Meet our team: Denny Liard

Published 24 July 2023
Denise Liard is a regional learner advisor at Te Mahi Ako for West Auckland and Northland. Originally from Scotland, Denny came to New Zealand 17 years ago on a snowboarding trip and has been here ever since, gaining a wealth of experience in tourism, hospitality and education.

“I came to Queenstown to snowboard. My plan was to just do the winter and go back. I stayed there 8 years. I just loved it,” Denny says.

She started off as a receptionist and worked her way up in the tourism and hospitality sectors, eventually becoming the general manager of a group of backpackers and hostels in Auckland when she moved there in 2014.

“All my experience in Queenstown and as GM of these backpackers and hostels then gave me the experience I needed to become a trainer at the New Zealand School of Tourism.”

Though working in education was a new experience for her, Denny saw it as an opportunity to share her stories and passion for the industry she loved. The school put her through all the courses she needed to be a qualified trainer.

“So I got to upskill and educate myself as well, which is pretty cool,” she says.

Now she is helping others to upskill at their workplaces in her current role as Te Mahi Ako’s regional learner advisor for West Auckland and Northland, which she took on in April 2022.

“I take jobs that I like and have a passion for. I love the outdoor recreation space and I still get that interaction with the learners which I love.”

She is looking forward to getting more hands-on with the job as Te Mahi Ako continues its journey as a newly established private training enterprise (PTE), a journey which Denny already knows very well.

“The New Zealand School of Tourism is a PTE and it was our job to facilitate for our learners and work with them to get them that qualification,” she says.

“I see us being able to do that with Te Mahi Ako, helping facilitate some modules and having those spaces that would work for learners so that they've got some more support at our end.”

Being a PTE gives Te Mahi Ako the opportunity to provide more face-to-face support for learners, something Denny sees as being very valuable.

“Once you've made a connection with someone, it's a lot easier for them to reach out to you,” she says.

“They will get the chance to ask questions in a safe space where they can learn. It’s about helping them and supporting them, because not everyone’s journey is the same.”