WILSS offers a range of programmes designed to enhance personal development and increase participants’ contribution to the community, in the volunteer sector and the workplace.

WILSS is a unique organisation within New Zealand's educational landscape – a charitable trust and a training provider with NZQA registration and accreditation. Our aim is to deliver quality education to provide opportunities in leadership and volunteer activities that meet the changing needs of our communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Over the past 32 years, we have developed an industry-wide reputation for providing a supportive learning environment, first class facilitators and industry contacts to predominately participants in the Greater Waikato and the Central Plateau regions.

Each year we deliver our programmes to over 7,000 participants within schools, sport & recreation, community & volunteer and workplaces. Our organisation's strength is not represented by physical facilities but in the faces and passion of our facilitators and teachers. Our principle focus is to develop people to 'put their hand up, rather than out' by providing them with leadership and volunteer training so that they can return to their clubs, organisations, associations, groups, families and whanau to build resilience and capability. This supports our belief of developing strong and healthy communities for future generations.

What is our "WHY"

Our Vision

Active communities empowered by capable leaders and volunteers.

Our Purpose

Build the capability of sport and active recreation leaders and volunteers.

Our Principles

  • We embrace the experience that both facilitators and learners bring to the learning interaction.
  • We welcome, respect, care for, and inspire others.
  • We build and nurture meaningful relationships.

Our Beliefs

  • Involvement in sport and active recreation contributes to the enhanced wellbeing of individuals and communities.
  • The contribution that volunteering brings to the community is important and should be supported.
  • Educating leaders and volunteers will lift the capability of the community to deliver effective sport and active recreation opportunities.
  • Everybody should have access to sport and active recreation opportunities. This may mean we provide targeted support to specific groups that have been under-represented in the past.
  • leaders in the sport and active recreation sector should be encouraged to challenge the system and inspire transformational change.

A few details about us


The Waikato Institute for Leisure and Sport Studies Trust Board (WILSS), was established in 1989 through the vision of John Parker, Lyn Gunson and Wilf Malcom.

WILSS was initially known as the Waikato Institute for Recreation and Sport Studies and registered as a Charitable Trust on 11 January 1991 .  WILSS changed its legal name to the Waikato Institute for Leisure and Sport Studies Trust Board on 11 August 1993. WILSS began trading as Waikato Institute for Leadership & Sport Studies and changed it's logo on 7 November 2019.


  • Charities Commission number - CC10610
  • Ministry of Education ID – 8247 - (Private Training Establishment).
  • GST Number – 056-098-509.

Office Hours

9:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday  

Qualifications, Learning and Assessment

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

The NZQA is the guardian of National Unit Standards. These have been developed to build skills and knowledge without being restricted to formal training institutions such as polytechnics and universities. The NZQA standards-based system allows students to train 'on the job' in a variety of settings e.g., as a volunteer, or in a paid position, or with a Private Training Establishment such as the Waikato Institute for Leadership & Sport Studies.

Under this system, industry qualifications such as national certificates and diplomas, are made up of building blocks called 'unit standards'. To achieve credits, students are assessed against the skill requirements set out in the unit standard. All unit standards are registered on a database called the National Qualifications Framework, maintained by the NZQA. The Framework is made up of eight levels of unit standards – level one being the most basic and level eight containing the most complex level of unit standards.

Students taking unit standards for the first time need to be registered on the NZQA Framework. Once registered, students are given a personal identification number called a National Student Index number. This allows all training achievements to be recorded throughout the student's life of learning.

Admission and Fees

Important dates

New Zealand Certificate Programmes

February and September Intakes

  • New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 4)

  • New Zealand Certificate in Sport Coaching (Level 3)

Start dates will be advertised three months in advance.

Applications Close

  • New Zealand Certificate courses: one week prior to start date

  • Short courses: 10 days prior to course commencement

Late applications

  • NZ Certificate courses: late applications will be accepted at the discretion of WILSS

  • Short courses: late applications may be accepted at the discretion of WILSS

Admission documentation

  • Full time courses: applicants need to submit proof of legal name and citizenship or permanent residency with admission forms. Proof required may comprise of a copy of:
    birth certificate, or
    passport, or
    a marriage certificate (if you are using your married name) or
    NSI number.

  • Short courses: no admission documentation is required.

Cancellation of courses
Courses may be cancelled at the discretion of WILSS or if there are insufficient enrolments by the closing date. Please refer to WILSS Refund Policy below.

Qualifying for admission
Information relating to entry criteria is specified in each course information section in this document. Participants not meeting the specific entry criteria – but who believe they have equivalent skills and knowledge – are invited to submit documentation that substantiates their expertise for assessment through the principles of Credit Recognition and Transfer (CRT), as specified by NZQA.

Students are required to pay fees on acceptance into a WILSS programme. In special circumstances and at the discretion of WILSS, payment by instalments will be considered.

All students enrolled on New Zealand Certificate programmes are required to pay a $150 (plus GST) non-refundable administration fee. The exception to this is the New Zealand Certificate in Sport Coaching (Level 3) which is free of fees. WILSS will send you an invoice detailing your tuition fees and any course-related costs. Upon successful admission into a programme each student will receive a Participant Handbook that will document information relating to the fees involved in that particular programme.

Fee information will include:

  • Tuition and administration costs;

  • Certificate;

  • Academic Reporting;

  • Administration fee;

  • course materials, equipment, books and/or other items provided to the participant.

All travel costs are the responsibility of the learner; any assessment costs undertaken outside of the programme are the learner's responsibility; any extra tuition costs are the responsibility of the learner.

NOTE: The Qualifications Authority and Ministry of Education require that all Private Training Establishments hold Fee Protection Insurance as part of registration criteria in the unlikely event of insolvency and/or regulatory closure or withdrawal of accreditation, or fees that are held in a trust account and disbursed to the organisation upon the reporting of credits to NZQA. WILSS has a trust account for the purpose of fee collection and holding, upon credit reporting.
Withdrawal and refund policy and procedures

Any participant wishing to withdraw from a programme or course must inform the Tertiary Programmes Manager at WILSS in writing. The date for withdrawal will be recorded as the date of first notification. Refunds will be calculated automatically upon receipt of written notification of withdrawal. Any unused course resources previously distributed to the participant should accompany all written withdrawals. Used course resources will be charged to the participant.

Refunds – less an administration fee of 10% of the course fee – will be provided to those participants who give notice, in writing to the Tertiary Programmes Manager within seven days of the start of the course, and who return all course resources unused to WILSS.

Where notice is given more than seven days after course commencement – or where course resources returned are not reusable – the proportion of fees refunded will be the balance of the fees not already spent, and/or not recoverable by WILSS i.e., administration costs, resource costs, etc.
If WILSS cancels a course before it runs, a full refund will be made within 14 days of the cancelation. Refunds will not be provided for used materials, equipment and books purchased by the participant, in addition to the course resources.

Student loans
Study Link manages student loans and allowances. Students who intend to pay fees by student loan must apply directly to Study Link, preferably at least six weeks before fees are due.

Application forms or information are available by calling the Study Link free phone on 0800 889 900.