New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise (Level 5)

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Fees-free is available for eligible first-time tertiary learners. Find out if you’re eligible at

Learn about both the theory and practical aspects of coaching, discover how to prescribe and deliver exercise programmes and gain outdoor recreation and leadership skills. You’ll learn about human anatomy and physiology, event planning, skill development, introduction to sport and exercise science, sociology and leadership. It’s the start of your pathway into the sports science industry.

We have great facilities, including a high performance lab at McKay Stadium, which gives the opportunity to learn advanced physical testing techniques using the latest technology. We also have a well-equipped gym on our Raumanga campus.

About this programme

This programme provides students with an academic pathway into the sports science industry. More than 1700 Northlanders are employed in the sport and recreation sector, making it Northland’s 7th biggest industry by employment.

NorthTec offers qualifications up to degree level in Sport, Recreation and Exercise:

All credits gained in this programme can be used towards the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation.

How you will learn

Lectures, tutorials, workshops with independent study and flexible learning strategies - Face to Face, Distance (Online), and Blended.

Self-directed learning activities may include, but are not limited to: completion of video and assessments, group work, research, and current issues awareness.

Admission information 

Applicants under 20 years of age: 

  • 48 credits NCEA level 2 across 4 subjects or equivalent.

Applicants aged 20 years or above: 

  • No academic qualifications are required. Evidence to support an applicant’s ability to undertake the Programme with a reasonable likelihood of success may be requested. 

English Language Requirements: 

  • All applicants must have a level of English sufficient to be able to study at this level. Those students whose first language is not English must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall academic score of at least 6.0 with no band score lower than 5.5; accepted international equivalence issued within the last two years, or a qualification considered to be equivalent to the above.

Special Entry: 

  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who does not meet the entry requirements may be granted entry to the Programme where they supply evidence to satisfy the programme’s Academic Leader or delegate of their ability to succeed on the Programme. 

Police check: 

  • All applicants are required to authorise a Police Check for criminal convictions and disclose any pending charges.

Qualification gained

New Zealand Diploma in Sport, Recreation and Exercise (Multi-Sector) (Level 5)

What will you learn?

Gain the knowledge and skills needed to operate independently across the sport, recreation and exercise sector. Apply concepts and theories of exercise science to develop health and wellness solutions to meet the needs of individuals, groups and/or communities. Graduates will contribute to the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

  • Integrate knowledge, concepts and trends from across the sport, recreation and exercise industries to inform professional practice.

  • Plan, monitor and role model safe, ethical and professional practices and procedures for self, others and organisation while operating within sport, recreation and/or exercise environments.

  • Lead and manage a range of tasks and activities within own scope of practice to achieve sport, recreation and exercise outcomes for individuals, groups and/or communities.

  • Supervise others to ensure safe, ethical and professional practice and procedures in sport, recreation and/or exercise settings.

  • Apply concepts and theories of exercise science to develop health and wellness solutions to meet the needs of individuals, groups and/or communities.

  • Develop, coordinate and evaluate the delivery of a range of sport, recreation and/or exercise activities, programmes and/or events to meet the needs of individuals, groups and/or communities. 

Courses in this programme

Compulsory Courses Level Credits
5001 - Introduction to Sport and Exercise Science 5 15
5002 - Skill Learning and Technique Development 5 15
5003 - Exercise, Sport and Recreation Planning 5 15
5004 - Academic and Professional Skills 5 15
5005 - Sport Exercise and Recreation in Aotearoa New Zealand 5 15
5006 - Human Anatomy and Physiology 5 15
5007 - Leadership in Exercise Sport and Recreation 5 15
5008 - Exercise, Sport and Recreation Issues in Society 5 15

Career opportunities

This qualification could lead to employment (paid or volunteer) in a variety of roles such as:  event supervisor; exercise consultant; hauora or health educator; Kaiarahi; OSCAR leader;  recreation supervisor; recreation programme coordinator; sport development officer; sport coordinator; Whānau Ora leader. 

Additional Costs

All students are expected to bring their own Internet capable device. (B.Y.O.D.). This can be any type of hardware that is able to connect to the Internet. Devices include iPads, laptops, Mac’s, PC’s tablets, or smartphones. Although any device can be used we recommend the purchase of a non-cellular iPad Air (32GB) with a Griffin Survivor protective case (minimum specifications, you can buy a newer model). Please contact for further information.

Our Tutors

Our tutors love their work and what it means for community and individual health and wellness. From nutrition and skill acquisition to coaching and leadership, they all enjoy working in education and lifelong learning with a strong sense of “working all together”. NorthTec’s Sports and Recreation tutors hold qualifications in their fields at a Bachelor and Masters’ degree with some staff working on completing a Masters’ degree or PhD. With an emphasis on fun and fitness, the tutors feel the area of study has grown further into overall wellbeing rather than limiting learner activities to sport and exercise and they are passionate about sharing this with Northland.

Courses and programmes may be cancelled, postponed or have their content or configuration changed from time to time (including during the academic year) at the discretion of NorthTec. Fees are an indication, include GST and apply to domestic students only. View terms and conditions

From 1 January 2023, all NorthTec learners will be part of Te Pūkenga. Please note that these programmes of study are currently under review as part of the reform of vocational education training and may be subject to change.

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Full time


1 year

Start Dates

Whangarei: February

Cost Incl. GST (Approx):

Domestic: $6,313.54

Student levy may apply

International: $19,760.00

Programme Code


Phone 0800 162 100
Enquire about this programme
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