Hamburger Menu

Industry News

Amendments to the Adventure Activities Regulations

21 March 2024

On Thursday 21 March, we held a webinar with Joseph Harrop from Lane Neave Lawyers on the very important issue of new regulations for adventure activities that come into effect on 1 April. TIA worked with our members and submitted extensively during the consultation on these regulations last year.

While this doesn’t apply to all members, there is an intersection with the Health & Safety at Work Act which applies to everyone. I encourage you to watch the webinar which is on our MyTIA website as it serves as a useful reminder of our obligations to keep our visitors and our staff safe.

While adventure operators will be well across the new regulations and their safety plans, there are sellers of activities and operators on the fringes that might be unclear if and how the new regulations might apply to them.

The first step is to understand if you are actually undertaking or selling an adventure activity in the first place. WorkSafe provide guidance on this here.

A hosted one-hour walk on a DOC track is not likely to be an adventure activity because you are not teaching or physically assisting a visitor and deliberately exposing them to a serious risk that you must manage.

But for instance, a paid white water rafting trip on a river is an adventure activity because it involves expertise, specialist gear, guidance and supervision – the activity operator must manage that risk.

If you are not involved in an adventure activity then these specific regulations do not apply to you, but you must of course be working in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act because through all your own operations including if you are taking visitors on a walk, this Act always applies.

There is a good common sense test to the adventure regulations which is simply asking yourself what would a cautious family member expect from the seller and operator when embarking on an adventure activity? This is a simple question but the answer captures everything the new regulations are intending to achieve.

Some of these objectives are:

  • Communicating risks to customers: Taking all reasonable steps to tell people looking to participate in their adventure activities what the risks are, both at the point of purchase, before commencing and during the activity. The adventure operator must provide the seller with this information and ensure it is being communicated at the point of purchase but also provide it to the customer before and during the activity.
  • The information must be easily understood including for non-English speakers.
  • Monitoring risks: There is a requirement to consider and monitor natural hazards, including weather, in your risk management planning and have a clear policy in place to determine when to call an activity off. Some activities are inherently very risky and the risk can only be mitigated but not eliminated, so it is sensible to provide this information to customers also.
  • Using experienced advisors: Ensuring any technical advisors for the adventure operator have verifiable experience in the natural hazard or area they are auditing. For example, any reasonable person would expect that a review of river operations would be undertaken by someone who is experienced in river operations.
  • Being Registered: The seller has ensured that the adventure operator is indeed registered with WorkSafe. Adventure operators now apply directly to WorkSafe for renewal or registration after completing their safety audit requirements.

  • Notifying WorkSafe of incidents: Notifiable incidents now include natural hazards that occur, such as storms, flooding, landslip that are not routinely encountered, and any time where safety critical equipment malfunctions while in use.

There are other changes to the regulations and also greater powers for WorkSafe to suspend, cancel and refuse registration, and being able to impose conditions on an operator’s registration in the interests of safety.

Please note the guidance for adventure activity operators on managing the risks of natural hazards is still being developed by WorkSafe and we will keep you informed when that comes out.

Overall, the changes aim to improve the health and safety outcomes for participants, and workers, in adventure activities in Aotearoa.  

The information above is a simple summary to help you understand some of the changes and is not legal advice, so please see Improvements to WorkSafe’s adventure activities regulatory function | WorkSafewatch our webinar and check out the SupportAdventure website.

If you are in any doubt it’s important to seek your own legal advice. Lane Neave are expert in this area and also provide TIA members a 10% discount on their services for new clients. 

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners