Archive for August, 2013

There’s rubies in those hills

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My name is Sam de Reeper, I am currently the owner of a sea kayak company, Rippled Earth. I started guiding on my parents horse trekking stables, High country horse treks at the age of 13. I’ve worked all over the country from Abel Tasman to Milford sound. I have studied Conservation and Ecology at Lincoln University and shortly after started my kayaking company in 2007, I have been guiding ever since.

Guiding

The guides responsibility is customer welfare, not only are you out there to entertain your clients but their safety while you are on tour is your responsibility as well. The company you are working for will have a safe operational plan but there are many aspects to guiding that may not be part of that plan, such as group management. The company may also have an interpretation plan however this will usually be the minimum requirements of what you are telling your clients and conversation while you are conducting your tour can go far outside your interpretation notes or even your personal range of knowledge.

Group Management

When you are on your tour the safety of your clients will always be at the forefront of your mind. Keep the ‘what if’ scenario’s going in your head, I.E. what do i do if that person falls, twists their ancle, gets caught up in something, chokes, breaks their hand. This helps to keep you focused on hazard identification, how to reduce the risk of that hazard and what your response is going to be if the incident occurs.

A big part of managing your group will be the control you have over it. When you first meet your group discuss the safety aspects of your trips, just a short safety brief, this can include a brief on what equipment you have and how to use it as well. During the brief the clients are shown that you are in responsible for their safety and are in authority, simply by them acknowledging the safety procedure, you can get the whole group to participate in some small role, putting on a lifejacket, paddle instruction, ect. This helps with group bonding and stops one or two people in the group from challenging you as they will want to be a part of the group and the activity.

The further away your clients are from you the less control you have and slower your response if an incident occurs. In any activity you are going to have a range of abilities, meaning some of the group are going to lag behind and some are going to push forward at the front. The larger the group the bigger the spread. You can manage that spread in a couple of different ways.

Be interesting, keep talking and engage the members of the group who are prone to wander. If they are interested in what you are saying they will stay within listening distance.

Break the trip into sections and make the people in the front stop at defined locations for a talk or brief. Each stop brings the group back together again, the longer the distance between stops the more the group will spread.

Remember as the guide you are there to help and encourage so you should spend most of your time at the back of the group as that is where the clients who need your support are going to be. Anyone at the front is obviously doing well and has the ability to stop and approach you if needed.

Interpretation

This is just about public speaking or the art of conversation. We all know the guy who spends the whole time talking about their selves so try not to be that person. You have information to pass over but keep it interesting. Do this by making it relevant to your clients, engage them on their own knowledge of the subject and try relate it back to their country, region, job ect. If you have facts and figures try incorporate it into a story or into something people can relate to, for example Stirling falls in Milford sound is 150m high, thats 3x the height of the Niagra falls on the Usa/Canada boarder.

Know your subject. This means read the company notes then go to the library or web and work out how your going to tell it, who was there, how old were they, where did they

Come from. Make the story real.

When you are on the tour your clients are going to ask you questions. If you don’t know the answer its ok to say you don’t know, try be a little glib and talk around it or break it down and talk about certain points in the subject but after the trip research it and find out what the answer was, as you will be asked that question again during another trip. Over time you become pretty good and know all the answers to all the questions that people ask.

Small talk

Try get to everyone on the trip and ask a little about them. Try make sure that no one was ignored or could feel left out (don’t spend your time just talking to the pretty ones) The usual questions are What is your name? Where do you come from? What do you do for a job back home? You can ask about their holiday as well but of the information you get back pick a topic that you know about or would like to know about and discuss it with them. You can learn a huge amount from your clients, they come from some amazing places and do some really interesting jobs.

At the end

No matter how bad you felt the trip went finish on a high note. I have a Maori legend that i like to use just to finish the day and a “thanks for coming out guys its been great to be here”. People can be really hard to read and you may think that the silent scowling person hated your trip but come up to you after and say they loved it.

Team building and a visit to the Otago Museum – Sam B

Team building exercises 30/07/2013

Today we split into small groups and did team exercises. Firstly we had to set a mouse trap with our eyes open and then with our eyes closed. We had help from the group and set it off by gently placing our hand down on the trap and removing it when there was a click. We then did the same thing with our eyes closed. After this, we made paper airplanes which had to fly across an allocated distance. Some did a nose dive while others flew off course. Only one plane could be entered per group and there were some different variations made! Within our group of four, we split into pairs and had to navigate through a minefield. Different objects were placed on the ground, including a globe, bag and two set mouse traps. Thank goodness no one stood on those! One person was blindfolded and the other had to direct that person from the start to the finish without stepping on any of the objects. If that happened, you had to start again. We then swapped over so we could have a go at both roles.

Otago Museum: Flora and Fauna 02/08/2013

Led by an enthusiastic tour guide named Kim, we viewed various exhibitions involving fish, insects, birds, a seal and a crocodile. First off, we did a master chef styled challenge. We broke off into small groups and had to create an entrée, main course and dessert using food found in New Zealand before Europeans arrived. During this time, the Maori lived on the coastline. This is due to the large amount of forest which covered the land. They would hunt birds and catch fish. They would also eat the base of cabbage trees. Moa were mainly hunted as a food source due to their size. This is because they could feed many. Their bones were also used to make weapons. When the Moa became extinct, so did its predator; the Haast Eagle. It was first thought that there were more species of moa than there actually are. This is because of the variation in size; the male moa is smaller than the female. One of the entrées was whitebait patties held together with moa eggs, while an example of a main course involved blue cod cooked in a hangi. One of the desserts was wedges made from the base of cabbage trees.
We then shifted and saw an exhibited leopard seal and a model of a crocodile. Leopard seals usually live around Antarctica, but one washed up on the Otago coastline. It had a spike in its mouth which had pierced the skin and is also on display. We learned that penguins have ridges on the top and bottom of their mouth to stop fish from slipping and falling out. It is thought that Otago was subtropical millions and millions of years ago. This is because a bone from the jaw of a freshwater crocodile was found near St Bathans.

Leopard Seal  Moa

Picture 1 – Although leopard seals usually live in the waters around Antartica, they occasionally venture north and are sometimes seen resting on Otago Beaches.  This leopard seal dies on Waikouaiti Beach and came to the museum with the support of Kati Huirapa Runaka Ki Puketeraki.

Picture 2 – Moa are the only birds known to have entirely lost their wing bones.  They grazed on plants, from ground level to shrubby bushes and trees.  The South Island giant moa was one of the largest standing over 3m tall and weighing as much as 250kg.

Our first week – Thomas

Our first week back has seen us be quite busy.  We were introduced to the course and were given an outline of what’s to come in the following weeks. We have already had our first field trip to Orokonui Eco-sanctuary where we were able to witness a whole host of different native flora and fauna which will be very useful for our presentations.

Kaka     Takahe  Tuatara

Picture 1 – A great picture of a Kaka who suddenly swooped over our heads shortly after this picture was taken

Picture 2 – The flightless Takahe emerged from the scrub to say g’day

Picture 3 – This path leads to the Tuatara enclosure.

Introduction

”A tour guide is a person who leads groups of people around a town, museum, or other tourist venue. The tour guide provides a commentary on the features and history of the location, the tours can be from as little as 10-15 minutes to extended periods over many days. Considerable importance is placed on the guide’s knowledge of local stories, history and culture depending on the location of the tour – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_guide Wikipedia:Tour Guide August 2007

This is a course for learning or validating the skills and duties involved in tour guiding for a tourism organisation.

Your lecturer Chris Roberts welcomes you to the tour guiding course at Otago Polytechnic, a course designed to challenge and inspire you by bringing to life just exactly what a tour guide does.

Chris has guided clients from all over the world in varous terrains including glacial (Franz Josef Glacier Guides), alpine/bush (Ultimate Hikes) and the lochs of Scotland (Loch Lomond Leisure Scotland).  He now owns and operates Back to Nature tours in Dunedin.

The following presentation is an overview of the different job opportunitiesavailable in the guiding industry.

We want you to contribute to the blog so feel free to send me your first post!

Interpretation

20-February-2013

Interpretation

Interpretation as defined by Freeman Tilden – is “an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships through the use of original objects by firsthand experience, and by illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual information.”  It looks at the larger truth behind a statement of fact and should enrich the human spirit and mind. Tilden’s Principles of Interpretation  outlines the six basic rules of interpretation, which you need to become familiar with.

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

1. Personal interpretation – where a person is directly responsible for the delivery of interpretation
2. Non personal interpretation – situation where media (such as print and audiovisual) is the primary mechinism for the delivery of interpretation
3. Interpretive technique: method of communicating ideas and feelings eg. roleplay, interactive media, print media, spoken word
4. Interpretive theme: the body of the interpretation – area from which message of interpretation taken
5. Interpretive message: simple yet meaningful statement that embodies the interpretation