About Us

First Training was established in 1997 to meet a growing demand for training and qualifications from people involved in outdoor employment, education and recreation. This service has now expanded to include standard First Aid training and shorter courses so that workplaces and community groups can meet Workplace Health and Safety requirements.

First Training's team of skilled facilitators are all experienced trainers. They all have a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over many years with outdoor instructing and guiding, NZ Outdoor Instructors Association, Surf Life Saving. First Response and Volunteer Fire Service. They can apply real experience and theory to bring the learning alive.

Our lead facilitators all have Pre-Hospital Emergency Care and NZ Resuscitation Council qualifications.

We have an advisory panel made up of doctors, paramedics, educators and lay people.

First Training is NZQA registered and provides Health and Safety compliant courses.

NZQA Report of External Evaluation and Review found First Training Highly Confident in educational performance and capability in self-assessment on 15 February 2011 and 29 September 2014.

Five Reasons To Select Us

1. Hands-on courses using scenario-based interactive learning.

2. Highly experienced facilitators at the forefront of the industry.

3.NZQA units and Health and Safety compliant courses.

4. High degree of flexibility in terms of locations and timings.

5. Our courses are not dull!

Our Head office is located in Auckland. We are also have branches in Northland, Auckland, Franklin, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Napier and North Canterbury.

For courses in any other area please call us in Auckland and we'll be pleased to help you.

Our People


Johanna Verheijen - MD

Johanna has led the team at First Training for 15 years. She completed a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation and a Bachelor of Sport Recreation in 2000. When her children went to school it enabled her to pursue a passion in outdoor education, teaching first aid and growing the team to a nation wide business. Surf Lifesaving at United North Piha keeps her busy in the summer and she can still be found mountain biking in the winter and playing with her young grand daughter as often as she can.



Mark Judge and Kathleen Mulligan - Whangarei and Northland

​Mark Judge has years of experience as an outdoor educator and high level participant in countless activities from rock climbing, mountaineering, snowboarding, mountain biking, white water kayaking, surf life saving and surfing and diving.  He is a brilliant teacher with almost 30 years as a high school educator behind him.  The Northland Branch is supported by his wife, Kathleen Mulligan, who is an educator, albeit in music, of as many years. She put herself through university by life guarding so has several years of advanced training to call upon.  She too has connections with the outdoors from snowboarding and mountain biking to running and ocean swimming, yoga and pilates.  They have an Italian Greyhound, Piccolo.  



Graham Frith - North Canterbury

Graham left his 'real job' in 1986 and began working in the outdoors full time. Since then he has owned his own Outdoor Pursuits business, managed an Outdoor Education Centre for a Trust, and guided and instructed in New Zealand and overseas. His passion, is however, still teaching and ensuring that people enjoy themselves safely in the outdoors. Graham is a member of NZOIA and NZRA, and he is also a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade, in the lovely Hanmer Springs. His wife and son are both Paramedics, and his daughter is a Physiotherapist, so you could say that 'fixing things' is in the blood. When not busy working, he can be found outdoors, orienteering, kayaking, mountain biking or tramping; anywhere that keeps him away from the gardening.

“Excellent rapport with the staff, lots of fun, and good at communicating the information. As well as learning loads we all had a lot of fun together. This rapport was really important and made a big difference to the course because staff weren't excited about staying an extra 4 hours at work.”
- Patria, Robertson Road
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