Orienteering is a family of sports, where competitors use maps to complete navigational challenges in unfamiliar areas. Orienteering involves both physical and mental challenges and rewards competitors with a unique adventure on an ever changing playing field. Orienteering can be undertaken competitively, socially, or for personal challenge.
There are 18 orienteering clubs in New Zealand that regularly put on orienteering events. You don’t need to be a club member to participate. Orienteering clubs list their events on the Events section of this website. Orienteering is also a popular school sport, and there are regional and national secondary school competitions.
Foot orienteers race with a map, a compass and a clipcard or an electronic key (ECARD or “dibber”) to record when they visited the controls (checkpoints). At an event, competitors are provided with a map, which they can only look at once their race begins. The map is marked with the “course” the orienteer is to follow for that race, but not the route they must take – that is up to the orienteer and that is where the skill and strategy comes in.
Rogaining is a cross country navigation sport similar to orienteering, but requires you to visit as many control sites as you can within a set time limit. The shortest rogaining events are one hour, and the National and World Championship events are 24 hours. The most common length events in New Zealand are 3, 6 and 12 hours.
Mountain bike orienteering (MTBO) is orienteering using a mountain bike where navigation is primarily along trails and tracks. MTBO combines the fun and excitement of a typical mountain bike ride with the added dimension of map reading, route choice and trying not to get lost!
School orienteering, or orienteering by school-aged children, is experiencing a huge growth in popularity. Driven by enthusiastic schools and teachers, it provides a fun and exciting competitive environment, offering children the ability to visit new areas and is so much more than just going for a run!
Got a question about Orienteering? Check out the FAQ section.
A permanent orienteering course is a fixed orienteering course available for anyone to try or practice orienteering at any time of the year.