Chelle Thomson

Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme Manager

How did you get here?

I’ve grown up through Girl Guiding and Air Cadets, and my parents had my younger brother and I on bicycles and boats from an early age. My dad and my grandfather on mum’s side shared an old launch when I was a kid so I spent loads of time fishing and motoring around the Hauraki Gulf. Dad had a little yacht up in Mangawhai as well, so I’ve always felt drawn to the water.

As a teen I got involved heavily in tramping and used to carry ridiculous weights around on Cadet activities all over West Auckland and further afield with Girl Guides as well. I had plans to go and study something outdoors based but instead I found myself a position in emergency services comms, with the Coastguard. After 2 years, I had a short stint at Firecomm, followed by Airside Ground Ops at Auckland Airport, which was very exciting! I eventually got offered a role at a European vehicle importer, building on my logistics experience that I’d gained in my previous roles. Now I’m here, I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the team, it’s a complete change of pace from what I was used to but this is kind of what I wanted all along – even if I didn’t realise it until now!


What is your favourite outdoors activity?

I love being at the beach, or on the water, but I also love tramping just about as much! Anything away from the buzz of the city is my jam. My favourite so far this year has been tramping Robert Ridge in Nelson Lakes National Park. We were waist deep in snow – a very new experience for me!


What inspires you? 

The ocean mostly! It’s been such a big part of my life since I was a kid, and everything starts and ends with it.

My role as Duke of Edinburgh Programme Manager provides me with a great opportunity to facilitate amazing experiences for our participants, with these experiences having the power to make a huge difference to their lives.


What else do you do in the outdoors during your own time?

Turns out I’m pretty handy with a camera from time to time! I love taking depth of field photos with animals and people in the foreground and I have a thing for raw imagery – I hate editing photos so try to shoot photos as much as possible on settings that mean that I don’t have to play with settings on a computer.



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