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