoor Education Trust (POET)

I grew up exploring the Kapiti Coast and Wellington and have always been interested in the outdoors. I want to share that with other people, whatever their background. In my job at the Perry Outdoor Education Trust (POET), I help low decile schools in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland regions organise their outdoor education experiences. My aim is to increase access to outdoor education for learners and make greater connections between their outdoor experiences and the school curriculum. I have explored outdoor education all over the world. That has taken me from tutoring at Federation University in Ballarat, Australia, to instructing journey-based programmes in Croatia. I have also worked in mentoring, safety management and staff coordination roles with non-profit organisations. In 2009, I gained a Bachelor of Leisure Management from Griffith University in Brisbane. Outside work, I enjoy exploring Mt Pirongia, mountain biking, surfing and learning to play the banjo. 

Caroline Reddish - Trident High School

Sophie Watson - Wellington East Girls' College

Phil Washbourn - Papanui High School

Phil is new the exec this term but has been active within the Canterbury EONZ region since the early 2000s. He is Assistant HOD HPE: Outdoor Education at Papanui High School in Christchurch. Phil is on study leave in 2017 completing a Masters Thesis concerning student perspectives on cultural responsive pedagogies in Outdoor Education. Phil's passion in teaching is in engaging students with outdoor environments, and connecting them with the places they will live in, look after and make decisions on as adults.

Catherine Kappelle
EONZ Executive Officer


Catherine’s interest in EONZ began when teaching and coordinating Year 1-13 PE programmes while working in Deaf education. At that time Adventure Based Learning and the experiential learning cycle was used extensively in the secondary-level programmes at her school, most particularly to scaffold language development. She found the EONZ network to be invaluable to her in her role. Catherine became the EONZ Canterbury representative to the National Executive in 2001 and took up the role of the executive officer in a small part time capacity in 2009. The role has grown with the organisation and while the executive officer role is still part time, the rest of Catherine's time is taken up with related project management.


Life Members

The following EONZ members have made a significant and ongoing contribution to EONZ and Outdoor Education in New Zealand over an extended period:

  • Hilary Chidlow
  • Bert McConnell
  • Wayne Putt
  • Gerald Rawson
  • Arthur Sutherland
  • Lynley Stewart
  • Gemma Periam
  • Mike Boyes
  • Liz Thevenard

Regional Life Members

EONZ members who have made a significant contribution in their respective regions:

  • John Charteris, EONZ Waikato
  • Margaret O'Conner, EONZ Auckland
  • Jill Dalton, EONZ Auckland
  • Colin Bramfitt, EONZ Auckland


Nga Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai CS No. CC25473.